Carp fishing in South Africa has entertained anglers for the past three centuries. With carp present in dams all around the country, there are plenty opportunities for traveling fishermen to land on of these monster fish, which weigh up to 28kgs.

Did you know?

At Klaserie Dam in Mpumalanga, there have been more than 60 recorded landings of carp weighing above 20kgs.

Although carp are considered an "invader species" in South Africa, and although they may not be the best tasting fish, they remain a favourite of local fishermen for whom size counts.

Originally from Asia, carp were brought to Europe as food for monks, who were busy inventing nice things like beer and champagne at the time. The monks of Europe were genetic engineers, even breeding a specific carp (the mirror carp) with fewer scales – much easier to dress for the monastic dinner table.

In South African carp fishing circles, practise of catch and release is generally followed, except in areas where carp are having a negative effect on the growth of other species, such as trout and bass.

Every province in the country has its own little ‘secret spots' for the best carp fishing. For instance, there's a little place called Boomhuis (Tree House) outside the Little Karoo town of Bonnievale on the Breede River in the Western Cape. A comfortable dwelling has been built into a massive old gum tree, complete with braai (barbecue) platforms that overlook the river. At night, they say, the carp own this section of the river. The big carp, that is. There's fishing all night, lots of action up and down the Breede. And then, come morning, all is quiet again. As if the night of the big carp had never happened.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Midmar Dam, Albert Falls and Inanda Dam are all well-know for the size of the carp that are regularly landed.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

South African Carp Society
Tel: +27 (0)82 412 8031

Die Boomhuis
Tel: +27 (0)24 6162237 (Francois de Wet)

What will it cost

General admission to dams where you can fish ranges from R30 to R110 per day.

What to pack

Polarised sunglasses will help you spot those elusive carp in the water.

Where to stay

Book into one of the chalets at Midmar Dam or Albert Falls in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. To fish at Die Boomhuis, call Francois de Wet (see contact details) to ask. It's on a farm and facilities are rustic.

Best buys

Wherever you find a fishing shop selling carp equipment, you are very likely to find a special offer, with some excellent local advice thrown in.

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