In South Africa, Bass are a non-native, invasive species and there is literally no management in place to protect and improve these fishery resources.
Fewer than 50 largemouth bass were moved to South Africa in the early 1900’s and from those few fish, bass have now spread into nearly all the reservoirs in the country where Bass fishing has become a popular sport.
As a country renowned for its stunning coastlines and range of outdoor activities, with tourists from around the globe descending each year to lap up experiences that will live with them forever, people don’t often associate South Africa as being one of the world’s premier bass fishing destinations.
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 representing a different challenge for the sporting enthusiast who likely enjoys the fun of the ‘chase’ as much as landing one of the monsters below the surface.
Getting to some of these incredible fishing locations in South Africa is an adventure in its own right, as you will likely cover some excellent terrain of the 4×4 variety!
Here are our top 9 destinations for snagging yourself one of these huge bass:
The Ebenezer Dam - Limpopo
Found high in the Magoebaskloof and built on the Great Letaba River you will find this dam containing both Large and Smallmouth Bass. Known by locals as ‘The Mountain Republic’ the area is lush with forests and misty peaks in the reaches of the northern Drakensberg.
It’s an ideal fishing destination where you may find Bass as large as 4kg. It’s a lake that is also great for camping, boating, birding and picnics.
Chilly, early morning mists tend to cover the dam and lend a mysterious and eery atmosphere to the first part of the day.
Steep banks of the Ebenezer make it more than a little difficult to fish from for even the more experienced of anglers, yet boat fishing will help you yield largemouth and smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, carp, kurper and barbel. It’s a beautiful destination one of the most stunning in the country and there is much to do here to keep active. provide a plethora of hiking & mountain biking trails, and the scenery familiar to that of the Scottish Highlands in the UK!
Nandoni Dam (meaning “the iron smelting ovens”) in Venda language previously known as the Mutoti Dam, is an earth-fill/concrete type dam in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Located on the Luvuvhu river near the villages of ha-Mutoti and ha-Budeli, just few kilometers from Thohoyandou in the district of Vhembe.
The Luvuvhu river follows a course along the Southern edge of the Zouthpansberg and eventually joins the Limpopo river in the far northern corner of the Kruger National Park on the border between South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
The dam is home to a healthy population of Big Largemouth Bass and makes for some awesome fishing, and game viewing is a possibility before and after!
About 70km from Pretoria, this dam has become a favourite among anglers and 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.
The dam is located on the Crocodile river which flows out of Hartbeespoort dam and was originally built in 1986. It is more than 1500 hectares in size and its deepest point is 25 meters.
The dam has a few very decent angling banks and resorts to choose from, with the most popular being the old Northern Transvaal grounds , now known as Roodekoppies Hengeloord.
Not only is this dam home to some amazing common and mirror carp but it is also the home of some pretty big crocodiles so best to keep a keen eye for those!
Baiting tactics at Roodekoppies is normally straight forward and once you can get the schools of fish onto your feeding area you can be in for some potentially non-stop action, that can last for some days. Some of the most incredible African sunsets will be experienced here so be sure to have your camera tucked somewhere dry.
This is one of the more famous dams in South Africa, and remains a firm favourite of Gautengers, being just 30km outside of Gauteng, looking to escape city life on the weekends. Thousands of anglers and water sport enthusiasts frequent the area every year, as there is so much to do in the vast waters. Fishing is excellent and Largemouth Bass are generally the order of the day. But you can also find popular species such as Common Carp and North African Catfish.
Its known to be a great Carp Fishing destination and large schools of fish of up to 22kg (and stories of even bigger fish) can be found.
The dam covers about 20 square km in size and its deepest point is 45 meters deep with an average depth of 9 meters. Originally built and completed in 1923, it has quite a lot of angling banks to choose from all around the dam and plenty of private angling spots.
Albert Falls in KZN
Albert Falls Dam is a dam in the Umgeni River, and 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 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 of the species can be found here, and Albert Falls is known for its big fish despite being held less popular than Inanda and Midmar, it has produced more fish over 5kg than any other dam in KZN consistently, and the record for the largest bass caught here is currently 5.642kg and not only that but Albert Falls Dam also holds a world record for the largest bass catch in one day, six bass totalling 24kg
There’s plenty of room here for everyone on the water and you can also fish overnight.
A mere 30km from Durban, this dam has seen monsters of up to 6kg and is a mecca for locals. It is also is home to the Inanda Bass Classic each year. Situated in the warm coastal belt it offers premier fishing for all species of fish year round and it is this very feature that has created the Inanda Bass Classic, held annually during the winter.
So far Inanda Dam’s official bass record is 5.23kg – but unofficially, it’s said that a bass of did make it to the shores for one lucky angler! Whatever your luck, choosing one of the many bays along Inanda Dam’s is part of the appealing nature of the area. It’s an extensive shoreline and settling in to fish here in the warm coastal belt at any time of the year is pure joy. Large specimens of tilapia (blue and red-chest), barbel (catfish) and scalies (yellowfish) are often spotted in the Spring and Autumn, and some of the intrepid will attempt the challenge of catching them on a fly.
Largemouth and Smallmouth specimens lurk in these waters, as well as large Common Carp, Kurper, Barbel & Spotted Bass. The dam is surrounded by incredible native 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 and there is plenty more to offer in the area.
Western Cape - Clanwilliam Dam
This is a paradise for Smallmouth Bass anglers, with plenty of coves in which to fish. The scenery is spectacular given the surrounding Cedarberg mountains, and a visit to Clanwilliam is a great day out for the family. It’s also home to the hosting of a number of annual bass fishing competitions to get everyone excited.
This dam is possibly the prime Smallmouth Bass fishing venue in South Africa offering 13 miles of opportunity to get that perfect catch. This varied beautiful terrain offers boulders, drop offs, gravel and reed beds and places that support different styles of fishing and all manner of species living within.
If running through the Cape wine lands isn’t selling point enough ,the success for anglers to find Smallmouth Bass is abound in all parts of the river. It may be private, meaning you need to locate the public access points, but this just means the river is all the more pristine and protected.
You’ll be afforded excellent angling for carp, smallmouth bass, catfish and even some whitefish.
The Breede River originates high in the Waaihoek Mountains, ending at Witsand. In winter it transforms into a swirling mass of water from the rain-fed streams and melting snow. This River is truly great for fishing and is home to 10 fish species, of which the indigenous White Fish is under threat by invading fish species.
Many returning fishermen have described this location “The best Bass fishing spot ever”. These perennial mountain streams are home to threatened fish species, mostly small fish species such as redfin minnows Pseudobarbus, Cape Galaxias Galaxias Zebratus and Cape Kurper Sandelia Capensis so you can expect to operate with a catch and release ethos.