We covet steenbras at the best of times, but we’ve recently been introduced to their butterball cousins from Namibia (aka Nambia). Instant fish crush. Just add water. Our Wish List Fish from The Mission Issue 08 was the Namibian steenbras.
West Coast steenbras, aka West Coast sea bream, aka Lithognathus aureti (if you live in Ancient Rome). A relative of the white steenbras (Lithognathus lithognathus) common in South Africa, these chunky buggers feed on benthic invertebrates, including sand mussels, polychaete worms and crabs. On an exploratory trip to Namibia, Richard Wale managed to sightfish to, and catch, a couple. He weighs in on what it took.
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“Unlike white steenbras that frequent estuaries, you will find Namibian or West Coast steenbras exclusively in the surf.”
Found historically in shallow water (max depth 10m) from Angola to Cape Town, these fish are rare outside of Namibian waters. Unlike white steenbras that frequent estuaries, you will find Namibian or West Coast steenbras exclusively in the surf. Wale targeted them at Meob Bay, a mid-length dune drive south of Walvis Bay. He says, “Look for depressions and gullies formed between sandbanks that run parallel to the beach. Try and find the tidal gaps. Just before low tide, on low tide and just after low tide. As soon as the water pushes higher, the waves push over the sandbank and you get bigger waves and more turbulence. The key is to find water where you can keep the fly in the zone.”
With windy conditions, a fast sinking line with a shooting head is essential. Wale says, “It’s always blowing there and quite often it’s the south-wester which is in your face. You run down as the waves recede, bomb out a cast and then try to manage your line between the next wave and the long shore drift. Rod choice – from 9-weight to 12-weight depending on how harsh the conditions are. For fly choice – I caught on the ‘Klein Rooi Jakkals’ (the Small Red Jackal), named after the scavenger that pops up along the Namibian coastline. The fly resembles a pudding worm – a red worm from the polychaete family similar to a wonder worm or moonshine worm. For a step-by-step on the ‘Klein Rooi Jakkals’ click here.
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