These species must be released for points, we don’t measure to avoid unnecessary handling, as such even juvenile fish qualify.
Credit to Two Oceans Aquarium for the great info and pics (Photographers Geoff Spiby and Dagny Warmerdam)
Leervis / Garrick
The garrick is an elongated predator, with a sleek silver-green body and dark fins. Its most notable identifying feature is the downward curving lateral line along its sides. This is straight in most fish.
The garrick hunts other fish along our Atlantic coast, but it also follows the annual sardine migration up the coast towards KwaZulu-Natal.
Can grow up to 1,5m in length.
Spawns in warm KwaZulu-Natal waters, but matures in estuaries around the Cape.
Black muscle cracker
Black musselcrackers have powerful jaws with a set of impressive teeth – four cone-shaped teeth in the upper jaw and six in the lower jaw, as well as two rows of rounded molars in each jaw.
They use these teeth to crush starfish, sea urchins, crabs and chitons.
The Afrikaans name, “poenskop”, means “skinhead”.
Spotted grunter are wide-spread from Cape Point, along the eastern coast of Africa as well as Madagascar.
They feed on sand prawns, worms and crustaceans, which they uncover by squirting a jet of water from their mouths, to clear the mud.
Spotted grunter are often seen with their tails waving out the water on shallow banks, as they feed head down.
They produce a grunting sound in their throats by grinding their strong jaws together.
They can grow up to 80cm in length and live for 15 years.
White steenbras (Lithognathus lithognathus), also sometimes known as pignose grunters, occur in both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
They grow up to a length of about one metre and can weigh up to as much as 30 kilograms, making them popular targets for anglers.
According to A Guide to The Common Sea Fishes of Southern Africa by Rudy van der Elst (Struik, 1985), white steenbras prefer shallower waters to deeper seas, and are also often found in estuaries – they can survive for extended periods in almost-fresh water.
They have pointed noses and tiny teeth at the front of their jaws, with larger molars towards the back. Their diets are varied, and can include molluscs, crabs, shrimps and worms.
In their natural habitat, these fish are fairly solitary, though at certain times of year, there can be large runs of them, for example up the east coast of South Africa.
These fish mature at about five years, and are commonly bisexual.
Red steenbras is one of the most popular species amongst anglers because it can be caught on just about any bait and puts up a good fight.
A few decades ago these fish were plentiful, but due to their popularity, they have declined in numbers.
Although red steenbras is excellent to eat, its liver contains a toxic level of Vitamin A.
Also known as Copper Steenbras
Red stumpnose are endemic off South Africa and occur from False Bay to Margate, although they are more common south of East London.
They have steep foreheads which, in males, become increasingly pronounced and bulbous as they get older.
They have strong molars which they use to crush prey such as redbait, urchins, octopuses and crabs.
Also known as Miss Lucy
Romans are an endemic species found on rocky reefs off southern Africa at depths from 5m to 100m.
Like other sea breams, the roman has the ability to change sex, in this instance from female to male.
The male attracts a harem of females, with which he will mate.
A large male is very aggressive and will defend his harem and territory against all intruders, including competitive males.
His frantic protective behaviour attracts the attention of predators, which increases his risk of being eaten.
Should this happen, the dominant female will immediately take over his role. Sex change takes a little longer.