December 3, 2023

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Durban Fishing – The Complete Guide

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Deeply rooted in history and culture, Durban is also an angling magnate. Being engulfed in the Indian Ocean means that fishing in fishing in Durban is nothing short of majestic. With legendary deep sea creatures calling these waters home, it’s hard not to get hyped about the angling opportunities that await you here. And that’s precisely how you’ll feel after reading this blog.

Did you know that this South African city boasts one of the world’s largest harbors? Doesn’t shock you? Then the fact that Durban fishing charters are plentiful won’t come as a surprise, either. Fishing is in the heart of this maritime community and will make you fall in love with big game pursuits.

Sure, deep sea giants are all the rage here. But Durban is so much more than its leviathans. Of course, we’ll kick off with the celebrities, but we’ll mention other catches as well. Apart from the species, we’ll walk you through the most common ways of fishing, regulations, and good starting points. Now let’s dive into Durban’s underwater world in three, two, one…

What can I catch in Durban?

As a famous fishing destination, a variety of fish species is Durban’s forté. These waters are oozing with life. Be it offshore beasts or inland beauties, the odds are in your favor. Let’s take a look at the headliners below and help you land that prize fish of yours.


Only an hour’s ride from the harbor, and you’ve already unlocked the boss level. It’s easy to lavish your attention exclusively on one Billfish member. But that would neither do justice to their cousins nor you. Each Billfish is a wonder of nature. So, we decided to honor the entire family residing in Durban’s waters. Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish, Spearfish – Durban has them all!

A battle of biblical proportions is at the core of your duel with Billfish. Prepare for what will seem to be a neverending dance! If you’ve gone after them before, you know this all too well. If you’ve never tried testing your skills against them, it’s high time you did. Just make sure you’re out with a certified captain who knows what they’re doing. You’ll need all the help you can get.

Billfish frequent these waters year-round. Late fall and winter, however, give you increased chances of reeling in an impressive specimen. Trolling is the most effective technique for luring these jumpers your way. It allows you to imitate their prey without spooking them. Once a Billfish falls for your decoy, an adrenaline rush and a back-breaking action are guaranteed.


Less challenging than Billfish, but equally vigorous and acrobatic, Tuna are Durban’s most wanted rivals. The warm ocean waters are abundant in Yellowfin Tuna during October. Besides Yellowfin Tuna, you can cross your paths with Skipjack Tuna, too. Long story short, when fishing in Durban, you won’t lack first-class sport fish and mighty opponents.

A captain with an angler who is holding Yellowfin Tuna caught while fishing in Durban

Unlike Sailfish or Marlin, which require a full-day endeavor, Durban can reward you with Yellowfin Tuna even on a 5-hour trip. But, truth be told, Tuna seldom meander the nearshore area. These sturdy fellas prefer the open ocean. To hit the jackpot, try a trolling and chumming combo. It should work like a charm to help you secure your trophy catch.

Mahi Mahi

Gorgeous-looking and hard-hitting, you can’t go wrong with Mahi Mahi. Dorado, or Mahi Mahi as they’re known worldwide, are the most photogenic fighters. Not only are they picture-perfect warriors, but Mahi Mahi are also incredibly tasty. It’s no surprise that they’re sought-after, then. Luckily, Durban’s waters are brimming with these bluewater superstars.

A happy kid holding a Mahi Mahi alone with both hands on a boat

The Dorado frenzy kicks off in November and reaches its peak in the following couple of months. This, however, doesn’t imply that you can’t pursue them in July or August. It only means that the probability of landing breathtaking Mahi Mahi is higher from November to May.

As aggressive feeders, Dorado won’t resist baits that sometimes aren’t meant for them. So, don’t be startled if you accidentally hook a Mahi Mahi instead of a Marlin. Whether a by-product of trolling for Billfish or an intentional catch, Mahi Mahi are a sport fish worth having at the end of your line!


By now you mastered that Durban could easily be a big game fishing capital of the world. With such renowned bluewater species under its umbrella, how could it not be? But not everything is about the deep sea chase. Freshwater locals are often overshadowed by their ocean neighbors. But we want to shed some light on a very special South African resident – Yellowfish.

A wader holding Yellowfish caught while fishing in Durban’s freshwater fishery

Scaly Yellowfish, in particular, are native to the KwaZulu-Natal area. You can find them in the Umgeni River when fishing in Durban. Avid anglers sometimes compare them to Trout. This may be due to the fact that Scalies are prime fly and wade fishing targets. Dawn and the shallow riffles are a prolific combo when looking for any Yellowfish. So early risers, you know what to do. Good luck!

… And More!

Yes, there’s more. Wahoo and Great Barracuda are just two big names out of many you can find offshore. The nearshore fisheries feature species like Couta – globally crowned as King Mackerel. Where there’s a king, there’s a queen, too. Queenfish, to be more specific. Apart from the royals, you can expect an encounter with Shad, Rockcod, and Garrick.

Two anglers holding big Wahoo

And the list goes on. Bonito, Amberjack, and Giant Trevally are also among Durban’s VIPs. The muddy waters in estuaries host Spotted Grunter, too. Meanwhile, the seafloor is home to bottom dwellers called Geelbek. The majority of these species are an amazing addition to your table. All in all, it’s more than clear that fishing in Durban is about diversity, abundance, and possibilities.

How can I fish in Durban?

Ok, so we know that fishing in Durban means options. Well, the same goes for the ways of angling you can try out. Depending on the species you’d like to target and the fishery you’d like to explore, different methods are at your disposal. We’ll outline the most common ways of fishing in Durban below.

Charter Fishing

Since deep sea fishing is Durban’s main attraction, it only makes sense for a charter operator to be your first choice. The benefits of teaming up with a local captain are endless. Not only will you have a boat and all the necessary equipment, but you’ll have a certified guide by your side. You’ll be able to move with ease and take advantage of top-notch gear and professional help when the time comes.

A side view of a Durban charter fishing boat and anglers in action out in the open

Durban fishing charters come in handy, especially if you’re venturing into the unknown. Relying on fishfinders alone isn’t enough for coming out victorious. You must understand how fish behave in certain conditions and in any given area. Born and raised in Durban, local captains know these waters like the back of their hands. And that’s exactly what you need!

Shore Fishing

The incredible stretches of golden sand extend along Durban’s coast. Sun-worshipers and beach-lovers won’t be able to resist the stunning view. Interestingly enough, you can also swim in the ocean thanks to the warm Mozambique current. But that isn’t the only thing you can do from shore. Surf casting proves to be fruitful, too.

A beach view of anglers fishing from the shore while the seas are choppy and wavy

You can wet your line anywhere, as long as you read public signs and respect the latest rules and regulations. North Durban is well-liked among shore fishing enthusiasts. Umdloti Beach is one of many with excellent angling conditions. The entire shore is studded with piers, so casting a line from a pier is also recommended.

Wade Fishing

If you aren’t afraid of getting wet and dirty, then we recommend you try wading for your next prized catch. It can be fun but also extremely challenging. Unlike fast-paced offshore fishing, wade fishing is more about the technique itself. Plus, it’s rarely separated from fly fishing. Since wade and fly fishing go hand in hand, this venture might be geared more toward seasoned anglers.

A photo of a wader bragging with his catch after wade fishing in Durban

A stealth approach is important as you’ll be moving through the shallows. Whether you’re exploring the harbor during the low tide or the river streams, it might be a good idea to have a guide by your side. They’ll make sure safety comes first. Plus, they’ll have a few tricks up their sleeves on how to go about your prey.

Kayak Fishing

While not as in-demand as angling from a boat, kayak fishing is steadily gaining popularity. Again, this way of fishing might be more reserved for experienced fishermen as it requires impeccable balance. The seas can be choppy around here and it may be difficult to maintain your course, while casting and reeling – and landing fish – at the same time.

A view of an angler kayak fishing in Durban

If you’d like to try your luck at landing Kingfish, Shad, or Rockcod, hit the area around the North Pier and outside the harbor. The odds will be in your favor during the warm Mozambique current. Additionally, early morning is your ally for catching Couta. It also gives a new perspective on the otherwise busy and crowded port. Even if you end up empty-handed, it will be worth it!

Where can I fish in Durban?

Fishing is unofficially divided into two areas – South and North Durban. Both regions are rich in beaches, piers, and offshore opportunities. North Durban, however, is more dominant in fishing circles. We’ll include the most prominent fishing spots from both angling realms. Let’s look at where you can wet your line when fishing in Durban.

An aerial view of Durban Harbor with greenery on the left
  • The Bluff. The southern part of Durban features good shore fishing corners. The Bluff, for example, has two beaches ideal for surf casting. One is Garvies Beach and the other is Ansteys Beach.
  • North and South Piers. If you’d like to cast a line or two while visiting Durban, you can always go pier fishing. You can even catch live bait from the pier and then focus on more serious fishing.
  • The Port of Durban. Between the two regions lies one of the biggest harbors in the world. The Port of Durban, also known as Durban Harbor, is the place to be if you’re looking for top-tier fishing charters.
  • The Umgeni River. Going northward from the launching site, you’ll come across the Blue Lagoon and Umgeni River. Blue Lagoon Beach is a remarkable place to relax and shore fish, while the Umgeni River is a Yellowfish wading heaven.
  • Umhlanga Beach. More exotic specimens abide in the Umhlanga area. Umhlanga Beach offers great angling from the shore, while the Umhlanga Rocks are famous for their shallow waters that attract various fish.

Anything else I should know?

An infographic showing the flag of South Africa and "Durban Fishing Regulations" in white on a blue background

Be it freshwater or saltwater angling, you must possess a valid fishing license if you plan to fish in Durban. Both permits are available for purchase at any Post Office. Apart from a fishing license, pay attention to what species you target and intend to keep. Not all Sharks are up for grabs. The same goes for big game fish such as Billfish.

You’ll have to be mindful of bag and size restrictions, too. While some species are entirely off-limits, others have a cap. Overall, you aren’t allowed to keep more than 10 fish per day. This list is a good starting point for understanding how to go about recreational angling in South Africa.

South Africa is mindful of its fisheries. Not only are there rules related to fish species, but there are also regulations that apply to marine protected areas. You’ll have to be extra careful where you cast your line. The best and safest solution is to hire a reliable captain who will make sure everything is in accordance with the law.

Fishing in Durban: Because Why Not?!

An aerial view of the ocean, beach, and city of Durban

There’s no need to gush about Durban’s fishing opportunities anymore. From this point onward, it’s up to you to check it out and let us know if we were right. If you’re still having second thoughts, just remember that Durban will welcome you not only with the ocean and inland fisheries but with magical sunrises and beaches, too. It sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

Have you ever been fishing in Durban? What did you catch? Any tips and tricks to share with us? Hit the comment button below and tell us all about your Durban angling adventure.

The post Durban Fishing: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Tanya
Title: Durban Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From:
Published Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2022 14:10:00 +0000

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