Planning your fishing trip

Before you go out to tackle a Dam, make use of the Internet to gather information on the waters you want to fish. Make sure you gather enough information that you can use to prepare your gear and bait correctly. What INFORMATION may you ask? Well let’s start at the beginning.

What Fish Species are in the Dam? It would be totally pointless taking a fly fishing rod to a dam like Bloemhof expecting to catch Trout!

Also have a look on a site called “dam contours” at the dam you are targeting. Find the area on the map you will be fishing from and look at depth. If it is shallow then it might pay to take along your canoe or Bait boat in order to get to deeper water.

Social Media Pages on Fishing Groups can also be of help. Joining a group will give you wealth of info at the click of a button. Ask the Anglers who fish those dams for tips on where to sit, depth, distance, bait and combos that work best. Please also go and check the website of the resort you will be fishing to see if it is a Catch and Release only Venue. Check for Permits and or Licenses needed or required and make sure you get them.

The right questions to ask are as follows:
1. Depth:
You would like to know if you can cast the distance required to get to the fish or if you need a bait boat or canoe.
2. Distance:
Again this would be a good guide in making the choice of canoe or bait boat.
3. Bait:
Certain dams fish are rather fussy when it comes to what they want to eat. If there are many Bloekhom / Blue gum trees then it is safe to say that the fish will go for that kind of bait.
4. Weather conditions:
High or low Pressure systems can effect fishing conditions for better or worse.
5. Rig choice:
Very Muddy or thick silt dames will require a rig with much longer hook links. This problem can also determine what bait type you put on the Hook (Floatie or normal Deegie backing)
6. Species of fish:
Your choice of baits to target the different species Like Earth worms to target Barbel/Catfish or Yellow fish or Floaties and Deegies to target Carp, Or even plain Deegies for muddies. One might need a Float rig or Z-rig to target Tipula/Kurper.
7. Boats allowed:
If you will be near a boat launch in which case you pack more beers as you won’t catch fish. Just kidding! But in that case pack more beers anyway. Boats ridding up and down will make a huge difference to catching fish.
8. Swimming allowed:
This could be helpful information as some dams have Crocodiles. Others might have parasites or leeches. Please check with resort management or read the rules and regulations. Be very cautious when going into water bare feet. Broken glass, Sharp Rocks and even parasites could cause you harm.
9. Water condition:
Warm or cold water will also making the difference in casting shallow or going deeper. It will also have a impact on flavours and dips or combinations to use on the day.

Going prepared will increase your chances of catching 10 fold. So make sure you get as much information as possible. Also remember when looking at a dam and the species of fish, there will be at least more than one specie in that Dam. It is not to say that you prepare to catch carp that you will catch carp that weekend! High and Low pressure systems effect some fish species differently to others. So you might be at the water with a low pressure System that usually chases the Carp to deeper waters but brings Bass closer to shallow waters. In that case you want to at least have a Bass rod handy. For now we will concentrate on Carp as they are the easiest species to target and one of the most popular amongst beginner anglers.

Next – what fishing gear will you need?

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