From De Mond to Cape Agulhas. The best fishing spots and fish to catch!
From De Mond to Cape Agulhas. The best fishing spots and fish to catch!
Growing up in Struisbaai, with the ocean on my doorstep, I took up fishing very early on. Fishing from the pier at the harbour, morphed into rock fishing for Galjoen and then beach fishing for White Steenbras and Belman.
Competitive fishing followed and I was honoured to represent Boland at Junior, U21 and at Senior B levels. I’ve now also added Rasspl (Rock and Surf Super Pro League) where the aim is to catch as many species as possible during a one-day competition to my list.
Fishing has become a huge part of my life, with weekends and after work hours used for quick trips to the beach or rocks to appreciate the ocean’s beauty and of course to see what bites!
Struisbaai fishing has changed quite a bit over the 20 years that I have been here. Week-long South-Easterly gales have made way for a day of strong favorable winds turning into a stormy Westerly. This has made fishing especially difficult – making proper planning a crucial aspect of any fishing trip.
When planning a fishing trip the first and most important thing I look at is the wind. Generally, the perfect conditions would be three days of southeast or Easterly winds turning into a Westerly. Those first few hours after the turn – just as the Barometer drops are amazing. The fish are wild and these moments should be used wisely.
The Southernmost Tip of Africa boasts a few ideal spots where you wet your lines and try to catch the big ones:
Situated at the mouth of the Heuningnes River, this Cape Nature Reserve has a no bait collecting policy and is open from 07h00 to 16h00. The new management ensures a great experience for everyone visiting.
It is important that you have a valid fishing permit and the correct amount of bait when you go through the gates as these will be inspected.
Cast nets are not allowed on the reserve – meaning that you will need to carry your live bait the 1.2km from the parking area along the wooden pathway to the beach: it is worth it though!
At the moment the river is cut off from the ocean by a big sandbar but will be open again as soon as a big tide and much-needed rain opens it up. The river has some exceptional fly fishing opportunities with species like Garrick, Grunter, Kob, and Mullet on the anglers bucket list. De Mond can be an exceptional fishing destination, but conditions need to be spot on. When the swell goes past 3m, huge waves dump the sand on the back banks and your bigger summer predators like Raggies, Bronzies, Duckbill Rays, and Kob refrain from coming into the shallower surf zones to feed. Side wash can also become quite tedious with a higher tide. Make sure to check the tides, winds and swell height before you pack your fishing gear for a day at De Mond.
Mobility is also important when fishing at De Mond beach. Spots that are easily accessible with low tide becomes increasingly difficult to wade to when the tide comes in – requiring a long cast for deeper water.
White Steenbras, Kob, Galjoen, and Belman can be caught on prawn, white mussel and blood and moonshine worm. Hound and Tope Sharks can be targeted with mullet baits.
Kob and Shad can be targeted with live mullet, chokka, and sardine. Sand sharks are very prevalent and will eat most bait carefully made for other species. Large sharks, including Bronzies, Raggies, Duskies, and Hammerheads can be caught on Yellowtail heads, Mackerel, mullet and chokka. Diamond, Duckbill and Blue Rays are also prevalent and will eat soft mackerel bait. Kob, Garrick and Shad will readily eat spoons, paddle- and bucktails.
The beach that stretches from Nostra Parking in Struisbaai to De Mond can be broken up into various spots: Argonauta Park, Derde Bruggie, B bord, Plaat Ingang, Klipgat, Voelneste and Die Maggie are just some of the locations that you can look forward to trying your luck.
Countless National fishing tournaments have been held on this stretch of coastline and many an angler will tell you of the Diamond Smashes at Argonauta Park or Bronzies at De Mond. When the South Easter turns Westerly, cold brown water gets pushed closer to shore and the diamonds start to bite.
Anglers standing shoulder to shoulder casting makkie heads trying to entice a bite from these point machines are not uncommon. During winter the Plaat is well known for producing White Steenbras in excess of 15kg, with the angler that finds the right bank and placing a bloodworm or prawn bomb in the feeding zone being well rewarded for his efforts. These ‘Steam Trains”, with an amazing turn of speed and the will to fight till the last moment, have bent many a sand spike and left an angler in awe of their power.
In October last year, Wimpie Kirsten and I decided to make a Sunday afternoon cast at the Plaat entrance. Our target was to catch one of the Bronzies that had been present for the last few days. I had my bait in first and Wimpie had just started his wade when my rod was floored. Being a true sportsman, he didn’t even cast and just put his rod in the spike and waited for me to land an 87 kg Bronzie. His bait went out next and as we stood and watched the sun go down his rod dipped and he hooked into a true bus. With a massive first run, he tightened the drag and leaned into what we thought must be a massive Bronzie. More than an hour later I joked that it could be a Stingray. Low and behold as I waded into tail the fish it turned out to be a massive Black Stingray. I got my hands in its mouth and held the ray till Wimpie could come and help me. We took a quick measurement and then using the water we guided the 198cm (250kg) stingray back to its home.
The Struisbaai harbour is an excellent, safe environment to teach young and old how to fish and the chances of actually catching something is quite good! The harbour is best fished during high tide and at night, with the main fish species to target being Shad, Kob and Spotted Grunter during summer. Fishing with a drift sardine at night will produce the best results. The harbour is a great nursery area for juvenile fish but make sure to release all the undersized ones to bring joy to another angler.
During your stay in Struisbaai, make sure to coincide your visit with the boats returning from sea. You will be amazed at the dozens of huge short tail Black Stingray that scavenge on the fish guts that the fishermen throw into the water. For the braver soul, you can actually feed these magnificent creatures, just be sure to stay away from the spines on their tails.
Situated just to the east of the Harbour, this rocky point is known as Ball Bearing Point to some anglers as the loose rocks have left many with a twisted ankle. Die Las is a well-known spot to catch large Stingrays. Make sure to use the heavy gear as these dirty fighters will find a weak spot in your gear and cut you off in the blink of an eye. Bonnie heads, chokka or occie works well here.
Just to the right of Die Las is a spot called Die Deurloop. As the name suggests, you need to wade through the water to get to the rock on a dropping tide, or when you have finished fishing you may need to wade back to the beach. Good catches of Hound – and Spotted Gully Sharks are made during summer. Look out for spots with working water and you may get lucky with a MusselCracker on red crab.
“One of my most memorable catches comes from this point: I had finished work at 17:00 and decided to make a quick cast for a Spotty or Hound before dark.”
Wimpie had come down to see what I was doing and we quickly realized that this was no Spotted Gully Shark. Forty long minutes later, with one run almost going around the point, I had gotten the shark to Skulpies Parking, where I handed the rod to Wimpie and waded in to grab the shark by its tail. Only then did I realize that I had caught a Bronzie. After a quick measurement, the 97kg lady was released to fight another day.