South Africa is a country renowned for its sweeping coastlines and outdoor activities, with tourists from around the globe descending each year to lap up experiences that will live with them forever.
What many might not know is that the country is also considered one of the world’s premier bass fishing destinations, particularly since each province offers its own unique fishing opportunities.
Depending on where you choose to fish, you will find an abundance of either Northern Strain Largemouth Bass, Florida strain Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass or Spotted Bass. Each type represents a different challenge, with the type of lure used, for example, proving as important as an angler’s skill levels.
However, expertise is not a prerequisite for bass fishing, and not only because the “chase’ is often more fun than landing a monster. Adventuring to some of South Africa’s best fishing locations is rewarding in itself, as often the journey allows you to cover some excellent 4×4 terrain and make a weekend of it.
Here are some of the country’s best bass fishing destinations.
Ebenezer Dam: Found high in the Magoebaskloof, this dam contains both Large and Smallmouth Bass, making it an ideal fishing destination. Bass as large as 4kg have been caught here, so there is every chance for some bragging rights on the lake.
Nandoni Dam: A relatively new dam, having only opened in 2004, it nevertheless attracts scores of anglers in search of Largemouth Bass. Its location only 50km from the Kruger Park means that there is also ample opportunity to get in some quality game viewing before or after fishing.
Roodekopjes Dam: Only about 70km from Pretoria, the dam has become such a favourite among anglers that it now features on SA Bass Cast for Cash tournament itinerary. Fish can weigh in at 4kg, although it is more likely that you will haul in 1kg Largemouths.
Hartbeesport Dam: One of the more famous dams in South Africa, it remains a firm favourite of Gautengers looking to escape the big cities on weekends. For this reason there can be a bit of competition with watersports lovers, but fishing is still good. Largemouth Bass are the order of the day at Hartbeesport.
Albert Falls: There is not much doubt that this ranks among the country’s top destinations for bass. Fish as large as 5kg or more are not at all uncommon, and the fact that it is close to Durban and Pietermaritzburg means that it is not far to trek to get there for those living in the province’s big centres. Both Florida and Northern strains are a feature.
Inanda Dam: A mere 30km from Durban, the dam has seen monsters of 6kg and this is a mecca for locals. It is also is home to the Inanda Bass Classic each year.
Impofu Dam: Largemouth and Smallmouth specimens lurk in these waters, which are surrounded by abundant brush and Protea bushes. Its location to the nearby holiday towns of Jeffreys Bay and St Francis Bay means that it is only a short drive to stock up on lures and bait.
Clanwilliam: A paradise for Smallmouth Bass anglers, there are plenty of coves in which to fish. The scenery is nothing short of spectacular given the surrounding Cedarberg mountains, so a visit to Clanwilliam is also a great day out for the family. Not surprisingly, it also hosts a number of annual bass fishing competitions.
Breede River: Its location running through the Cape wine lands is selling point enough, but anglers are also bound to have success as Smallmouth Bass abound in all parts of the river. There is a small drawback as much of the rivers occurs on private property, but public access points are available.