Top 10 South African Fish
If you are a keen adventurer and looking to have some of the freshest and tastiest fish that we have swimming along our coasts, below is a list of some of the commonly caught and enjoyed species on offer.
Averaging 50cm in length and 3kg in weight, this fish is mostly found in South Africa’s estuaries and sandy shores. This species of fish is very sought after for its tasty white flesh and is great when grilled or braaied.
Stumpnose with Sage and Lemon
- 1 Whole stumpnose (about 2kg), scaled and cleaned (or firm white fish like Hottentot, yellowfish and angel)
- Small bunch of sage and parsley
- 2 tbs olive or sesame oil
- 2 tbs lemon or lime juice
- 2 tbs fish sauce (optional)
- Maldon salt and white pepper
- Zest of a large lemon, or 2-3 limes
- A dollop of butter
Rinse the fish and pat dry inside and outside with paper towel. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil and fish sauce, whisk and rub onto the skin. Do the same with some coarse salt (preferably Maldon) and white pepper. If you use the fish sauce in the mixture don’t add additional salt. Fill the inside of the fish with the sage, parsley, butter and lemon zest. Keep the rest of the oil mixture for basting the fish. Braai the fish over moderate to hot coals for 15 to 20 minutes on both sides. Only turn it once. To test if fish is done, insert a toothpick or wooden skewer through the thickest part of the fish and it should be firm. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and thin slices of lemon.
Preferring the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, this fish is found in shallow waters along the East Coast of South Africa. The Spotted Grunter can get to a size of 90cm and a weight of around 10kg. The white flesh makes good eating, but the common practice has been to bleed the fish well after capture to improve the taste.
The Cape Gurnard is endemic to SA’s shores and is also commercially trawled, along being targeted by line-fisherman. Reaching a maximum size of 70cm and 5kg, this fish is very popular amongst fishermen as the flesh makes excellent eating if you can ignore the ugly appearance of the fish.
The Galjoen is known as SA’s National Fish and can be found along all rocky regions of SA’s coastline. Attaining a maximum length of 80cm and weight of 6.5kg, this fish has an acquired taste but enjoyed immensely by those who favour it.
Most prominently found on the South and East Coast of SA, this endemic species of fish is seen as a trophy-catch by many a fisherman who has fought and lost against its strength. The black variety is found in the rocky regions along the coast, while the white species prefers patrolling the sandy beaches. With a maximum length of 120cm and approximately 30kg in weight, this fish makes good eating, but fishermen will say that the tastier ones are those under 10kg in size.
White Steenbras/Pig-nose Grunter
The White Steenbras is found along the entire coast of South Africa, primarily along sandy shores and estuaries. Reaching a length of around 120cm and 20kg in weight, this fish is popular amongst anglers and makes for good eating. This species has also been caught as a commercial by-catch by South African trawlers and purse-seine fisherman.
Shad are found along the entire coastline of SA, where some prefer sandy areas with clear water and other in foamy water where the coast is rockier. This predator hunts on the surface and reaches a length of 120cm and a weight of 14kg. The flesh makes for excellent eating but only when fresh – so avoid freezing this fish at all costs.
The Bronze Bream is found along the West Coast of SA, right up to Mozambique. Reaching 74cm in length and 6kg in weight, this fish is sought after for its flesh but has unfortunately fallen prey to a decline in numbers as this fish has a slow growth-rate.
Reaching up to 120cm and 32kg, this is a highly esteemed game-fish along the shores of SA. It is found on both the East and West Coast of the country, but numbers seem to be far higher in the warmer Indian Ocean. This predatory fish is a hard catch and the flesh makes fair eating.
This is a popular fish on our coast and served in coastal seafood restaurants quite often. This shoaling species of fish can reach a length of 130cm and a weight of 25kg. The flesh is most delicious and this has led to the decline in numbers.
Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fish are very healthy for us and we should aim to eat at least 1-2 fish meals per week. There are various fish recipes and ways in which to prepare fish dishes. Such as braaing, grilling, baking, steaming and frying the fish with a bit of garlic butter. Or in seafood paella, or a curry etc. The possibilities are endless.
Thanks, Portfolio for this awesome article.
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