South African Recreation Catch Size & Bag Limits |How Many Fish Can You Catch And Keep Per Day?

Whitebarred Rubberlip

The question of how many fish can I keep a day is often asked but seldom ever known... It is vitally important that all saltwater anglers and fishermen become familiar with this table. The Saltwater fish species of South Africa are under huge fishing pressure and many anglers ignore the catch and size limits... This has a big impact on fish stocks and populations.  Please also remember that there are closed seasons for certain fish species and that the legal size and bag limit varies from area to area (Please see bottom of table)... Catch and release methods should be practiced as much as possible... It is so rewarding to see that 'fish of a lifetime' swim free after a long fight! The information below was obtained from South African Game Reserves Fishing! On this page you will find other rules and regulations such as closed seasons for fishing, cast net rules, shellfish and bait collection and limits.

The bag limit refers to how many South African saltwater fish you are allowed to keep in a day... CM - Centimeters... KG - Kilograms... None - You may take as many fish from the ocean as you would like to... Just remember you are not allowed to keep more than 10 fish per day, per angler and please limit your kill, don't kill your limit!

DISCLAIMER: Please note that bag limits and size limits change often. More protected species also get added to the list, or taken off it. Baring this in mind, some of the information below may not be correct at the time of you reading this.

Please not you are not allowed to catch or target the following species of fish in South Africa: Great White Shark, Brindle Bass, potato Bass, Seventy Four, Natal Wrasse, Red (Copper) Steenbras...

See Fish The Sea Angling Research here.

Fish Species Name

Scientific Name

Minimum Size

Bag Limit

Anchovies Engraulidae 0 CM None
Baardman (bellman, tasselfish) Umbrina 40 CM 5
Banded Galjoen Dichistius multifasciatus 0 CM 5
Billfishes (Marlin, Sailfish) Istiophoridae 0 CM None
Blacktail (Dassie) Diplodus sargus capensis 20 CM 5
Blue Hottentot Pachymetopon aeneum 0 CM 5
Bronze Bream (Bluefish) Pachymetopon grande 30 CM 2
Cape Knifejaw Oplegnathus conwayi 0 CM 5
Cape Stumpnose Rhabdosargus holubi 20 CM 5
Carpenter (Silverfish) Argyrozona argyrozona 35 CM 4
Catface Rockcod (Spotted Rockcod) Epinephelus andersoni 50 CM 5
Chub Mackerel Scomber japonicus 0 CM None
Cutlassfish (Walla Walla) Trichiurus lepturus 0 CM None
Dageraad Chrysoblephus cristiceps 40 CM 1
Dane Porcostoma dentata 0 CM 5
Dorado (Dolphin Fish) Coryphaena hippurus 0 CM None
Elf (Shad) Pomatomus saltatrix 30 CM 4
Englishman Chrysoblephus anglicus 40 CM 1
Fransmadam Boopsoidea inornata 0 CM 10
Galjoen Dichistius capensis 35 CM 2
Garfishes Belonidae 0 CM None
Garrick (Leervis) Lichia amia 70 CM 2
Geelbek (Cape salmon) Atractoscion aequidens 60 CM 2
Glassies Ambassidae 0 CM None
Hake Merluccius 0 CM None
Halfbeaks Hemiramphidae 0 CM None
Horse Mackerel (Maasbanker, Mosi) Trachurus trachurus capensis 0 CM None
Hottentot Pachymetopon blochii 22 CM 10
John Brown Gymnocrotaphus curvidens 0 CM 5
Kingfishes Caranx 0 CM 5
Kingklip Genypterus capensis 0 CM 1
King Mackerel (Couta) Scomberomorus commerson 0 CM 10
Kob**** Argyrosomus 50 CM 1
Large-Spot Pompano (Wave Garrick) Trachinotus botla 0 CM 5
Leopard Cat Shark Poroderma pantherinum 0 CM 1
Mullets (Harders) Mugilidae 0 CM 50
Natal Knifejaw (Cuckoo Bass) Oplegnathus robinsoni 0 CM 5
Natal Stumpnose Rhabdosargus sarba 25 CM 5
Pinky (Piggy, Olive Grunt) Pomadasys olivaceum 7.5 CM 10
Poenskop (Black Musselcracker) Cymatoceps nasutus 50 CM 1
Queen Mackerel Scomberomorus plurilineatus 0 CM 10
Ragged Tooth Shark Carcharias taurus 0 CM 1
Red Stumpnose Chrysoblephus gibbiceps 30 CM 1
River Bream (Perch) Acanthopagrus berda 25 CM 5
Rock Salmon (River Snapper) Lutjanus argentimaculatus 40 CM 5
Roman Chrysoblephus laticeps 30 CM 2
Santer (Soldier) Cheimerius nufar 30 CM 5
Sardine (Pilchard, Red Eye) Clupeidae 0 CM None
Sauries Scomberesocidae 0 CM None
Scads Decapterus 0 CM None
Scotsman Polysteganus praeorbitalis 40 CM 1
Slinger Chrysoblephus puniceus 25 CM 5
Snoek (Cape Snoek) Thyrsites atun 60 CM 10
Southern Pompano Trachinotus africanus 0 CM 5
Spotted Grunter Pomadasys commersonnii 40 CM 5
Spotted Gully Shark Triakis megalopterus 0 CM 1
Springer Elops machnata 0 CM 5
Steentjie Spondyliosoma emarginatum 0 CM 10
Stonebream Neoscorpis lithophilus 0 CM 5
Strepie (Karanteen) Sarpa salpa 15 CM 10
Striped Cat Shark Poroderma africanum 0 CM 1
Swordfish (Broadbill) Xiphias gladius 25 KG 5
Squid (Chokka) Loligo vulgarus reynaudii 0 CM 20
Tuna Thunnus 6 KG 10
West Coast Steenbras Lithognathus auret 60 CM 1
White Musselcracker (Brusher) Sparodon durbanensis 60 CM 2
White Steenbras (Pignose Grunter) Lithognathus lithognathus 60 CM 1
White Stumpnose Rhabdosargus globicebs 25 CM 10
Wolfherring Chirocentrus dorab 0 CM None
Yellow Belly Rock Cod Epinephelus marginatus 60 CM 1
Yellowtail Seriola lalandi 0 CM 10
Zebra Diplodus cervinus hottentotus 30 CM



Kob caught from a boat at sea Cape Agulhas to Umtamvuna River             50 cm                                5

Kob caught from a boat at sea The Province of KwaZulu-Natal                    40 cm                                 5

Kob caught in estuaries & from the shore East of Cape Agulhas only        60 cm                                1

Kob West of Cape Agulhas only                                                                             50 cm                                 5


Closed Seasons For South African Angling

There is an overall bag limit of 10 fish per person per day, no matter what species they are. Listed Below are the closed seasons for fishing:

  1. Shad closed season 1 October - 30 November (No Shad fishing to be done during this time)
  2. Red Steenbras closed season 1 October - 30 November (No Red Steenbras fishing to be done during this time) The Red Steenbras is currently a protected species and cannot be caught at anytime.
  3. Galjoen closed season 15 October - the last day of February the next year (No Galjoen fishing may be done during this period)
  4. Chokka Squid closed seasons (There are 3) March 19 from 12h00 - April 9 19h00; 12h00 23 July - 12h00 August 13; 19 October 12h00 - November 23 12h00.

Cast Net Rules, Bag Limits & Regulations In South Africa

A cast net may not be used between sunset and sunrise or in any other dark hours. The following is a table of fish species that are the ONLY species allowed to be caught in a throw net:

Name Size Limit Bag Limit
Anchovy None None
Chub Mackerel None None
Glassy None None
Halfbeak None None
Horse Mackerel None None
Mullet None 50
Pinky 7.5cm 10
Sardine None None
Saury None None
Scad None None
Strepie 15cm 10


Shellfish And Bait Organism Rules & Bag Limits

No person shall collect bait or shellfish or fish for them between sunset and sunrise. Please note that special bait collecting licenses are needed. Below are the bag limits and collection methods:

Organism Max Per Day Collection Method Other
Alikreukel 5 By Hand only Min Size 63.5mm
Armadilo (Chiton) 6 By Hand Only  
Bloodworm 5 By Hand, Suction Pump or Wire  
Clam 8 By Hand Only  
Crab & Hermit Crab 15 By Hand, Rod & Line Excl. Mud Crabs & Mole Crabs
Cuttlefish 2 By Hand Or Line  
Mole Crab 30 By Hand Or Triangular Trap  
Mud Crab 6 Only By Hand, Rod Or Line  
Octopus 2 By Hand, Rod, Line Or Gaff  
Periwinkle 50 By Hand Only  
Razor Clam (Pencil Bait) 20 By Hand, Suction Pump Or Wire  
Red Bait 2kgs Without Shell    
Rock, Black, Brown, Ribbed Mussels 30    
Mud Prawn 50 Only By Hand Or Suction Pump  
Sand Prawn 50 Only By Hand Or Suction Pump  
Sea Worms 10 Only By Hand Or Suction Pump Excludes Bloodworm, Mussel Worm, Cape Reef Worm
Swimming Prawns 50 Only By Hand Or Scoop Net Cant Exceed More Than 50cmx50cm
Scallop 50 By Hand Only  
Sea Cucumbers 10 By Hand Only  
Sea Urchins 20 By Hand Only  
White Mussel 50   Min Size 35mm
Oysters 25    
Chokka Squid 20 Rod Or Line Only  

Please Remember, Limit your catch, don't catch your limit...