PLEASE NOTE that we give full credit to Miles and http://boatfishing.co.za for most of this information in the following article BIG THANKS GUYS!!
The Breede River mouth area, like Witsand and Infanta offers some of the best fishing in the Western Cape, for all types of fishing (Kayak, shore and boat fishing). The diversity of the species that you can find here is what makes it really special. You can have excellent light tackle fun targeting Grunter, Elf (Shad), Leervis (garrick) and also a lot of different reef species like Blacktail, Stumpnose, Harders (mullet) and others, but its the giant Cob (Kabeljou) that most people are after. There are still regular catches of 20kg+ Cob at Witsand.
Another thing that is really special about Witsand fishing, is that you can fish for them in a variety of different ways, like artificial lures, bait fishing, live bait, and also fly fishing!
Its IMPORTANT that everyone fishing here contributes to the conversation of these fish, by adhering to the fishing regulations, size limits and bag limits, and only to keep fish that satisfy your immediate needs. And ALWAYS try to revive and release the big cob, as these are the most important thing to ensure fish for us for the future.
Collecting bait is fun and forms part of the Breede River experience. There is a large variety of baits available in the river system.Sand Prawn and Bloodworm
These are found on the sand bank opposite the Breede River Lodge. They are not plentiful and after some hard back ache-ing work with your prawn pump, you will be rewarded with some sand prawn and bloodworm. Some prefer not to use sand prawn or bloodworm, as their stocks are already depleted and have more success on mud prawn. Recreational limits are 50 sand prawn and 5 bloodworm per person per day.
This is preferred bait for grunter fishing!! They’re very easy to find. Most mud banks are infested with them. Simply go explore the area’s see which area produces better prawns. Recreational limit is 50 mud prawn per person per day.
You can use a 2ltr coke bottle to keep prawns in. Just make some small holes near the top part of the bottle. Whether you’re drifting or laying on anchor, simply toss the bucket or bottle overboard and tie it to the kayak with a short rope. The idea is to keep the prawns in the river so that fresh water can circulate through the container, keeping the prawns alive. After a days fishing, remove all the living prawns, put them in a cardboard box, on some newspaper, wrap the entire box with some more newspaper and put in the fridge. The cold will cause them to go into a hibernation state, and they will be alive and kicking the next day, when you put them back into the live bait bucket!!
During certain times of the year, pencil bait is deadly for the grunters, ESPECIALLY closer to the mouth area. Once again, the pencil bait stocks have been severly hammered by anglers and i don’t use them. You can find pencil bait close to the mouth area, but be prepared to take some diving goggles with, as the shallows have been cleaned out already.
They can be found all over the river. Pull up into any little bay, and start chumming with some pilchards. They will pretty soon start feeding on the chum, making bait collecting rather easy. Sometimes they take a bit longer to find the chum, but chum long enough and they WILL come!!
During summer, the river has very good numbers of these MAGNIFICENT predators. They’re found through-out the river system, from the mouth all the way up to Malgas. These fish are very strong fighters, which gives you exilirating fun on light tackle. Their average size is usually 2-4kg’s with the odd 6-8kg fish being taken. Anything over 8kg’s will be a very large fish for the river. That said, every year a few 10kg+ fish do get caught……
There are a number of ways to catch them, and your tackle differs slightly.
You normally see the fish chasing the plug, smashing the lure right in front of you!! Use a 7′ bass style rods with 2500 sized fixed spool reels, loaded with 8-10lb braid. Even though this fish are strong fighters, they are CLEAN fighters, which means they don’t try and snag you around obstructions. They stay close to the surface most of the time, making for an extremely visual fight. My favourite lure is the 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce chisel nose plug. Small little spoons also work very well. Makes like the Halco Twisty and the Abu Toby style spoons work very well. Any small shiny spoon will work!! The bonus is that when the large elf enter the river, you will have superlative fun with them on these spoons. The surface chisel nose plugs also work very well for the elf, but you will catch considerably more elf with these spoons.I always keep a spinning rod close at hand. Sometimes you will see the leeries smashing baitfish on the surface, other times you will see them under birds working (sterretjies, the same one we look for when yellowtail fishing), other times you will find them on the current line, where the dirty water meets the clean water. Well worth spending some time exploring these area’s.
The most common place how-ever is the sand bank opposite the breede river lodge.
Pull your boat onto the sand bank and spin into the channel. Start from about 2 hours before the full tide. This way, you’re catching the leeries as they enter the river from the sea. As the tide pushes, you simply move further down the sand bank. It’s hard work and some days the fish will not co-operate, whilst other days they’ll smash anything you throw at them. Put in the time and you WILL be rewarded.
The vast majority of leeries are young juvenile fish. Even the bigger class leeries don’t make good eating, so i would request you to release most, if not all your leeries!! This way, we can conserve these MAGNIFICENT fish!! I crush the barbs on all my trebles, which makes for very easy releasing, which causes less stress and damage to the fish.
A live mullet is the deadliest way to catch leeries!! No leerie will swim past a nice live baitfish. Use what-ever baitfish you can find. I’ve caught leeries on moonies, cape stumpies and even dassies, when the mullet were scarce. Mullet however is my prefered choice. Simply hook the mullet and attach a float about a meter above the mullet. Flick it out and either drift with the mullet or slowly troll the mullet. The moment you get a strike, put the reel into free spool or open the bail arm. You don’t want the fish to feel any tension. SLOWLY count to 10 and then strike, or if you’re using circle hooks, slowly tighten the drag. FISH ON!!! If you miss the strike, leave the mullet in the water for at LEAST two minutes before retrieving. The leerie will often come back for a second take…………
When using J-hooks, i also crush the barbs flat with a pair of pliers. Leeries often get hooked deep in the throat, when fishing with live-bait. A barbless hook is simply easier to remove and less harmfull to the fish. CIRCLE hooks work PERFECTLY for this application!!
This method of live bait fishing for leeries is very effective all over the river.
Sean Wethmar seen here with a nice Grunter caught on a surface lure
This is with-out doubt a great fighting fish to catch. They are notoriously difficult to hook and puts up a SPECTACULAR fight!! Many anglers travel to exotic destinations to fish for bonefish and other speedy fish, which offer exilerating fight. We are lucky enough to be able to target them here in the Western Cape. Right on our doorstep. Grunter fishing is just as much fun as catching bonefish!! (Sean Wethmar seen I in the pic with a nice Grunter caught on surface lure)
The BIGGEST secret to grunter fishing is to fish ULTRA-LIGHT tackle. I fish with VERY SPECIALISED tackle, which is not readily found in South Africa. So, this is what i’d recommend:
For reels, look at the Shimano 2500 sized reel’s, loaded with 7lb Double X mono (0.21mm). Because you’re fishing off a boat/kayak, a long rod is not needed, so look at ultra light rods in the 5-7′ range.
When it comes to fishing with ultra light tackle, your reels drag smoothness is CRITICAL. The cheaper reels don’t offer very good drags, which will mean lost fish. Stick to the well know brands. For fixed spool reels, look at the Shimano Sedona (good value for money), Symmetre (GREAT drag and good price) or Stradic.
So you’ve now got your tackle sorted, what next? Terminal rigs. Very simple. Run a small ball sinker onto the main line, attach a small swivel and tie a 30-50cm flourocarbon trace (I use 4.5kg maxima flourocarbon) and tie on a number 1 or 1/0 hook. Simply thread on a single prawn and you’re ready to fish.
WHERE to fish?? Grunters are found throughout the river system. From the mouth to well past Malgas (roughly 50km’s upriver!!). The vast majority of grunters are caught closer to the mouth. These fish move in and out of the river with the tides. During certain times of the year, they will be concerntrated at certain spots. WATCH where the locals fish!! You’ll soon learn where the fish are holding.
I’ve also found that further up-river, you get more smaller class fish. Mainly undersize grunters, whilst the lower reaches of the river gives off a better sized fish.
Seen marked the area in RED, where the grunter fishing is generally the best. There is no one specific spot that works, since the fish move around with the tide. So it pays to look for the fish in the demarcated area below:
HOW TO FISH
There are two methods of fishing for grunters:
This technique requires the wind and tide to oppose each other, so that the boat’s drift will be slow enough. Or there must be little or no wind and the tide must not be strong. The idea is to drift with the tide and cover a large area, thereby increasing your chances of hooking a grunter. If you drift too fast, your bait will be lifted close to the surface, even WITH heavy sinkers on, making your fishing attempts futile.
2. On Anchor
When the wind direction is wrong or the wind is too strong or there are too many boats, anchoring is your only solution. When anchoring, you are waiting for the fish to come to you. The downside to this technique is that you use PLENTY of bait, as the small fish will be attracted to your boat and will hang around the boat eating your bait.
BOTH techniques work well, so go and experiment and see what works well for YOU!!
I’ve found that spring tides offer the best fishing, especially the periods around the high water times. We have caught very good fish on neap tides too, but the massive tidal movements on spring tides simply make the river considerabily livelier.
The nice part about bait fishing is that you never know what you will hook next!!
Juvenile White Steenbras is very common, ESPECIALLY if the water is cold
Juvenile kob can also be a pest at times, grabbing your bait as soon as it hits the water
There are also many bait stealers/peckers around. The river is infested with Cape Stumpies, of all sizes!!
Sean Wethmar seen here with a nice Kob caught on live bait.
While a few are caught on bucktail jigs, soft plastics and even hard baits on occasion if you lucky having the right technique surface lures.
The best bait to use here is an octopus tentacle, as well as live mullet. Fish bait such as karanteen or mackerel also work well, but barbel can be a nuisance and usually beat the kob to the bait. Lovely cob, averaging between 10-20 kg, are regularly caught.
(Sean with seen here with a nice Kob caught in Witsand)
SEA FISHING IN WITSAND
The sea here has tons of species of fish. From most bottom fish through to Katonkel ,Yellow Tail, Yellowfin Tuna. But we will focus on these 3 pelagics (Game fish) below.
Sea fishing in Witsand is basically the same as mentioned for fishing for Yellowtail and katonkel in the other spots mentioned
Sean Wethmar seen here with a nice Yellowfin Tuna caught on Halco.
The Yellowfin Tuna is Western Cape’s most sought after kayak fishing specie to catch. There have only been but two nice ones just over 15Kg caught in Western Cape. Hence why they are so sought after. They can be caught on very similar if not all the lures used for catching Yellow Tail.
Sean Wethmar seen here with a nice Yellowf Tail caught on a Halco.
Pound for pound the yellowtail is right up there with the strongest fighting (edible fish) in the Cape. It’s No wonder kayak fisherman never get tired of catching them.
Yellowtail can be caught either trawling, spinning, jigging or using bait.Everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to tackle so here is an indication of what is needed. You can then select your brand preference to match to your taste and pocket.
All the rods should be able to fit inside your kayak if need be. So between between 5.5-7ft is good. Most use 3-4 rods when kayak fishing. 2 trawling rods and one or 2 Rods for either spinning or jigging. It’s better to use a longer rod for spinning. Helps get more distance when casting.
How to set your traces up is also personal preference.
Take a look at this link, everything you need to know is very well explained. How to catch yellowtail and gear used
Take a look at the Kayakfish video section to see it done live and also how to cast for them. Casting for Yellowtail
Also consider social media or a kayak chat group and see what and how others are setting their equipment up. See if anyone is maybe selling something suitable.
Katonkel (Oceanic Tuna)
Sean Wethmar seen here with a nice Yellowfin Tuna caught on Halco.
This has to be the most hungry fish in the sea “always”.
If these guys are around they cannot leave a lure. Their small razor sharp teeth make light work of most nonmetallic lures.
To catch them use similar techniques as catching Yellowtail. Sean seen here with one.
They are probably the easiest fish to catch ” if they are around” Caught by trawling and spinning mostly.
Can use the same tackle as for the Yellowtail. Methods mostly the same too.How to catch Katonkel and gear used
Thats it you are armed with some of the best techniques ever used to catch these fish.
- Make sure u don’t paddle alone. (There are plenty whats app groups to find a paddling buddy) – get hold of us if u would like to added to them.
- always use life jacket
- Double check weather forecast before u go out.
- Make sure someone knows where and when u are going out and time expected back more or less.
- Know your paddling fitness and when to call it time-out should weather take a turns for the worse.
- Make sure you have an anchor long enough to deploy and wait for help if wind picks up unexpectedly.
- Mobile phone is always good to have but reception at Cape point and further off shore in places is not always guaranteed.
- Take liquid and snacks.