All The Klipfish (Klipvis) Species Of South Africa | Photos & Information
Amazing Facts About The Klipfish Of Southern Africa
There are 3 common types of Klipfish that occur in and around South Africa although there are many other types too... The 3 most commonly caught, in order, are the Super Klipfish, the Grass Klipfish and the Bluntnose Klipfish. They are not easy to identify and have to be looked at very carefully in order to get a positive identification. All the Klipfish species are often confused with Blennies and Goby's. There are 40 species of Klipfish that occur in South African waters, these small rock dwelling fish species are all endemic to South Africa. The biggest of the Klipfish species is the Super Klipfish, which is also the most commonly hooked fish. In Afrikaans the Klipfish is simply referred to as the Klipvis, the English name for this species comes from the Afrikaans word Klip, which means Rock.
Fish The Sea are currently researching Klipfish species and recording all sorts of interesting information... If you have any interest at all in the Clinidae species, please have a look at a PDF book compiled by Fish The Sea here.
Klipfish species are often regarded as pests but they are really striking fish and these species can provide hours of entertainment when the larger fish are not on the bite. I often walk around on the rocks amongst the rock pools with a small rod and very light line and target these fish when there is nothing else to do! The more commonly caught Klipfish of all the 40 species are listed below (Please click on the link in the name to see pictures of these fish:)
- Super Klipfish
- Grass Klipfish
- Bluntnose Klipfish
- Agile Klipfish
- Oldman Klipfish
- Snaky Klipfish
- West Coast Klipfish
- Speckled Klipfish
- Nosestripe Klipfish
- Rippled Klipfish
- Whiteblotched Klipfish
- Bot River Klipfish
- Striped Klipfish
- Cape Klipfish
Habits & Habitats Of the South African Klipfish
The South African Klipfish are all endemic to the Country and belong to the family Clinidae. They are very cryptic and they mainly occur in shallow rocky areas although you can still find them in estuaries, lagoons and sandy areas. All the 40 species of Klipfish are viviparous, which means the females of this species go through internal fertilisation and give birth to fully developed juvenile Klipfish. All the species of Klipfish in South Africa occur in different habitats, and can be found in rocky pools, reed beds, tidal pools, under seaweeds, subtidal gullies, subtidal reefs, under stones or small rocks, lagoons, under structure in rivers and estuaries... Such as wharfs, piers, jetty's and in marinas... Klipfish can be found in all shapes, sizes and colours and normally occur in sizes from 2cm - 40 cm... The bigger Klipfish are very greedy and it is not uncommon to catch them on big baits and hooks! Klipfish can easily be confused with Rockskippers, Gurnards, Blennies or Gobies. The most striking of these 40 species is arguably the Nosestripe Klipfish.
How To Catch The Klipfish Species Of South Africa?
The Klipfish species of South Africa are very rarely targeted specifically unless by young anglers... They can be fun to catch on quiet days of fishing but on other days they can be quite annoying especially when fish with baits such as Redbait, Mussels, Worms and Prawns which are quite expensive or hard to collect. The Klipfish will eat any bait, especially the Super Klipfish... A lot of Klipfish species are very shy and will not ever eat a bait but as there are so many species there are plenty of others that readily take any baits and often even a bare hook... I have caught a few Klipfish on a hook with no bait on, it just shows you how aggressive they are. The Klipfish normally eat the baits because they are very territorial and attack anything that comes into "their area". Many people will not be interested in catching Klipfish but I enjoy it, especially since there are so many species and to see how many types of Klipfish actually occur in an area and the different colours they occur in is fascinating. here is some information on how to catch the Klipfish species of South Africa if you want to pursue them:
Tackle Needed To Target Klipfish Species:
- The best way to enjoy catching Klipfish is to do on very light tackle... A 4-6 foot rod with a coffee grinder reel between the sizes of 500 and 3000 with 2 kilogram line is perfect... You will have a lot of fun fishing this way.
- Bait wise; a small piece of chokka or sardine on a no 12,10 or 8 hook will catch those Klipvis in no time...
- Now to find a location... A lot of the time you can just walk around on the rocks and look into the pools for the fish... Otherwise deep or large rock pools and gullies will have healthy populations of Klipfish and there will always be a few hanging around jetty's and weed beds in lagoons.
- A fixed trace with a small swivel, light sinker and size 12 hook is my preferred method, another good method is a small float with a small split shot and a size 10 hook.
Below are some pictures and species account for some of the Klipfish I have caught. I hope you find it interesting!
This is basically results from some angling research I have conducted in the Eastern Cape. Some very interesting things happen in the rock pools where these Klipfish flourish...
The Super Klipfish is one of the more commonly encountered of the Clinidae species along the shore. These Klipfishes are amazing in terms of the colours and patterns that they possess. They can grow big, up to 30 centimeters, I am positive they can reach 40 or even 50 however. In the table below you can see 2 Super Klipfish that were caught in the same rock pool and how they differ so much in their colouration... Please click the image to see a larger picture.
It is still strange to think that the 2 fish above are the same species and they were living in the same environment.
Here is quite a rare species of Klipfish I caught off Bat's Cave, this species is called the Robust Klipfish and does not willingly take bait. At a quick glance one can easily mistake this species for the Super Klipfish. This is a big problem when it comes to identifying Clinidae species, there are 40 in the sub region, and all have very similar characteristics.
Below is a table with different Klipfish species that hopefully will help you identify the next one you catch!
|Robust Klipfish||Super Klipfish|
|Agile Klipfish||Oldman Klipfish|