Where to search for Galjoen

Galjoen flourish in lively, foamy water which occurs frequently during the winter when moderate to strong westerly and south-westerly  winds prevail.  Galjoen will then seek bits of bait in gullies and close to reefs.  When fishing from the beach, you must look out for scoured holes where rocks previously covered with sand are now exposed, providing excellent feeding for galjoen.  Bunches of black mussel washed out on the beach may be an indication of freshly scoured holes.



The best bait to use for galjoen is redbait.  Although freshly cut redbait may be used, galjoen show a predilection for matured redbait.  Most anglers obtain their redbait from the rocks at spring low tide, using a sharp knife to cut the pods.  The red, fleshy inner part (the actual bait) may then be collected.

Redbait may be matured in the following ways

• Put freshly cut redbait in a wicker basket and hang it in a cool place for three days.

• Put fresh redbait in a bucket, cover with sea water and leave it in a cool place for three days. Before using this redbait or before freezing is, get rid of the excess fluid.

• Many pods washed out on the shore during periods of rough seas are already in a state of decomposition as galjoen prefer them.


• Musselworms are excellent bait, especially on those days when the sea is calm and clear. On this bait you stand a good chance of catching some bronze bream and belman too.

• White mussels are good bait, especially when you fish from the beach, and you can expect to catch a greater variety of fish.

• Bloodworm is a prime bait when fishing on a sandy bottom, but nowadays it is not easily obtainable.

• Giant galjoen are often caught on sand prawns by anglers who fish for white steenbras.  A white mussel combined with a sand prawn or two is very good bait indeed.



A medium quick-tapering glassfibre or graphite rod with a matching reel will do. Nylon line with a breaking strain of 12 – 16kg is sufficient. It’s very important that the sinker trace should be of lower breaking strain than the main line, this ensures that a stuck sinker will break off and you can retrieve your hook trace.  Also, the hook trace must be of just less breaking strain than the main line. Depending on sea conditions, sinkers of 3 – 5 ounces will do.  Hooks of 2/0 and 3/0 with barbs on the shank are ideal, these are commonly known as bait holder hooks.


How to catch the Galjoen

Look out for spots where the sea is lively and foamy.  Sometimes when the fish are scarce, you have to try many different spots.  Also try different kinds of bait.  In calm water fish often hesitate to take the bait properly, in which case you must use a longer hook trace.  Vary your casting distance.  At high tide galjoen venture close to the shore.


Baiting Up

When baiting, take a piece of redbait, turn it inside out, and thread it onto the hook to present a straight bait, just a bit longer than the hook. When securing the bait on the hook, thin elastic or cotton thread must be used sparingly.  Tie just the back part of the bait. Many experienced anglers prefer not to use thread at all.

In lively, foamy water the galjoen usually take the bait properly.  Sometimes it will grab the bait quickly and pull the rod down. At other times you will feel a few bumps, in which case you must wait until the fish pulls the rod down. While waiting for a pick-up, leave a slack in your main line so that the galjoen won’t immediately feel any resistance when picking up the bait.  Play the galjoen carefully and don’t force it, as the hook may easily tear out of the jaw if the galjoen is in good condition. Unless unavoidable don’t lift a galjoen out of the water, rather play it out with the aid of the waves.