Jozini Dam Fishing Spots - Boat fishing
The Pongola River
The Pongola river flows into the Jozini Dam in the north eastern side,
near the town of Golela. The railway bridge across the Pongola river is
the uppermost limit for fishing and you will see 'No Entry' signs
painted on the pillars of the bridge. If you go beyond the bridge, the
men in green will give you trouble, and the river is shallow and will
destroy your prop.
The channel below the bridge is long and straight and slowly widens into
the Jozini Dam. The river is a very popular area for fishing and many
competitions have been won with fish caught in the Pongola River,
especially in the area opposite the lodge above the cliffs on the
This section of the Jozini Dam also has many small bays and inlets
which offer excellent fishing for Tiger fish, Kurper and Barbel. The
advantage of the river section is that there is always protection from
the wind and is the safest part of the dam to fish.
The northern bay
If you continue down the river section and take a left once you reach
the main body of the Jozini Dam, you are in the northern. Don't go too
far or you will be in Swaziland, and officially you may not cross this
international border. You will see a pole planted in the water and the
border fence running up the mountain to the east of the dam.
The entire northern bay is shallow with vast weed beds and offers very
good fishing, especially in the winter when the water is clean in that
part of Jozini.
The western shore
The western shore of the Jozini
Dam is also called 'the flats', because
the bottom is flat and shallow with water levels receding by up to 300m
when water is released from the dam in October every year. The western
shore is one of the best fishing areas in the Jozini Dam, probably
because of all the aquatic vegetation which offers cover for small bait
fish, thus creating good feeding ares for tiger fish. A pole on board
helps to manoeuvre your boat through shallow areas. Usually the
water in the south west of the dam is the warmest and cleanest, making
for good tiger fishing.
The eastern shore
The eastern shore is
characterized by steep drop-offs, bays lined with dead trees and
shallow areas with weed beds. The bays are deep and the structure of
fallen and standing trees attracts fish. When traveling along the
eastern shore, stay far from the edge to avoid getting your props
destroyed by gill nets. Thankfully most of the Tiger fish are able to
bite their way out of these nets.
The gorge looks like the best
fishing area in the Jozini dam, but the water is very deep (up to 70m)
and fishing is difficult. The fishing in the gorge is best close to the
edge and in the small inlets and bays. The barbel fishing in the gorge
is good, but fish with heavy tackle so that you can keep the fish off
the bottom and out of the trees. The shallow areas in the bays are also
teeming with tilapia, which are notoriously difficult to catch in the
The 2 places where shore fishing is possible is at the Phongolo Game
Reserve camping site near Golela and the Fish Eagle camping site on the
southern side of Jozini.
Jozini Fishing Techniques
Tiger fishing at the Jozini Dam
is excellent if you go to to right places and use the correct fishing
techniques. There are several way which work well to catch lots of
tiger fish at Jozini dam. I will discuss these fishing methods in
Spoons such as the Effzett
range by DAM and spinners like the Meps work very well to catch tiger
fish of all sizes in the Jozini Dam. Many people will tell you that
artificial lures don't work in the Jozini dam, but I have had excellent
results and caught tiger fish of up to 6.5kg on spinners and spoons.
Spoons work best when retrieves
very fast in the shallows, especially over and between weed beds.
Spoons can be fished over weeds very easily by keeping your rod tip
high and reeling fast, almost skipping the spoon across the surface.
Spoons and spinners can also be trolled, but use thicker line on your
trolling rigs because spoons twist your line. When you are finished
trolling, remove the lures from your lines and let the line out behind
the moving boat for a few minutes to untwist themselves.
The secret to catching tiger
fish with artificial lures is to fish very shallow, as shallow as 1m,
but you have to move and find the fish. A good way of finding tiger
fish in the Jozini dam is to drift along the bank with the wing while
casting, or trolling spoons in shallow water all along the edge,
preferably on the outside of weed beds.
Artificial lures work best in
cleaner water, but when the whole dam is crystal clean in the winter,
often there are concentrations of tiger fish in dirtier areas of the
VERY IMPORTANT - Remove treble
hooks and split rings from your lures and replace with single hooks and
extra strong split rings. When a tiger fish jumps and shakes its head,
the forces are so great that treble hooks and weak split rings pull
open. The aim is to land the biggest fish you hook, and weak tackle
will fail every time. Always use fluorocarbon line and steel trace!
Smelly baits such as chicken
liver, sardines and Tilapia fillet work well when the water is brown
and the tiger fish can't see lures. Use 50cm of single strand steel
trace, not nylon coated trace because the tiger fish bite through it.
Hooks must be very sharp and strong.No sinker is needed.
The secret is to find at what
depth the fish are moving. the best way to find the fish is not to
choose spots at random. Start in shallow water (+-2m) and slowly work
deeper until you start to get bites. If there is no action, move on the
the next spot and do the same and don't stop until you find the fish!
The best live bait to use in
Jozini is tilapia / kurper / bream. I always us a 2 hook trace, one
hook behind the head, the other just behind the dorsal fin. The problem
with live bait is that the bait swims around and can tangle lines. To
avoid this, you can use a balloon or condom as a float. The wind will
keep your large float on the lee of the boat.