From warmer Indian Ocean species on the east coast to the cold-water fish of the Atlantic Ocean west coast, deep sea fishing in South Africa is a lucrative and popular pastime. Ski boat charters are plentiful and you're virtually guaranteed a good fight.

Did you know?

The 'catch and release' system is strongly recommended  - except when you're fishing for the pot.

One of the great pleasures of deep sea fishing in South Africa is listening to the magical names of the fish themselves: kabeljou, stumpnose, roman, elf, skate, steenbras, panga, fransmadam, galjoen and Atlantic big eye. All ruled by the 'gladiator of the deep': the broadbill swordfish.

South African deep sea fishing is not just about a stuffed broadbill trophy in the den – it's about being out there on the African waters, tasting the moment, in the company of friends and a responsible skipper, enjoying the chase and fight of something like a good yellowfin tuna out of Hout Bay.

The old salts in the know say that the reefs out at Rocky Bank, about 10 kilometres south of Cape Point, are rich with Cape salmon, yellowtail, snapper and snoek, a fish that resembles a barracuda and is a delight to barbecue, with its rich and tasty white meat.

Deep sea fishing in South Africa is enjoyed all along the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal coastline as well – most of the charter boats are state-of-the-art and built for scenic ocean tours too. Some outfits take you to sea and then cook your catch in their restaurants that evening.

In KwaZulu-Natal, deep sea charter tours are offered from Durban, as well as north coast towns such as Richards Bay and St Lucia, as well as south coast towns like Margate and Port Shepstone. In the Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth and East London both host a number of charter companies.

Species you can pursue along South Africa's east coast include blue and black marlin, dorado, yellowfin tuna, as well as various species of shark.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

The South African Deep Sea Angling Association
Tel: +27 (0)82 492 3374 (Geoff Wanwig)

Western Province Deep Sea Angling Association
Tel: +27 (0)21 559-3996

How to get here

Practically every coastal spot offers deep sea fishing charters, with harbour ports like Durban, Richards Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Knysna and Cape Town particularly popular.

Best time to visit

Fishing is enjoyed all year round in South Africa, with the annual East Coast Sardine Run a particular highlight, as it attracts plenty of game fish.

Get around

Drive to your chosen charter office. On-site parking is provided for clients heading out to sea.

What will it cost

Deep sea fishing charters are plentiful in coastal ports, so you'll be able to find an outfit that suits your budget. Clarify upfront what is included in your outlay, like rods, bait, drinks, fishing permits, food, your catch.

Where to stay

Due to the popularity of seaside resorts there is no shortage of cottages, B&Bs, hotels and holiday flats.