Arabie Dam

Arabie dam, or otherwise known as Flag Boshielo Dam, is a massive dam on the Olifants River, near Marble Hall in the Limpopo province. It was established in 1987 and therefore is still a relatively young, unknown dam.

Arabie Dam

Upon visiting the dam last weekend it was clear that this was a recently constructed dam. The Structure that it boasts is incredible. Consisting of forests of sunken trees and shrubs, resembling that of Mteri lodge in Zimbabwe, it tells the story of a vast, recently flooded landscape. This kind of structure provides the ideal cover for both predator and prey fish and thus the dam, at least for some time, must have flourished as a bass paradise, and this is exactly what we went to explore.

Submerged Forests


Unfortunately the dam’s credentials did not deliver on this occasion and despite almost a full day of beating the water we never got a single bite. As beautiful as the dam seems it is not without its problems. First of all, upon approaching the dam to launch the boat, we noticed thousands of empty aquatic snail shells strewn across the water’s edge, obviously remnants of a recent mass snail kill. This is a major red flag to me indicating that this dam either was (or is) experiencing catastrophic pollution problems, not unlike many other water bodies in and around the Gauteng area.  Also, the water seemed extremely dirty. It had a deep, redish-brown, dusty haze to it.

Another red flag was our discovery of a dying Chinese Silver Carp struggling at the water’s edge. It was still alive but the entire length of its body was covered in blemishes, almost as if it was peeling. It was also extremely thin and its scales literally rubbed off in my hands when I pulled it from the water. My best estimate is that this foreign invader probably weighed close to 20kg while still healthy. I had no idea that we even had this species in our water’s, it was a mighty sight to say the least.

Chinese Silver Carp

Besides the pollution problems potentially affecting the fishing, the water level was also extremely low, one could see the isolated reed beds standing on dry land. These probably hold some good bass when submerged. Complementing the low water levels were the extremely high temperatures and humidity. The air temperature must have been in the high 30’s and we recorded the water temperature at 28 degrees Celsius in some places. Now with blue bird skies, no shady spots on the water, and low water levels, this just translates to extremely pressured fishing conditions no matter what dam you are on.

So in closing I am eager to return to Arabie dam after the rains. We found many spots, potential bass factories, that i’d love to target when and if the conditions come right. Untill then it’s just not worth the two and a half hour drive from Joburg and Renosterkop dam is going to be a closer and more viable option.



18 responses to “Arabie Dam

  • Andre

    Someone recently send me an email with photos of dead carp found at the dam. They also mentioned the dead snails and red color of the water. Hope you take out all those Chinese silver carp!

  • Maffodi Nare Emmanuel

    I will be very happy if the sources of pollution to this dam are diagnosed and solved so that the dam can keep its natural diversity of species and if volunteers are needed i am available.

  • andre coetzee

    How safe is it to use a boat? Are there a lot of trees in the water and grass?

  • thebassboat

    Hi Andre,

    It is safe to use a boat, as long as you are cautious around the edges. there are LOTS of trees in the water so save the plain for the middle of the dam, otherwise it is safe. and i suspect when the conditions are right the fishing amongst the trees is going to be phenomenal. you have to use a boat on this dam.

  • Nico

    Hi I am Nico Mathee was just wondering how the polotion and bass fishing is of late and is it wort to go now.

    • thebassboat

      Hi there Nico, apologies for the late response. Unfortunately we have’nt bee nback since. but if you should find anything out, please let us know. I know that it is always fishable for Kurper, and some big Kurper at that.

  • Rudie du Plooy

    Hi daar Andre. Ek verstaan by die dam moet jy n boot he om te hengel?Dit is jammer want dit blyk n ideaale kurper/Bass dam te wees. Ons is n paar pensionarisse wat die tipe damme opsoek, maar as jy kan bevestig dat jy net met n boot daar kan vang gaan ons nie die moeite doen om te gaan nie, ek sal graag van jou wil hoor,

    • willie

      hi daar Rudie jy vang lekker van di oever af ons vang bja lekker maar vat karpstok saam 10 januarie het ons geen kurpers gevang net karps en bass kurpers sal nou begin byt dis nou tyd

  • willie

    halo dis willie hier ons was tien januarie op arabie geen kurpers byt net kleintjies bja karpe gevang 48 grootste was 5kg

  • willie

    weet iemand dalk of di kurpers di naweek gebyt het?

  • willie

    hallo Rudie jy kan van die kant af hengel ons hengel oever en boot ons het al op n baie slegte plek gevang maar dadilik geskyf

  • Willem

    Hi Rudie, Willem van Polokwane hier. Ons wil einde vd maand daar kom kamp, ons was nog nie voorheen daar nie en wat is die toegangsgelde en waar is de beste plek om te vang by die dam.Watter visse kan ons verwag sal byt. Van hoelaat in die oggend en tot hoelaat in die aand kan mens in gaan. Watse geriewe is alles beskikbaar

  • Herman

    Hy ons gaan die naweek van die 7de Maart arabidam toe, enige aanbevelings? Hoor dat dit vrot van die krokkedille is, is dit waar?

  • JD NEL

    Hi Almal ek wil graag gaan vis vang het altyd by schuinsdraai gaan vang maar kry glad nie hulle kontak besonderhede nie het iemand dalk enige hulp vir my waar ek kan gaan vang ens.


  • Arie Willem Claassens

    Ek het gaan hengel by Arabie op 20 Maart 2016. Die watervlak is baie laag, die hele week was dit baie warm, in die 30’s , so ook die dag. Die water is baie warm alhoewel dit in die opvang gebied gereën het. Ons het baie skreeu babers gevang en enkele klein kurpers – ongeveer 6 – tussen 5 hengelaars. En een bass wat aan ‘n karp strop gebyt het. Na aanleiding van hier bo lyk dit vir my dat as dit warm in die week is, maar die dag voor en die hengel dag koeler weer is, selfs goed bewolk vang jy baie. Ons het dit ook onder vind dat met die lee dam ons baie karpe 2kg en meer vang. Daar was net enkele klein kurpers die dag.

  • Arie Willem Claassens

    Ek het gesien op dae wanneer daar baie boot aktiwiteite op Arabie dam is, spoel daar baie chinese silwer karpe uit. Sommige het sigbare beserings en ander niks uiterlik sigbaar nie. Ek vermoed dat die bote op die water moontlik die oorsaak daarvan kan wees.

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