South African Fish Species: The Blacktail (Dassie, White Bream)

Interesting Information On The South African Blacktail

South Africa's Blacktail is a very commonly caught fish by many South African anglers and fisherman. Blacktail is the most well know name by which this fish goes by, however South African's also refer to it as the Dassie and world wide it is also known as the White Bream. It's scientific name is Diplodus sargus. See photos of the Blacktail here...

The Blacktail was first recorded in South African's ocean waters in 1844. It is often caught by fishermen fishing from the rocks. The adults of this species can reach up to 45 centimeters in length and a weight of over 3 kilograms. The Blacktail is very difficult to misidentify as the black spot just before the tail starts is a sure give away that the fish you have caught is in fact the Dassie!

The Blacktail is primarily an inshore fish species and favours turbulent and rough seas. They love rocky areas and are often caught around rocks. Blacktail often occur in small shoals and they can tolerate all sorts of variable temperatures. Contrary to popular belief Blacktail are found in estuaries as I have caught many of them in different estuarine locations. Blacktail are omnivorous feeding fish and all sorts of food items are consumed. Juvenile White Bream often inhabit rock pools and tidal pools. Sharks and other game fish feed on Blacktail when the opportunity presents itself.

South African Blacktail Common Eastern Cape fish Eastern Cape Blacktail 500 grams caught on sardine

How To Catch The South African Blacktail (Dassie)

The Blacktail may be caught in many different ways with many different fishing techniques. Bait fishing/Rock and surf angling are the best ways to capture this lively fish. Prawn, Red Bait, Sardine (Pilchard) and worms are your best bait option to catch the Dassie. Squid (Chokka) also works but it is not as effective. Blacktail are found around rock areas and in very rough water. White water around rocks is the best place to cast your bait.

South African Blacktail (Dassie) aka White BreamDassie Or Blacktail Common South African FishSmall Juvenile Blacktail (Dassie, White Bream)

Dropshot also works quite well for Blacktail and any of the artificial worms produces a lot of fish. The Camo Worm is highly recommended... You can't go wrong using a Camo Worm, Bristle Worm or any plastic worm imitations for Blacktail!

South African Blacktail (Dassie) Caught on the rocks
Gareth Roocroft With a 28cm Blacktail
Steven Victor With His Blacktail

Other Blacktail General Information

Common Name: Blacktail...

Other Names: Dassie...

Scientific Name: Diplodus capensis...

Length: 35 - 40 CM...

Weight: Average weight... 1.5 - 2 kg...

Habitat: Blacktails can be found in rock pools and close inshore. They are normally caught off the rocks as they will be swimming around sheltered areas...

Distribution: Found throughout South Africa...

Bait: Blacktails are not fussy when it comes to bait. They will take a large range of baits such sardine (pilchards, red eye), worms, squid, mussels, crabs etc...

Fishing Strategy: Blacktails do not require any special fishing strategy. Light tackle with a small size hook will work best. A large hook will cause the angler to lose the fish.

Eating Quality: Good, but only with larger specimens.

Blacktail caught by Gareth Roocroft23cm Blacktail caught by Gareth Roocroft at Bats Cave23cm Blacktail caught in Eastern Cape