BIG BASS

The definitive South African trophy Bass fishing site

 

THEEWATERSKLOOF DAM

This is probably my favourite Bass fishing venue in the Western Cape. There are many reasons (first 3kg plus Bass; numbers of Bass; structure and scenic beauty). Another positive factor is that you will often be the only Basser on the water or on the shoreline! A 4kg Northern Bass is not impossible at this venue!

The only possible negative factors I can think of is that I do not live within easy reach (yet!) and that there are no Florida strain Bass (yet!) in Theewaterskloof!

Just below, you can get a good idea of the size of the Theewaterskloof Northern strain Bass. Yours truly sharing the photos with the Bass!

Both pics are of the same Bass (see left pectoral fin) which was released alive, but not weighed. The obvious change in weather? The photos were taken by my Dad one after the other with only a change of directon and angle - a cold front was just passing through with intermittent rain (note the jersey) ... For those of you who know how changeable Cape weather can be, this would not seem at all strange! The Bass was caught from the shoreline on a white-headed chartreuse-skirted spinnerbait with a nickle silver Indiana blade and a black worm trailer on a Fenwick Flippin Stick and an ABU baitcaster. To get some idea of the size of the Bass (caught one December in the early eighties), I am 1,83m tall and weighed about 100kg at the time.

About the Dam

Theewaterskloof is the premier Largemouth Bass water in the Western Cape situated in the mountains between Franschoek and Villiersdorp. This Dam is a "structure" angler's dream come true - flooded farmland, standing timber, stumpfields, weeds, bushes, buildings, ruins, roads, tracks river channels, rip-rap and rockpiles! No-one could ask for more, name it and you could find it somewhere in Theewaters! The sheer surface area of the water is massive (7th largest dam in South Africa; surface area of 5 100Ha) and, as the water is used for irrigation, water levels can fluctuate rather drastically. Beware of the wind at this dam! The notorious South-easter can whip things up rather quickly - many Bassboats have been swamped in this Dam. Here one really needs a boat with proven rough water capability as things can turn nasty. At times when fishing from the shoreline, you could have waves literally crashing at your feet! You really need a boat to get the most from this water, but do not despair - if you can find points and deep dropoffs, fishing the shoreline will produce. All my Theewaterskloof Bass were taken whilst fishing from the bank.

The water is clear but stained a reddish-brown colour similar to Rooibos tea.

Just about any lure will produce. My favourites for this dam are spinnerbaits and Carolina-rigged plastics. I can just about guarantee you that you will eventually loose your entire supply of crankbaits should you try to fish them, especially from the bank. Expect big fish (2 - 3kg) and tackle up accordingly. A former fishing buddy, Chris Barnett, who now lives in New Zealand once showed me just what a Zara Spook could do at Theewaters!

Apart from Largemouth Bass and bluegill, the dam has rainbow and tiger trout as well as catfish (barbel), Cape witvis and blue kurper (mossambicus). Carp have also been noticed in the dam recently - hopefully they will not get out of hand thanks to predation by Bass which were well-established in all parts of the Dam before the arrival of the carp. Please remove all carp and catfish you may catch at Theewaterskloof and encourage others to do the same.

The Bass feed on small fish (and sometimes not so small!) of all the above species as well as crabs.

There have been unconfirmed rumours about limited numbers of Florida strain Bass in Theewaterskloof. We will know this is true when we hear of the first 5kg Bass taken at Theewaters! May God bless whoever introduces the Florida strain into Theewaterskloof! Annual stocking of large numbers of 15 - 25cm hatchery-bred rainbow trout would also be excellent for the Bass.

Licenses and access

You will need a Western Cape Provincial freshwater angling license. If you want to launch from or fish at the Theewaterskloof Sports Club (pass through Villiersdorp, take the road to Caledon and you will see the turnoff to the Sports Club on your right), you will have to pay an entrance fee. Good launching facilities can be found here and children can catch bluegill on bread paste and earthworm baits from the jetty. Permits to fish certain limited access conservation areas of the Dam may be acquired at the offices of the Theewaterskloof Sports Club.

You may also be able to launch at Dennehof Resort next door (no problem if you are staying there).

If you are a member of a registered angling club or have the right contacts, you can get a key to the gate at Draaiberg Bridge (turn immediately right after crossing the road bridge over the dam just before you get to Villiersdorp on the Grabouw - Villiersdorp Road). This is a good launching spot and an excellent place to fish from the bank. Most of the other shoreline area of the Dam is private property.

How to get there

Theewaterskloof is situated near Villiersdorp some 115km from Cape Town.

Map of the Dam

[Thanks to Paul Cochrane for the maps- reproduced from the October 1997 issue of Stywe Lyne/ Tight Lines]

Accommodation

I can recommend Dennehof Resort (Tel.: (028) 840-2091) on the Eastern shores of the Dam. Their chalets are quaint and convenient.

You may also try the Theewaterskloof Sports Club (Tel.: (028) 840-1669) which has good camping facilities.

There are guest houses and self-catering accommodation in Villiersdorp itself. Try this link for more details.

 

Other useful Theewaterskloof links

http://www.theewaters.co.za/public_information.htm

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

 

Theewaterskloof photos and catches

Brendan Hartmann with a Theewaterskloof Bass.

Brendan reports: "Here is the biggest fish I've caught in Theewaterskloof, she was skinny but weighed in at about 2.2 kg's. I got her in 8 feet of water on a 6 inch Chartreuse and Pepper Zoom Lizard. Over the last 2 years the water quality in Theewaterskloof has been pretty bad which explains why she was in such bad condition. The heavy rains this year should hopefully have flushed out some of the water and we should be seeing an increase in water quality ... I've decided I now want to get hold of some 10 - 12 inch worms and aim for some quality fish. As soon as I manage to get hold of some I'll try them out and keep you updated.".


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