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TThe nutrient-rich Benguela Ocean current attracts prolific sea life to the delight of anglers and thousands of seabirds, while the Cederberg's mountain streams and dams respond with freshwater delights such as trout and bass. 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.
RRegionally 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. Along this stretch of coastlineOceanside, the nutrient-rich Benguela Ocean current sustains prolific sea life, with fish attracting anglers and thousands of birds, many migratory.
AAt 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 fish 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.