The white steenbras

Lithognathus Lithognathus

With all the Facebook hype regarding the white steenbras, conservationists have the right to be worried about the massacre of this species, which is endemic to South Africa, as numbers have dwindled due to overfishing, primarily by seine netting operations in False Bay.

The white steenbras is now critically endangered and is about to become a no keep species in South Africa as massive breading shoals are illegally wiped out by beach seine netters each year, with the authorities doing little to prevent this.

However, lately rock and surf anglers have joined the fray by posting their catches on Facebook which exceed their daily limit and even some white steenbras that have been caught are well under the size limit.

White steenbras are endemic to waters from the Orange River up to KwaZulu Natal and are listed as ENDANGERED on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, this species is also rated as a no-sale species within South Africa, and only recreational fishers with a permit may catch them following daily bag (1 pp/pd) and a minimum size (60 cm) limit. Recreational anglers are however not allowed to sell their catches.  

The white steenbras or pignose grunter is also a slow growing, long-lived, late maturing, and estuarine dependent species which can attain 25-30 years of age and grow over 130cm in length and over 25kgs in weight. They are dependent upon estuaries during their lifecycle.

With winter bringing in the cold water, these steam trains start to move into the waters of the Mosselbay area and when the bite is on, these gentle fish turn into absolute beasts the second they get hooked, hence the nickname steam train.

The setups for these steam trains vary from angler to angler, however Shawn Mey explained that when targeting these fish for tagging purposes, he uses 40lb braid, with a 6/0 Rockpoint hook attached to a 0.60 fixed trace, the best bait is bloodworm, prawn, or a fresh crab.

In a recent fishing expedition in Mosselbay Shawn was able to land and tag some monsters, and in his own words he states the following – these fish are absolutely amazing creatures that is now under extreme pressure at the moment, so please guys release these beasts.

RED – DON’T BUY (Recreational only)

To book a fishing experience of a lifetime either locally or abroad feel free to contact us at the following numbers:

Yours in guiding,

Shawn “ Ninja “ Mey

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