Sporting the oldest desert on earth, Namibia is known as a desert country. Perennial rivers are few and far between, found only on the southern and northern border, but where there is water there is fish and where there is fish there is angling. While the Orange River in the south and the Kunene in the northwest attract a small number of fishing enthusiasts, the riverine landscapes of the northeast are a freshwater angler’s dream. A large variety of fish is found in the Okavango, Kwando, Linyanti, Chobe and Zambezi rivers.

Freshwater angling associations
A carp takes a gulp of air through a gap in a carpet of algae.

In the central parts of the country there are the large artificial lakes – Hardap, Von Bach, Swakoppoort, Oanob and Tilda Viljoen – where anglers can cast their fishing rod and participate in angling competitions.

Freshwater angling associations
Freshwater anglers during a tournament at Hardap Dam. Namibia’s largest artificial lake is a popular venue for national and international angling competitions.

Six angling associations are affiliated to the Namibia Federation for Freshwater Anglers (NFFA):

• Namibia Artificial Lure Angling Association (NALAA)
• Namibia Bass Angling Association (NBAA)
• Namibia Freshwater Bank Angling Association (NFBAA)
• Namibia Light Tackle Boat Freshwater Angling Association (NLTBFAA)
• River Angling Namibia (RAN)
• Species Angling Namibia (SAN)

“Freshwater angling is recognised as a national and international sport”, says NFFA President Max Pieper. “Thus we come under the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the Namibia Sports Commission. We also work closely with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources as well as the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. And we have close ties with NamWater, the water utility in charge of the public dams.”

NALAA – Motorboats and artificial lures are used to catch a wide variety of fish species. For entries in different categories and during tournaments the fish’s length is measured to determine the weight after which it is immediately put back into the water. International regulations apply and the heaviest catch wins.

NBAA – Bass anglers also use motor boats and artificial lures but will try their luck only on dams where black bass have been released. During tournaments participants try to hook five fish within a certain time. The total weight is the decisive factor, so the larger and heavier the fish, the better. Again, the catch-and-release rule applies.

NFBAA – When tournaments are held members compete in teams. During eight hours as many fish as possible have to be caught but not more than 20 of the same species. Mainly natural fish lure is used. All the fish have to be released again unscathed.

NLTBFAA – Light tackle freshwater anglers pursue even large fish with just a 4 kg line and usually with natural lure. During tournaments up to three participants share one boat. Five fish of the same species have to be hooked. The weight is calculated from the length and the fish is released again as quickly as possible. A specific formula is applied to determine the winner.

RAN – A boat is essential for river angling tournaments during which a certain number of fish of a particular species has to be caught within a specified time. Since some species are difficult to get hold of, a special formula is used to determine the winner. Catch-and-release also applies to river angling.

SAN – Freshwater species anglers cast their fishing rods from the shore and go mostly for carp. During tournaments contestants try to catch as many carp as possible within 72 hours with the aim to land the highest total weight. The fish are immediately released after weighing.

Namibia’s freshwater angling associations SAN, NBAA and NALAA strictly adhere to the regulations of the International Sport Fishing Confederation (CIPS FIPSed sport).

Author: Dirk Heinrich

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