Cape Town Fishing

Fishing around the
Cape Peninsula

False Bay near Simonstown from where the fishing boats leave for Cape Point

The Western Cape is well known for its beautiful scenery, wild flowers, beaches and mountains. Fortunately the Cape is also blessed with the sea, to the west the Atlantic Ocean and to the south east the Indian Ocean. Depending on who is telling the tale the Indian and Atlantic oceans either meet at Cape Agulhas or Cape Point. Nobody really knows as the Agulhas current does not stop dead at Cape Agulhas nor does the Benguela current which flows northwards turn left to avoid Cape Point.

The Agulhas current being a warm current has an effect on False Bay and the water can become really warm.

Depending on wind direction cold water also flows into False Bay and turns the water cold. This cold water obviously flows from the Antarctic towards Cape Town. All of the above makes for good fishing waters and that is why the Cape Peninsula has some of the best fishing waters in the world. Along the Southern Cape Coastline a number of fish species are to be found. There are snoek, yellowtail, kob, geelbek (Cape salmon) - probably the best eating fish of all - longfin tunny, yellowfin tunny, big eye tunny, skipback and even the great prize of the big game angler, the Broadbill Swordfish. Most of the above species can be caught south east of Cape Point in the deep water off the coast.

For those interested in big game fishing there are a number of boat trips available out to the fishing grounds. The best season for most of the game fish is from September to June with the best catches normally happening at the beginning and ends of the season. To undertake one of these fishing tours one can hire a boat which is fully equipped with fishing tackle, a skipper who knows the fishing waters of the Cape. Everything is provided for the aspirant fisherman including seasick pills if they become necessary.

There are a number of harbours scattered around the Peninsula from where the boats leave.

The closest harbour to Cape Point is Simonstown on the False Bay coastline. For those who are not interested in Big Game fishing there is still plenty of fishing to be done. Snoek fishing is one of the most lucrative types of fishing undertaken here. Boats go out to find the large shoals of these fish and should they come on the bite the boats can return with hundreds of fish on board.

These fish are landed all around the coastline in harbours such as Kalk Bay and Simonstown in False Bay, and Hout Bay, Granger Bay and Yzerfontein along the Atlantic Coastline. Of course there are many other slipways on both sides of the Peninsula which are used by fishermen to get to the fish. In False Bay anglers have an ideal opportunity of catching tuna off the ledges at Rooikrantz. Along this stretch of coastline the water is deep and the game fish make their way into the bay along a channel below the cliffs.

Fishing off the ledges however has its drawbacks. One has to be reasonably fit to get to the ledges as the climb down is very steep and the way up with a bag of fish even worse. There is also another minor hazard in the form of the baboons which await you at the car park. Should you leave a window or a door open they will raid your car and leave it in a mess. Another prime target for fishermen who like to fish close to the shore is the crayfish which can be found in the kelp beds around the coastline.

Unfortunately these days due to large scale poaching of the resource, fishing for them is by permit only and the catch is limited to four a day per person. The season is only open for a couple of weeks and to make it even more onerous for fishermen one may only fish on weekends for part of the season.

The slipway at Kommetjie

Places which are really popular for crayfish fishing are the Kommetjie coastline where there is a slipway and a channel through the rocks for boats to launch. For larger boats Hout bay is the harbour to put to sea from on the Peninsula west coast. In Table Bay on the north end of the Cape Peninsula we have Table Bay Harbour which has its own fishing harbour at the V & A Waterfront in the Albert Basin. Here large fishing trawlers moor and offload their catches.

Granger Bay which is slightly north of the Table Bay harbour is where the snoek fishermen launch their boats to reach the fishing grounds off Robben Island. So far I have discussed areas where boat fishermen can fish. Fortunately they are not the only fishermen in Cape Town.

There are many people who like to go and put a line in the water for a bit of relaxation and I count myself as being one of them. Fishing off the beaches is good along the Muizenberg coastline but take precautions and do not go fishing alone as it is unsafe to do so. The coastline on the eastern side of False Bay can also be good and fish such as Kob, Steenbras and elf are often landed here. The area near Strandfontein and Swartklip is good for Kob.

Along the west coast however a smaller type of fish is caught and you may be lucky to catch a Galjoen, or a Bream (Hottentot as we know them). Steenbras can also be found although I have never caught one on the West Coast. With a bit of luck you might catch a crayfish if you should cast into a kelp bed. All in all there is much to do and see for an avid fishermen in the Cape waters. If you don't catch a fish, the view is normally spectacular so you won't be sorry you came. The galjoen season is open at present and this is one type of fish you will not find on any restaurant menu, so get here and catch yours today.

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Cape Town Fishing