Submitted by: Liesel Wild
Coastal angling in Namibia, as with many destinations worldwide, remains a popular pastime with thousands prospective anglers heading to the coast annually to try and snag the “one that got away!” It is a mixture of friendly competition versus personal pride versus pure persistence – with a lot of patience thrown in! – that sees anglers descending on this magical African gem in search of “the big one.”
Rock and Surfing Angling along Namibia’s West Coast
Angling species along the coast include the sought-after kabeljou (kob), galjoen, blacktail or dassie and the West Coast steenbras. Surprisingly enough, the less popular sea barbell is considered by some as a Namibian delicacy when smoked and enjoyed.
Generally the most rewarding time to angle would be annually from November to March although all species can be caught throughout the year. However, the summer months do tend to be more likely to produce better results due to the warmer water conditions ensure this a prime time for angling in Namibia. The cold waters, rough high seas and pounding waves that break along this desolate coast each winter may put some anglers off visiting the region over this time but braver anglers ready to try their luck are in for a nice windfall, as these conditions are excellent for galjoen angling and the winter months do produce better results.
Angling destinations along the central Namibian coastline includes the areas between Paaljies and the northern Sandwich Harbour, as well as the coastal strip between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
Extremely popular in terms of angling is the newly proclaimed Dorob National Park, formerly the West Coast National Recreation Area, which extends from 20km north of Swakopmund for 200km to the Ugab River. Well-known angling spots include places with interesting names such as Mile 8, Mile 14 Beach Resort, Die Drom (north of Wlotzkasbaken), Henties Bay, Sarah se Gat, Mile 72 and Mile 108.
Popular areas for angling further north, within the Skeleton Coast Park, are Torra Bay and Terrace Bay.
Namibia follows a strict national action plan where all sharks that are caught are returned to the sea live and unharmed. Shark angling is practiced throughout the year, with the months of November to May being the best to land the coppershark. Weighing in between 15-190kg, the “bronzy” as it is also known, is a strong fighter and an excellent sport fish to pitch your angling skills against.
Other smaller shark species include the cowshark, smooth hound shark and the spotted gully shark, which is also referred to as the spotty shark.
Shark-angling excursions are offered by various tour operators in the areas of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay.
Namibia plays host to various angling competitions, with the more established annual competitions along the coast including:
• The Corporate Angling Challenge held each October in Henties Bay. This is open to any business wishing to enter a team to participate;
• A church-organised competition held over Easter Weekend, offering a cash prize up for grabs;
• The Henties Bay Fish Festival competition, usually run in August or September;
• The Penguin Bonanza Angling competition held each December;
• The Penguin Ski-Boat competition also held in December;
• The Tri-Development International Angling Competition, usually held in September.
Winners of these angling competitions normally walk away with cash prizes for the different fish species in the various divisions. Clubs also present regular angling competitions numbering about 25 per annum, for which entrants have to be affiliated members of a registered angling clubs. National championships are held for three days in March annually. Each year in November, an international competition is held against South Africa for registered and selected members.
Each year, the Lüderitz Yacht Club organises a Snoek Derby that usually takes place towards the end of May. This competition has become quite an institution within the angling world, celebrating its 23rd annual winner in 2011, with a catch of 5.37kg!
Marine Angling Regulations
Namibia has a strict code of conduct and regulations that need to be adhered to when practicing marine angling within the country.
These regulations include:
• Anglers need to be in possession of a fishing permit. These are obtainable through the offices of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Walvis Bay, Lüderitz, Swakopmund and/or the Henties Bay Hanganeni Fishing Centre.
• The daily bag limit is 10, comprising one or more of the following species: blacktail (dassie), galjoen, kabeljou (kob) and the West Coast steenbras. Minimum sizes for these species are blacktail (dassie) 25cm, galjoen 30cm, kabeljou (kob) 40cm and the West Coast Steenbras (40cm).
• Anglers may not harvest more than two kob longer than 70cm each and two West Coast steenbras exceeding 65cm each in one day. These measurements are inclusive of the head and tail.
• A maximum of 30 fish per bona fide angler, caught over three days, may be transported in a vehicle subject to not more than 10 fish per species per angler.
• The open season for rock lobster commences from the 1st November to the 30th April annually and the minimum carapace length is 65cm. The daily limit for these rock lobsters is seven and a maximum of seven rock lobsters in a whole state may be transported at a time.
• There are further limitations on the quantities of a variety of marine resources that may be harvested for own use without a fishing permit. For an angling experience sure to keep you in fresh fishing tales for years to come, take a trip to Namibia’s famous angling grounds! Consult www.namibangling.com for further information.