Stock image. Photo credit: Kenny Eliason

The benefits of using a boat for freshwater fishing

While fishing from the shore can be a lot of fun, most people prefer to be in a boat for the best freshwater fishing experience. Why would you fish from shore if you have the option to do it by boat? The advantages are endless – you keep your feet dry, are sheltered from the sun, wind, and rain, and to top it you, you can even keep your beer cool in a proper refrigerator. You have the option of buying your own boat or rent one at the many places next to a dam. Going afloat needn’t be too expensive if you buy a good second-hand boat.

A good used fishing boat can cost anything from a few thousand Rands to hundreds of thousands for a high-end sport fishing boat. Freshwater fishing boats also have all sorts of electronics that help you find the fish, and propulsion systems that help you stay close to them. Freshwater fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in South Africa. There are many reasons why this activity is so popular as it is relaxing, yet exciting, it brings the entire family closer
together and it includes a constant interaction with nature. For many people, freshwater fishing is so much fun that it becomes a lifelong addiction. The bottom line? If you have a freshwater fishing boat you’re almost certain to catch more fish than standing on the shore for hours without even a bite on your rod.

A few advantages of freshwater fishing from a boat is the following:

  1. Smaller boats can get into shallower and smaller waterways. The idea that larger fish prefer deeper water is a myth. While occasionally true, fish are frequently more concerned with where the best prey is located than with the depth of the water.
  2. You can manage to get into uptight creeks and streams. Smaller boats can access tight creeks that are inaccessible on foot, opening up more fishing places and making fish finders easier to use. Try paddling a 20ft cruiser up a tiny channel with no motor. In these instances, you can get close to the huge fish’s food.
  3. You get to hide from the elements. Even smaller boats have a place to hide from the heat and the elements. While not all vessels have air conditioning, many of them do have areas where you may stay in the shade or out of the rain. You don’t have that option when you’re on foot, possibly in your waders, and you run the risk of getting burned, wet, or both.
  4. Where will you find the best catch? Your catch relies on how well you know the species you’re chasing, their local habitat, and where they eat. Bass behave differently in different dams. Your knowledge of a waterway can affect the number and size of fish you catch. That means a smaller boat for one fish and a bigger boat for another.
  5. Your gear is in one spot. Everyone who fishes enjoys to browse outdoor stores for new devices. On foot, you can only bring what you can carry out and back to a river. Even smaller fishing boats have plenty of storage, so you don’t have to worry about what’s on your back. Your family may grumble about the odd extravagance for your pride and joy, but you earned it so you may spend a little on you.

Freshwater fishing necessities

Whether you going out on a boat or catching from the shore, you do need some specialized equipment. The most important items are a fishing rod and reel, fishing tackle, bait and/or lures and off cause a fishing license.

Fishing rod and reel

Most freshwater rods come with reels. Several types of reels retain fishing line and let you cast or crank it back as needed. The best freshwater fishing rods are graded by "action" and "power" for different fish types. Bending describes action. A quick action rod bends towards the tip, while a slow action rod bends uniformly to the butt. Power describes the rod's lifting power and ranges from ultra-light to highly heavy.

Fishing tackle

You'll need more than a rod and reel for freshwater fishing. There's "terminal tackle," which includes swivels, weights, and clips to put onto the end of your line. Landing nets and pliers are essential for landing fish and removing hooks. A tackle box will help you arrange all this gear.

Fishing bait

Freshwater baits are natural or manufactured. Artificial baits include hard plastic plugs, metal spinners, and spoons. Experience and knowledge are needed to choose the finest baits for any species or scenario. Most anglers rely on their tried-and-true favourites.

Fishing license

This can be bought at a number of places throughout South Africa and most of the times you can purchase one close to the fishing waters.


If you live in Mpumalanga one place to go freshwater fishing and have the option of renting a boat to do the catching from is OppiDam at Vygeboom Dam. For more information, visit their website at www.houseboats.co.za or link onto their Facebook page www.facebook.com/OppidamHouseboats

@ 2022 Copyright. Designed by