BIG BASS

The definitive South African trophy Bass fishing site

 

WRIGGLESWADE DAM

About the Dam

Wriggleswade is the premier Largemouth Bass water in the Eastern Cape situated some 75km inland from East London on the Stutterheim Road.

Wriggleswade Dam is built on the Kubusi River, near Stutterheim (see sketch map for more detailed location). The dam forms part of the Amatola regional water supply scheme and supplies water from the Kubusie River catchment into any one of the Gonubie, Nahoon and Yellowwoods (which flows into the Buffalo) Rivers. The Nahoon Dam and Laing Dam can be augmented with water from Wriggleswade as the need arises. These dams deliver water to the East London and Berlin areas.

Construction of the dam commenced in 1989. It was completed in 1991 and first overflowed in 1996.

This is a deep, narrow dam (surface area of about 94Ha) with nearly 65km of shoreline winding back into the hills in a series of S-bends with large bays branching off the main dam. In relation to "structure", Wriggleswade has deep channels, flooded farmland, standing timber, weedbeds, lily pads, reeds and submerged terraces stair-stepping down (the land was previously used to grow pineapples)!

The water is clear but stained a slate colour. Water levels are constant and the dam is usually full. Wriggleswade was completed always had the Northern strain Largemouth Bass. The Florida strain was stocked around 1995 and Bass of over 4kg have been caught to date (2002). Even larger specimens must be present. Apart from Bass, Wriggleswade contains Bluegill, Minnows, Eel, Smallmouth Yellowfish and Carp. Please remove all Carp you may catch at Wriggleswade and encourage others to do the same. Release all Bass and Yellowfish unharmed.

Annual stocking of large numbers of 15 - 25cm hatchery-bred rainbow trout would also be excellent for the Bass. Hopefully someone will do something in this regard!

 

Licenses and access

You will need an Eastern Cape Provincial freshwater angling license.

There are camping and ablution facilities at the dam and a super club house (the Stutterheim Aquatic Club) with a braai and bar facility. A slipway (launching ramp) and jetty are available. There is no need to book in advance, a caretaker will do the rounds in the morning to collect the required fee (R15) from you.

Further details can be obtained by contacting Basil Ristow (tel. (043) 743-602 or 083-284-1741) or Colin Scholes (tel. (043) 683-2981). Visit Colin at his tackleshop Colin's Fishing Hideaway (18 Long Street, Stutterheim). 

 

How to get there

Wriggleswade is situated some 75km inland from East London on the Stutterheim Road.

If travelling from the North, take the N6 through Queenstown and Stutterheim. 14 km from Stutterheim, the dam is signposted (to the left). If travelling from East London (or the coastal routes from Cape Town and Durban), take the Macleantown / Queenstown turnoff at the start of the N6 in Beacon Bay. Approximately 55 km from Beacon Bay, the dam is signposted (to the right).

The dam is situated a further 12 km down a good gravel road.  A left turn, (at the large Water Affairs sign) is required approximately 2 km from the Stutterheim Aquatic Club. The gravel road from the main road to the dam can be very bumpy and motorists are cautioned to travel slowly along this stretch as pot holes appear soon after rain.

See sketch map for more detailed directions.

 

Map of the Dam

Click here for a detailed online contour map of the dam.

 

Accommodation

I can recommend The Manderson in Stutterheim.

For further info on where to stay, click here.

 

Other useful Wriggleswade links

http://www.saangling.com/SAangling/Waters/wriggels.htm

 

Wriggleswade photos and catches

Rod Walmsley with a 3,925kg (8.635lb) late February 2002 Bass from Wriggleswade Dam.

 

Mark Ristow with a 2,88kg (6.34lb) Wriggleswade Bass caught while testing Kick'n Bass. Mark is the owner of Bonza Bay Fishing Tackle in East London and a Kick'n Bass stockist - to order, phone 083-286-2960).

 

Alton Arthur with a 3,701kg (8.142lb) trophy.

 

Clint Lentz with the March 2002 Amatola Bass Classic (Wriggleswade Dam) winning Bass of 3,92kg (8.624lb). Good fish are coming out of Wriggleswade thanks to Florida strain fingerlings stocked some years ago. The second place Bass in the above competition weighed 3,86kg.

 


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