Fishing up the West Coast
Did you know?Wuppertal is a village of whitewashed, thatched cottages built as a Rhenish Mission Station in 1830, deep in a Cederberg valley.
Take a drive up the Cape's West Coast and before long you’ll notice fynbos vegetation giving way to sandveld, quaint fishing villages, sandy beaches and raucous seabird colonies – a sure sign you’re moving into West Coast country.
Regionally this rugged, mountainous wilderness is known as the Cederberg, and incorporates the West Coast, Clanwilliam and the Cedarberg Mountains.
Both freshwater and saltwater fishing is bountiful in the Cederberg. Oceanside the nutrient-rich Benguela ocean current sustains prolific sea life, with fish attracting anglers and thousands of birds, many migratory.
At the coast you’ll pass towns like Lambert’s Bay, Paternoster, Saldanha and Langebaan, where generations of fishermen have made the sea their livelihood.
Although snoek is the most common species offshore, shore anglers are likely to find kabeljou, elf and yellowtail, as well as sharks and rays. The leaping thresher shark promises a good fight, as do larger skates.
Landward it’s crystal-clear mountain streams, dams and plenty of wild trout that lure fly-fishermen, with visible fish making the sport somewhat more rewarding. Full-day fly-fishing tours include transport to and from the river location, with guides on hand. Equipment and tackle, refreshments, lunch, permits and licenses are usually included in the cost.
At 250km from Cape Town, the 22km-long Clanwilliam Dam is synonymous with bass fishing, offering smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, carp, bluegill and Clanwilliam yellowfish. The dam features rocky points, boulders, drop-offs, gravel and reed beds to vary the routine and species caught.
So whether you decide to try for a tasty snoek at Velddrif or a brown trout in the Cederberg mountains, you’re unlikely to come away empty handed. And if you do, the locals are always happy to share their catch, prepared West Coast-style, of course.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)27 482 2024
Cederberg Tourist Park
Tel: +27 (0)27 482 2807
How to get here
The Cederberg lies roughly two to three hours’ drive, depending on how leisurely the pace, from Cape Town.
Best time to visit
Marine angling is available all year round, but more enjoyable during the warmer months.
Around the area
The West Coast National Park is home to around 25-million water birds. From August to October the Postberg Nature Reserve becomes a natural carpet of wild flowers.
West Coast wild spring flowers are showcased at their best during the Darling Flower show held in mid-September.
The West Coast fossil park is another popular attraction.
Where to stay
Private camping sites can be found around Clanwilliam, and the region also has self-catering cottages and guest houses.
In the Agter-Pakhuis Valley, 26km from Clanwilliam, is the charming De Pakhuys Guest Farm.
What to eat
At the coast you must try a local delicacy called 'bokkoms', or salted mullet, as well as fare from a few of the open-air seafood restaurants.
Clanwilliam hosts the Winter Bass Classic in August and the Summer Classic in October every year.