Surf fishing means catching fish from the shoreline or wading in the surf. Namibia has 14 surf fishing clubs, and the various species of fish are caught on a catch-and-release basis. The clubs are affiliated to the Namibian Surf Angling Association (NSAA) which arranges five annual contests on the coast of Namibia. The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has allocated certain sections of the coast to surf fishing. Contests are held within those sections on a ten-kilometre stretch of beach for a day.

Surf angling
At the Namibian coast surf anglers quite often catch a spotted gully shark. These sharks are a sought-after prey in sport fishing because their weight is worth a lot of points for victory. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) classifies the spotted gully shark as potentially endangered.

Namibian surf anglers are registered as sportsmen with the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) through their club’s affiliation to the umbrella organizations, NSAA (Namibia Shore Angling Association) and NFSA (Namibia Federation of Sea Anglers). Thus they may wear the national colours when participating in international competitions for sport fishing. The NFSA is a member of FIPS-M (Fédération International de Pêche Sportive – Mer), which organises international competitions.

National championships are held every year in March. Each club can register a team consisting of six anglers, a substitute and a team leader for the three-day event. The winner is the team that achieves the highest total weight of fish caught over the three days. The weight is calculated according to a formula that takes the length of the fish into account. “All the fish are measured and returned to the water as quickly as possible”, says Johan Agenbag, the President of the Namibia Federation of Sea Anglers. It is no longer allowed to use gaffs because fish were injured or even killed with this type of fish hook.

Following the national championships and club championships, the national teams are selected: Seniors, Ladies, Masters (members are 50 to 60 years old) and Grand Masters (60 years and older), Junior U21 and Junior U16. Once a year the teams compete with the South African national team, the Proteas. Every third year these international championships are held in South Africa. This was decided after vehicles were banned from beaches in South Africa. International competitions are also three-day events; each day participants move to a different 10 km section of beach to cast their bait.

Surf angling
Surf anglers catch a wide variety of fish species from the beach. Here, one of the anglers brings in a large Madagascar meagre. During competitions and marking, the fish must be measured and returned into the ocean in the shortest possible time.

Among the surf fish, which sports and leisure anglers can expect to hook as a matter of course, are the silver and dusky Kob (Argyrosomus inodorus and coronus), West Coast seabream (Lithognathus aureti), white seabream (Diplodus sargus), galjoen (Coracinus capensis) and white barbel (Galeichthys feliceps). Sharks such as the broadnose sevengill shark or cowshark (Notorynchus cepedianus), the smooth-hound shark (Mustelus mustelus) and the spotted gully shark (Triakis megalopterus) as well as the lesser guitarfish or sandshark (Rhinobatos annulatus) and the common eagle ray (Myliobatis aquila) may also be caught and measured on a catch-and-release basis.

Author: Dirk Heinrich


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