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Mossel Bay | Garden Route

Why We Love Deep Sea Fishing in Mossel Bay

Beaming guests with their catches of red stumpnose (Miss Lucy), and red roman, caught in July on a Mossel Bay fishing charter
Happy charter guests with their day’s catches

As a sea fisher for 30 years in the Garden Route, and a deep sea fishing charter skipper for the last 10 years, I can honestly say that Mossel Bay provides one of the best recreational angling opportunities along the coast.

It is a productive bay for a variety of favourite target species. I’ve fished heavy and light tackle, targeting both resident and migrating fish. And I’ve never been disappointed by what Mossel Bay has to offer.

Why Go Fishing in Mossel Bay?

Mossel Bay’s coastline stretches around 60 kms and attracts countless marine species. When offshore, and even close to shore, you may spot dolphins, whales, albatross, turtles, sharks and lots more.

The climate here is mild and even in the heart of winter, you can expect some dry, sunny days. We receive more than three-quarters of our rainfall at night, which makes fishing a bit more pleasant during the rainy season. When a north-westerly wind hits, it cleans up the sea and provides a pleasantly warm berg wind.

Our town boasts an average of 320 days of sunshine a year and our temperatures rarely reach below 8°C or above 27°C, ensuring the ideal fishing conditions through much of the year.

All this provides all levels of fishers and outdoor enthusiasts a great experience and the perfect environment for helping newbie fishers find their feet.

Still not convinced about why you should go fishing in Mossel Bay? Read on…

Angler with a Miss Lucy (red steenbras) fish
A red stumpnose (Miss Lucy) caught in Mossel Bay by one of our charter guests

What is Deep Sea Fishing?

Deep sea fishing is pretty much exactly what it says… it’s rod and reel fishing in deeper waters, usually of 30m or deeper. This means you’re usually fishing on open waters, far from the shore. This is because a lot of the fishing action takes place in these deeper waters where the larger target fish species tend to spend their time. This is why it is one of the best Mossel Bay fishing spots.

Mossel Bay provides dozens of tried and tested bountiful deep sea fishing spots. Of course, as with all wildlife, there’s no guarantee you’ll catch your target species on your trip. However, we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have an unforgettable experience, no matter what level of fisher you are.

Always remember… it’s called fishing, not catching!

Mossel Bay Fishing Spots & Seasons

Fishing in Spring & Summer

Black Musselcracker, known locally as Poenskop, caught in secret Mossel Bay fishing spot on a deep sea fishing trip
Black Musselcracker, known locally as Poenskop, caught in Mossel Bay in April

This season is certainly a busy one. It brings in the good weather, and the good fish.

Bag limit: 10 per person per day
Size limit: none

From around October, we’ll start to see bonito coming in and it’s one of our favourite troll fish. It’s a great way to end a deep sea fishing trip; trolling on the way back to the harbour. Or indeed, a quick purposeful trolling trip to catch a few bonnies and prepare them for a tasty bite of sashimi.

Bag limit: 5 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 50 cm & only 1 of over 110cm per day

Although you’ll find kob year-round, they’re more prolific in the summertime. Definitely one of the tastiest catches and a favourite of our charter guests.

Black Musselcracker / Poenskop
Bag limit: 1 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 50cm

The “grumpy old man of the sea” is a favourite species of our skipper.
Poenskop are a vulnerable and long-lived fish species, so when we have the privilege of catching one, we prefer to release it to fight another day.

Red Steenbras
Bag limit: 1 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 60cm

Another vulnerable and long-lived fish species. The trophy with catching these is a quickly snapped photo before release.

Bag limit: 4 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 30cm

A delicious eating fish, shad are a popular target species. They are vulnerable to high fishing pressure along our coast, so we avoid reaching our bag limit.

Bag limit: 1 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 30cm

These fish are a good alternative when the hake aren’t biting, although they aren’t quite as tasty.

Fishing in Autumn & Winter

Salt water fishing favourite. A lovely Miss Lucy (red stumpnose) - a red and orange male with a very pronounced forehead
Red Stumpnose (Miss Lucy), caught in Mossel Bay in June

Since Mossel Bay’s winters tend to run on the mild/dry side, being on the sea during this time is still very enjoyable. If you know the best Mossel Bay fishing spots, a trip can provide you with a very decent dinner.

Bag limit: 5 per person per day
Size limit: none

Stockfish are an extremely versatile cooking fish, used in lots of different dishes. And, of course, the most widely used in South African fish & chips. For good reason. You only find these fish while deep sea fishing.

Bag limit: 2 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 70cm

Not one of our usual target species but an interesting catch. Leeries tend to give a very strong fight, and our anglers a run for their money.

Red Stumpnose
Bag limit: 1 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 30cm

These ‘Miss Lucy’ fish love cold water. They are a bucket list catch for many anglers, and due to their endangered status, most anglers prefer to catch and release them.

Bag limit: 4 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 35cm

A tasty fish, best served baked. They give a little bit of a fight and are good winter fish to target.

Bag limit: 10 per person per day
Size limit: none

We love coming across yellowtail, which we very occasionally catch here in Autumn. They are pretty resilient to fishing pressure and are schooling fish, so where there’s one, there’s more.

Red Roman
Bag limit: 2 per person per day
Size limit: minimum 30cm

These pretty red fish are a favourite catch of our younger anglers. They give a little fight and are quite tasty when prepared properly.

Closed Seasons

Shad/Elf: 1st October – 30th November
Red Steenbras: 1st October – 30th November

Fishing Rules & Regulations (The Governments, Not Ours!)

As an ethical deep sea fishing charter, we respect the bag limits, minimum sizes, red-listed species and prohibited catches.

We only ever land our fish using a rod and reel or handline, but we can use extra equipment to help us bring on board the big fish. This is limited to a gaff or a landing net.

We can certainly prepare our landed fish while still out at sea, by gutting them and descaling them. However, legally, all landed fish must retain their heads and tails for size confirmation in the case there is a checkup from a Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment inspector.

The chances are slim that we’ll accidentally hook a prohibited species, but it can happen. In the case of hooking a hammerhead shark or white shark, our skipper or deckhand will quickly get it as close to the boat as possible and if it cannot be unhooked swiftly, then they will cut the line as close to the hook as is safely feasible.

Just a note: it is illegal for us or any of our fishing guests to sell, trade, or barter your catch.

You can download the Marine Recreational Fishing Regulations in South Africa on the Oceanographic Research Institute’s website. We are members of their marine-based citizen scientist project and tag select fish and shark species, helping contribute to learning more about fish biodiversity and abundance along our coastline.

One of our fishing guests catching a red steenbraas offshore Mossel Bay
A red steenbraas caught in Mossel Bay in June

Fishing Rules & Regulations (Ours, Not the Governments!)

Our personal rules when deep sea fishing for edibles are that we kill the fish humanely, clean and fillet it properly, don’t waste any of it, and store it to keep it fresh. We can use a local fish shop to prepare and fillet the fish for you. Waste not, want not!

We keep a list of bag limits and the minimum size measurements are available for you to check your catch against. Another of our personal rules is that we always limit our catch, not catch our limit.

We prefer to only target the green-listed/sustainable fish species as we know that their populations are the healthiest and best managed, ensuring the species flourishes, and that we can keep on landing them in the future.

Sold on a Garden Route Fishing Adventure?

Deep sea fishing in Mossel Bay is an incredible adventure. Even if you’ve never fished before, you’ll enjoy learning new techniques while soaking up the sights of the big blue. If you’re a seasoned angler keen to hook your personal best, we are eager to help you achieve your goal.

There’s no greater feeling than tired arms and the smell of freshly caught fish on the braai at the end of a day’s fishing.

You can chat to us about our deep sea fishing in Mossel Bay prices or to book your Garden Route fishing adventure.