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How to catch Galjoen - Galjoen fishing tips


Galjoen, Damba, Blackfish, Black Bream (Afr: Galjoen - Deutsch: Galjoen)


Dichistius Capensis


The galjoen has a fine array of teeth inside its small mouth, including bands of incisors and a set of crushing teeth in the gullet. It is covered with tough scales providing protection from rocks while feeding in strong surf. The family Dichistiidae (formerly Corancinidae) comprises two species restricted to southern Africa and Madagascar. I rocky areas galjoen are usually dark grey to black, sometimes mottled or with 7 to 9 faint black bars. However, they change to silvery within a few seconds of moving over white sand. Fleshy lips surround a small terminal mouth and the jaws have a row of curved incisors and smaller teeth set further back. They have crushing teeth in the gullet. The galjoen is South Africa’s national fish and attains 80cm or 6.5kg (14+ years).


Southeast Atlantic: southern Angola to Natal, South Africa. Galjoen are found from Namibia to Durban over shallow rocks and sandy areas with strong wave action.


Subtropical 13°S to 28°S - reef-associated; marine. Normally found inshore amongst reefs, rocks and over sand in shallow coastal waters. Breeding occurs in deeper water.


Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years.
Females mature at 34cm (6 years) and males at 31 cm.


Large mirations have been documented between Namibia and the Cape but is semi resident for part of the year.


Feeds on mollusks, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. Mussels, barnacles, redbait, seaweed and similar organisms associated with marine rocks. Galjoen feed in reefs with a little sand near-by. Galjoen feed on mussels, gastropods, barnacles, amphipods, isopods, redbait, polychaete worms and algae.


Avg 2kg / published 6.5kg / SA Record (attains 80cm or 6.5kg in 14+ years).


80cm TL (avg. 35cm)


Up to 10m


All year (see Best time to catch Galjoen).


8-10 ft quick tapering rod.


6-8 kg breaking strain nylon with a small ball sinker (110-140 gram).


No 1/0 or 2/0 (light tackle).


White and black mussels, musselworm, ripe redbait, small crabs, prawns and crayfish.


Galjoen are found in kelp beds, over shallow rocks and sandy areas in turbulent waters at a depth of less than one metre and when the waves break some distance offshore and where the white foamy water rushes in. Avoid fishing for Galjoen on days when the water is calm and clear. They usually remain in certain areas for long periods which make them vulnerable to over fishing. Mainly caught by shore angling where the water is turbulent and strong amongst submerged rocks and reefs.


Abundant in winter. Galjoen is most active at high tide.


The best place to fish is always where the wind is blowing into your face - it's harder to cast but the fish come closer anyway.


The biggest spring tides falling twice each monthly cycle always provide the best of the action. Try to fish hardest on the tides rising towards the peak spring.


Use a fixed sinker line (not a running trace so that if / when you hook a fish it can pull the sinker out of the reef) of a lighter breaking strain than the rest of your tackle. That way you only loose a sinker. Cast as close to a reef or rocky outcrop as possible.


In rough waters the bite will be a violent grab whereas in calmer clear waters the Galjoen seems to be toying with the bait. Allow sufficient slack on the line to allow the fish to bite without feeling any resistance. Give the Galjoen sufficient time to bite firmly, let your rod tip down and be patient before striking. The Galjoen is a strong fighter. Take your time and reel it in gently or else you are likely to tear the hook out of it's mouth. Use the swell to reel the fish in and do not lift it out of the water. Once landed cut through its gills to ensure that the fish bleeds as this will improves the flavour.


Becoming scarce because of over fishing. No trade is allowed in this species. This endemic southern African fish is a powerful swimmer that is much sought after by anglers because of its strong fighting when hooked. It bites fiercely and fights gamely to the end. Galjoen is a popular table fish, although the taste of the white, black-veined flesh is too rich for some. In winter they are very much fatter and more sought after. This is a popular eating fish with an acquired taste. You either love galjoen or you hate it!



Bag Limit:

8 pphpd (total combined bag limit of Kabeljou, Steenbras, Dassie, or Galjoen is 10 fish).

Min size :

30 cm TL (heavy fines for undersized fish)

Max size :

No restrictions.


Fish must be transported in its whole state. You may however gut the fish. You may transport no more than 30 fish (Kabeljou, Steenbras, Dassie, or Galjoen of which you may only have 8 Galjoen and no more than 10 of a species).

Closed season:

None (Paalties may be closed in the near future).

Rod & Hooks:

No more than one fishing rod or hand line per permit holder and no more than 2 hooks per line. See the regulations on line fishing at the Ministry of Fisheries.

Spear fishing:

By snorkel only.


Fishing permits cost N$14 for one month or N$168 per year.


N$ 50 for each galjoen above bag limit (more than 8).
N$100 for each galjoen under size (less than 30cm).
N$300 for fishing with more than one rod and/or hand line and/or 2 hooks.
N$300 for not holding or not being able to produce a fishing permit within 21 days.
Refer to the Government Gazette document for latest Marine Regulations (pdf).
NOTE: pphpd = per permit holder per day.

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Galjoen Fishing - Galjoen Hengel - Galjoen Angeln