Tackle and Bait when fishing in Plettenberg Bay


Plettenberg Bay offers rock and surf, lagoon and sea fishing. Rock and surf angling, due to its easy accessibility has become a very popular sport, the thrill of catching that big one and of course many accounts of the “one that got away” keep anglers going back for another cast over and over again.

The role of luck in fishing cannot be discounted and of course, knowledge is power so the more knowledge you have the better your luck.

Here are a few handy hints we hope increase your luck.


Light tackle: used in estuaries, lagoons and coastal rivers.

  • The rod: choose a soft, graphite rod with a whippy shaft about 2.5m long and rust resistant runners, a tungsten steel tip and a chrome steel winch fitting on which the reel can be securely clamped. Felt, cork or rubber hand grips above and below the winch fitting makes are ideal.
  • The reel: opt for a fixed spool (coffee grinder) reel or small, open-spooled reel is best. Coffee grinders have gained popularity not only for gully fishing but also for spinning with ultra light spoons and lures.
  • The line: braid has become the most popular type of line paired with a coffee grinder nowadays due to the thin diameter and superior strength compared to regular nylon but either can be used.
  • The hook: Use a 1/0 to 2/0 size and if fishing for Galjoen and other smaller reef species.
  • The sinker: a round, ball-type sinker weighing 5-10gms is best.
  • The swivel: a no 8 is your best bet and a 1/0 hook.
  • The set up: Pass the line through the runners of your rod, thread it through the sinker and tie it to one end of the swivel. To the open end of the swivel attach a thin nylon trace (approx 60cm long) with a hook at the end of it. Bait up, catch your fish!
  • Medium tackle: used for rock and surf angling when wanting to land fish 5kg upwards
  • The rod: opt for a graphite or HMD rod that has a quick taper, a light tip and is between 3.5 and 4m long, the rod should be strong and durable.
  • The reel: There are so many options available that a visit to your local tackle store would be the best starting point for the exact match for you but these would include medium size coffee grinders (5000 to 9000) and multiplyer reels also of medium size such as the diawa sl 20 and shimano 15/30, TN 14A, 20A as examples.
  • The line: use a thin, durable nylon with a breaking strain of between 8 and 14 kg, for the multiplyers and a braid of between 20 to 30 lbs, remember the thinner your line, the easier it is to cast and reel in.
  • The sinker: sinkers change according to fishing conditions, use  wire/ nylon grapnels and pyramid/ cone  sinkers if the sea bed is sandy and current washes your bait around too much and a pear-shaped sinker when rocky. From a boat use sliding barrel or ball sinkers and depending on the strength of the wind and the size of your bait the sinker should ideally weigh between 75 and 125gms.
  • The hook: for rock and surf fishing have a variety of hooks in the tackle box, ranging in size from 1/0 to 6/0 and 8/0 and keep two or three medium sized spoons on you should elf or yellowtail appear.
  • The swivel: use the well known barrel or “two-way” swivel
  • Extras: keep a roll of elastic cotton handy for tying on the bait, a few cork floats for keeping the bait off the bottom or near to the surface of the water and some wire traces to prevent large fish from severing the line.
  • The set up: Make sure to tie the traces to your sinker and swivel and that the sinker trace has a lower breaking strain than the line on your reel so that if the sinker gets snagged you won’t lose a great deal of line.
  • Heavy tackle: used when catching shark
  • The rod: buy a sturdy rod between 3.5 and 4m long with a stiff tip.
  • The reel: match the rod with a strong reel that can take at least 500m of nylon. Usually a thinner braid backing is used with nylon topshot of around .55mm and this increases line capacity dramatically.
  • The line: make sure the line has a breaking strain of between 20 and 27kg and if fishing for shark, notorious for breaking up line with their fins, tails or by becoming entangled in it attach a 5m long nylon leader line of 1mm and larger to  the open end of your swivel and join it to the thinner line on your reel as a precaution.
  • The sinker: A sinker will not be necessary if using heavy bait but if you do use it attach it to the hook trace’s swivel with a short line.
  • The trace: use a wire trace about a metre long with a breaking strain of about 40kg.
  • The hook: you need to use a 8/0 to 12/0 hook .
  • The swivel needs to be a tough to withstand the strain of hooking a predator.


It doesn’t matter if you have the best tackle money can buy it is useless without the right bait,

Here is a list of the most successful bait used on the South African coastline:

Chokka – best used fresh, cut open and remove soft backbone and entrails, skin the body and slice into long, thin strips which can be used singly or together like tassels from the hook. Can be combined with fishbait to make a “mixed grill”. Use for Blacktail, Geelbek, Carpenter, Elf, Gurnard,Hake,Kingklip, Kob,Poenskop (black Musselcracker) RedRoman, Red Steenbras,Santer, Spotted Grunter, Steenbras,Strepie, Stumpnose,Yellowtail and Zebra fish.

Fishbait – the most commonly young fish used to form fishbait are pilchards, harder, maasbanker and steenjie. If using mackerel or elf cut fillets off the bone and using elastic cotton tie to the hook in long strips. If fishing for large predators use live bait and insert the hook through the back of the fish just below the dorsal fin. Catch: Tuna, red Steenbras, Rock Cod, Red Roman, Kob, Elf, Cape Salmon

Octopus – find this highly prized bait, best used fresh, in tidal pools at low tide, use unskinned as bait, just the head or if small enough the whole octopus. Cape Salmon, Kob, white and black Musselcracker, Red Roman,

Mudprawns are best for: Blacktail, Kob, Spotted grunter, White Steenbras, Sand Steenbras,Stumpnose, Zebra fish

Sand prawns collected by means of a prawn pump are best used to catch: Blacktail, Cape Salmon/Geelbek, Galjoen,Kob, White Musselcracker, Red Roman, Rock Cod, Spotted Grunter, White Steenbras, Sand Steenbras, Stumpnose, Zebra fish,

Prawnbait for Blacktail, Galjoen, Strepie, Kabeljou, Harders (Mullet) Musselcracker (white) Musselcracker (black/Poenskop) Red Roman, Rock Cod, Spotted Grunter, Sand Steenbras, White Steenbras, Stumpnose, Zebra fish,

Redbait: Popular when trying to land bottom feeders such as Galjoen and Hottentot redbait is found all along the rocky coastal regions but can be difficult to reach, your best bet is trying to get it at a low Spring Tide. Most rock fish prefer red bait fresh, the following fish will take red bait: Blacktail, Galjoen, Strepie,  White Steenbras, Black Musselcracker/Poenskop, Zebra fish all will take a red bait hook.

White mussels which are scarce due to exploitation live beneath the sand in greatest abundance near the low-water mark or beyond and will be found by shuffling your feet into the sand and “feeling for them”. Bait fresh white mussels onto your hook when casting for Cape Stumpnose, White Steenbras, Sand Steenbras, Spotted Grunter, Galjoen, Blacktail.

Bloodworms: bloodworms live under the sand on the beach, along river banks and around estuaries, bloodworms can be extracted with a prawn pump, use bloodworm to catch Blacktail, Sand Steenbras, Cape Stumpnose,


Baardman 40 cm 5
Blacktail 20cm 5
Blue hottentot none 5
Cape Stumpnose 20cm 5
Carpenter/silverfish 35 cm 4
Dageraad 40cm 1
Elf/Shad 30cm 4
Fransmadam none 10
Galjoen 35cm 2
Garrick/Leervis 70cm 2
Geelbek (Cape Salmon) 60cm 2
Hake none 5
Hottentot 22cm 10
John Brown none 5
Kingklip none 1
Kob caught from a boat at sea 50cm
Kob caught from an estuary & from the shore 60cm 1
Mullets/ harders None 50
Pinky 7.5cm 10
Poenskop (Black Steenbras or Musselcracker) 50 cm 1
Red Steenbras 60 cm 1
Red Stumpnose (Miss Lucy) 30 cm 1
Red Roman 30cm 2
Santer30cm 5
Spotted Grunter 40cm 5
Springer (Ten pounder) none 5
Strepie 15cm 10
Squid (Chokka) none 20
White Musselcracker 60cm 2
White Steenbras 60cm 1
White Stumpnose 25cm 10
Yellowbelly Rockcod 60cm 1
Yellowtail None 10
Zebra 30cm 5


Alikreukel (min 63.5mm) 5
Bloodworm 5
Chiton/armadillo 6
Clam 8
Crabs & hermit crabs 15
Cuttlefish 2
Limpets 15
Mole Crab 30
Mud crab (min 140mm) 6
Mud Prawn 50
Octopus 2
Oysters 25
Periwinkle/topshell/turbanshell 50
Razor clam/pencil bait 20
Red bait 2kg
Mussels – rock/black/brown or ribbed 30
Scallop 10
Sea cucumbers 20
Sea urchins (excluding live pansy shells 20
Squid/chokka 20
Sand prawn 50
Swimming prawns 50
White Mussel/wedge shell (min 35mm) 50
Any sea worm including polychaete, wonder shingle, moonshine, coral pot, pudding, rock, mussel, tape and flat worms 10 or 250 ml container


Information compiled by Bruce Noble & Sue van der Gaast