SPECIES: CATFACE ROCKCOD

The Catface Rockcod is an awesome target species for competitive and recreational shore and Skiboat anglers a like. The flaky white flesh is really tasty especially when braaied in true South African style.

EPINEPHELUS ANDERSONI is easily identified by the dark brown spots along the entire body and more especially the cat like whiskers on the face. It is found from the surf zone out around 70m of water and its distribution ranges from Mozambique all the way down to the Western Cape. It grows to a maximum of about 10 kg but most specimens are smaller – legal size limit is 50cm total length and daily bag limit of 5pd pp. While on a recent trip with Ori Scientist Bruce Mann it was interesting to learn that there is evidence that points to the Catface being a “pioneering species” in that it seeks out vacated reef, making a home there – we see this outside the Marine protected areas and in reef areas from shore as well.

Catching the catface rockcod from the boat is not too difficult especially with the great fish finders that allow the skipper to find good reef structure – I prefer fishing a circle hook 6-8/0 with big fleshy bait, octopus leg, or head bait. When the smaller fish are around the bigger mackerel head or shad head really produces the bigger fish.

"Recently I have exclusively been fishing live baits on the bottom and having really good results – live mackerel or maasbunker are best."

Dean Dickinson

Shore angling for these species is a little more tricky – firstly you have to find good structure. Although many are caught from rocky points and outcrops, I prefer specifically targeting them from beaches with broken rock or ledges in the water – my home waters of Palm Beach and Trafalgar produce some great catches of Catface throughout the year, but Sardine run time seems to be the best especially if there is a lot of activity.

Possibly the best bait for this species from shore is a fresh mackerel head, although a red eye head with bloody chops comes a close second and they are opportunistic feeders that will eat most baits so the key is putting the bait in front of his nose.

A great tip for getting this fish aggravated enough to eat especially in the day or when the water is clean is tying a bass rattle to your dingle and foam.

My son Josh was the pioneer of this tactic in our reefs – he can be seen shaking his rod and next thing, on with fish.

I have seen this tactic out fish other anglers on numerous occasions. If you plan on fishing sustainably for these fish you must understand that by taking more than one fish at a time you are going to see them disappear at your local spot. By limiting your own take, we can hopefully catch these fish for years to come. It is interesting to know that a recent study has shown that these fish are near threatened. It is so important that we as anglers respect the current Marine Protected Areas and support the creation of new ones as this is the only way to ensure the survival of these and other reef species for the braai. Once again fresh is the only way to go – this fish can be fried, baked, and even curried. But the best way is to braai or bake the fish in a Weber. 

 

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Related Articles