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FFrom 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.
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. Most of the charter boats are state-of-the-art and built for scenic ocean tours too. Some outfits will even 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, and 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.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
The South African Deep Sea Angling Association
Tel: +27 (0)31 562 9194
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.
Drive or taxi to your chosen charter office. On-site parking is provided for clients heading out to sea.
What to pack
Always take a windbreaker for unexpected weather, showers and rough waves. Also ask your charter what they recommend.
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 up front what is included in your outlay, like rods, bait, drinks, fishing permits, food and your catch.
Where to stay
Due to the popularity of seaside resorts there is no shortage of cottages, B&Bs, hotels and holiday flats.