South African Freshwater Bank Angling Association

Angling Rules




Amateur status and teams


Angling water

Duration of competition


Handling of tackle

Keeping of fish

Weighable fish

Weighing of the catch



Application of the rules



Angling Rules


The angling rules may be amended or revoked at the Annual General Meeting by a majority vote if such an amendment appears on the agenda. If not notice of amendment was given prior to the meeting, a two-thirds majority is required for any amendment.


Amateur Status & Teams


Competitions organized by the South African Freshwater Bank Angling Association (SAFBAA) and its affiliated members will be restricted to amateur anglers who are in possession of a valid angling license. An amateur angler is a person who angles for relaxation and who has no intention of selling or exchanging his catch. Prizes won during and angling competition will, irrespective of the value thereof, not affect an angler's amateur status.


The number of participants in a team competition may not exceed 15 members, of which twelve (12) members will be entitled to angle. A manager, a team captain and a reserve who make up the balance of the team will have free access to their angling members during a competition. If teams are smaller than the prescribed maximum, the size of the competing teams will be mentioned in the notice of the competition.


A guide, who is not a member of a team, may render assistance to a blind angler.


National and Provincial teams must compete in their official team dress. During other team competitions all competitors must wear distinctive colours, for example uniform shirts or trousers, so that every participant can be clearly associated with a team. Ten competition points will be deducted from the team total for any default of this rule.


An angler may withdraw during a competition due to physical circumstances. In case of team competitions, he may be replaced by the reserve. The catches of the two anglers will be weighed separately and the combined catch points will be used to determine the competition point.


During the National Championships participation will be restricted to the following people:


Men's' Championships - men 18 years and older


Ladies Championships - ladies 18 years and older


Junior Championships - junior boys and/or girls under 18 years


Masters Championships - men ladies 50 years and older



International and National competitions will be controlled by officials in possession of a National Official's Certificate. The same qualification will be required for the chief official during Interprovincial Competitions. The chief official at all other competitions will be in possession of a Provincial Official's Certificate.

Where less than four teams participate in a competition, the chief official may be assisted by two additional official. Two teams may be controlled by one official.

Should four or more teams compete in a competition and the angling area is subdivide into zones, it will be controlled by a chief official and an additional three to six zone official. If the prescribed number of official's is not available, the chief official will appoint additional officials, on a proportional basis, from the competitors before the start of the competition.

Official's controlling International and National competitions will be appointed by the National Official's Committee. The officials for all other competitions will be appointed by the Official's Committee of the province concerned.

The appointed officials will in deliberation with the hosts, peg out the water, control the draw for a peg number and the competition in accordance with the prescribed rules. After the competition they will weigh the catches, complete the score cards and ensure that the angling area is tidied.

Should a dispute arise during a competition, it will be handled by the chief official and the two previously elected appeal official's. Should the team management disagree with the decision, the catch in dispute will be weighed and the matter referred to the relevant management committee. Such an appeal must be accompanied by written statements by all parties concerned.

Angling Waters

A restriction will be placed on the angling area where the competition will be held. A team member may not angle in the predetermined competition area later the 12h00 the day prior to the start of the competition. A team ember contravening this rule will not be permitted to participate in the competition.

Excluded from this provision are test matches as well as competitions of the SAFBAA teams or trials held directly after National Championships.

Where up to three teams participate in a competition, it will not be necessary to divide the angling area into zones. If however four or more teams participate, the angling area must be subdivided into six zones.

A draw for peg numbers will take place before the commencement of each competition. If a competition lasts for more than one angling period, another draw will take place before the commencement of the next angling period. An angler or team who, during the subsequent draw, draws a number which he already had during the competition, will immediately draw a new number.

The competition water or zones will be marked out by numbered pegs so that every angler or pair of competitors, in the case of team competitions, will have a number. During the National Championships these pegs may not be pegged less than 15 meters apart.

Should a competition be held over more than one day or period, all the angler's will, during the break move to the second next zone for the next day or period.

Each team captain, manager or angler must submit a time list reflecting the full particulars, i.e. the initials and surname as well as the SAFBAA registration number of each angler in each zone, or at each peg, to the chief official during the captain's meeting before the start of the competition.

If an angler does not angle in the zone stipulated in the team list, ten competition points will be deducted from the team points for each angler angling in the wrong zone.

Duration of Competitions

During National Championships there will be angled for eight hours of every day. In the case of all other competitions, the duration of the competition must be shown in the notice thereof. Should conditions deteriorate to such a extent that normal angling is not longer possible, the chief official in consultation with the team management or anglers and upon a majority decision, may shorten or call the competition off.

Each phase of the competition will be indicated by a clearly audible signal. The first signal indicates the start of the official angling period. At the end of the official angling period another signal will be given and all anglers must immediately stand back from their rods. This will enable officials to determine which anglers are playing fish. Only fish already hooked at the beginning of the signal may be placed in the keep-net. After the signal, given one minute later, all anglers must immediately remove their lines from the water and take their keep-nets or have it taken to the weighing area under the supervision of the officials.

The angling period of National and Interprovincial team competitions may not commence before sunrise and may not be completed after sunrise, Thus angling must be stopped at least one hour before sunset.


No angler may at any time angle with more than two rods. Each rod must be fitted with a reel and a maximum of two single hooks may be tied to each line. Contravention of the provisions of the ordinance in respect of the tackle will lead to the immediate disqualification of the angler. Any other contravention the rules will result in the release of the total catch of the angler up to that stage.

Equipped spare rods are allowed on condition that they are kept in an upright position in rod holders behind the angler. These spare rods are subject to the same regulations as prescribed in the rules. Contravention of this rule will result in the release of the total catch of the angler up to that stage.

No electrical or mechanical apparatus that could assist the angler in casting his/her bait, indicating a bite or striking a fish will be allowed during competitions.

Blind anglers may, however, use a hooter to indicate bites.

There is not restriction on the diameter of the line used during a competitions. When angling with "Dacron" or similar line, or line of which the diameter exceeds 0.30 mm, an application for a record catch will be registered as a heavy tackle record.

Where application for a record catch is made for a light tackle (maximum diameter 0,22mm) or medium tackle (maximum diameter 0,30mm) the thickness of the line must be measured before the line is unhooked. The diameter of the line will be determined by taking at least three readings, two metres apart, of the line concerned. If the diameter of the lines does not comply with the requirements of the relevant tackle, the requirements of the following heavier tackle will apply, e.g., from a light tackle to a medium tackle or from a medium tackle to heavy tackle. 

A leader of a thicker diameter line may be used provided that the length of the leader together with the longest trace is not longer than twice the length of the rod. If the length of the lead exceeds the prescribed requirements, the catch will be classified under a heavy duty tackle.

NB. Where "Dacron" or "Kevlar" or similar line is used as a leader or a trace, the foregoing requirements for a leader will apply.

Artificial lures may not be used during a competition. Furthermore, no object made of polystyrene, rubber or sponge may be attached to the hook or angling line. Only bait made of organic digestible food may be used. Contravention of this rule will lead to the immediate disqualification of the relevant angler for the day.

Beads may be strung on the main trace line to protect the knots, but may not be strung on the hook line.

Handling of Tackle

The angler's angling area stretchers at right angles with the general shore line. The angler may cast from any position on the shore within his angling area. After the competition every angler will be responsible for tidying up his angling area. Contravention of this rule will leas to a penalty of ten catch points against the angler for each infringement.

Anglers angling at the same peg, will fish on either side of the peg and may not change their positions during the competition. Ten catch points will be deducted from each angler for the contravention of this rules.

No angler may place a rod further than four metres, to the left or to the right, from his peg. Ten catch points will be deducted from the angler for the contravention of this rule.

The cast will be made from the natural shore or from any place behind the casting boundary as indicated by the placing of the pegs. Contravention of this rule will lead to a penalty of ten catch points against the angler.

An angler may assist his partner, but each angler must do his own casting, striking and playing of a fish. During the landing of a fish any person, who is officially taking part in the competition, may give necessary assistance. Infringement of this rule will lead to a penalty of ten competition points against the angler and a fish caught in the process will be returned to the water.

An angler and helper may wade to net a fish or to loosen lines that got snagged. However, in the process the angler, or his helper, may not wade deeper that his armpit and must stay on his feet. Whilst wading no other resources (excluding landing-nets) may be used by the angler or his helper, e.g., tubes, lifejackets, etc. The angler will be penalised with 10 catch points for the contravention of this rule and any fish caught during this action will be released into the water. Should the angler contravene this rule for a second time on the same day, he will be disqualified for the day

NB - A junior angler may not wade deeper than his hips.

A fish will be regarded as landed the moment it is in the landing-net or on the shore. After the fish has been landed, the helper may assist in untangling any lines. The fish, however, may not be unhooked during this process, but if it should happen, the fish concerned must be immediately released into the water.

During team competitions fishing tackle and bait may only e exchanged or handed over by team members. Ten competition points will be deducted from the team's total for the contravention of this rule.

The guide of a blind angler may assist him to identify his bait and dips and also to indicate the direction of the cast or any bites. The guide may further assist the blind angler to land a fish, untangle any lines and to ensure that the trace is hooked on properly before the cast is made. Should the partner's lines become tangled, the guide may assist him to land his fish.

Keeping of Fish


Participants will keep their catches in nets or containers of which the design is as such as to enhance the safekeeping of the fish, i.e. the fish must have freedom of movement whilst the water must flow through unhampered. If the keepnet/container do not confirm to these requirements it will not be allowed in the weighing camp nor will the fish concerned be weighed.


Keep-nets must be identified by a waterproof nameplate that is permanently attached to the keep-net. A kee-net that is placed in the weighing camp without a nameplate attached thereto, will not be taken into consideration for the competition.


If an angler has two keep-nets and one is without a nameplate, the keep-nets must be tied together before it is placed in the weighing camp. If the two keep-nets are not tied together, the keep-net without a nameplate will not be taken into consideration for the competition.


The nameplate must bear the initials and surname of the angler as well as the name of his team and the SAFBAA registration number. Anglers must ensure that this information corresponds with that given to the officials. If the information given is incorrect, ten competition points will be deducted from the total of the relevant angler.


If the SAFBAA registration number is not reflected on the angler's nameplate, the angler will not be permitted to participate in the competition. Furthermore, a participant will not be allowed to participate in a competition if he/she is not affiliated to the SAFBAA for the present year.


During team competitions each angler must place his kee-net(s) between the outside rod and the boundary of his angling area. If there is only one angler at a peg, the Keep-net must be placed on the left-hand side of his rods. The keep-net(s) must hang on a stand or peg so that the fish may move freely in it. For the contravention of this rule ten catch points will be deducted.


Landed fish must immediately be placed in the keep-net of the anglers (see rule above) before he may cast again. Contravention of this rule will result in the fish concerned being returned to the water.


The guide of a blind angler may place his fish in the keep-net.


It is kindly requested that anglers do not handle fish which they intend to release later on, with dry hands. Any rough handling of fish is likewise not the mark of a nature lover.

  Weighable Fish

All freshwater fish which comply with the applicable ordinance will be weighed. Anglers in possession of fish that do not comply with the ordinance have committed an offence and his whole catch will be disqualified.

To be taken into consideration for a competition, all kurper species (including banded and canary kurpers) must have a minimum length of 150mm.

Only fish that has been angled for in the prescribed manner and which has been hooked in front of the gill openings, will be eligible for the competition. Should two anglers hook the same fish in the head, the fish will be released.

If an angler, or his helper, takes a landed fish to the keep-net and the fish falls out of his hands into the water, the relevant person may catch the fish only with his hands and place it in the keep-net of the angler concerned.

No angler will be permitted to bring any whole fish into the competition area. Contravention of this rule will result in a penalty of ten competition points being deducted from the angler's total.


Weighing of the Catch

The fish caught will be weighed in camps prepared for that purpose at the waterfront. If the competition water is subdivided, a weighing camp will be prepared for each zone.

The keep-nets of each team or group will be placed separately in the weighing camp and must hang from a stand or peg.

Keep-nets of each team or group will be placed separately in the weighing camp and must hang from a stand or peg.

Keep-nets placed in the weighing camps are under the control of the official and may only be touched or handled by the persons weighing the catch.

Only one representative of the team or group whose catch is being weighed at that stage, will be allowed in the weighing camp for controlling purposes.

Weighing of the days catch will start as soon as all the keep-nets of the competitors have been placed in the weighing camp or after a reasonable time has been allowed for anglers to bring their keep-nets to the weighing camp. A reasonable time will be regarded as the time necessary to walk at a normal pace from the farthest peg to the weighing camp. No keep-nets may be placed in the weighing camp after weighing has started. The only exception is where it takes and angler a long time to land a fish. In such cases an official must stay with the competitor for supervision, while the weighing of the other competitor's catches will continue.

A team member can leave the competition area during the course of a competition for personal reasons. In the case of an angler his catch will be weighed and recorded in the presence of the chief official. The relevant team member may, however not be replaced by the reserve or return at a later stage to resume his participation in the competition.


Individual Placing

All freshwater fish caught which complies with the applicable ordinance as well as rules under weighable fish will be weighed and catch points (calculated to the second decimal) will be awarded to the relevant angler as follows:

- Ten points per fish for each fish with a mass of 150 gram or more.

- Ten points per kilogram for all fish caught

The angler with the highest catch points is the winner and will be awarded a competition point equal to the number of participants competing or supposed to be competing in that area or zone. The runner-up will be awarded one point less than the winner. The same procedure will be followed for all anglers with a catch.

If two anglers score the same catch points the higher position will be awarded to the angler with the most fish. Should the number of fish also be the same, they will be awarded the same competition points and the next position will fall away.

Anglers without any catch and absent anglers will be awarded a nil competition point.

Team Placing

The competition points of every member of a team will be added together to determine the total points of each team, irrespective as to whether the competition is held on one day or more. The team with the highest points overall will be the winner.

If two teams have the same number of points, the higher position will be awarded to the team that caught the most fish.

Should the number of fish also be the same, the mass of the total catch will determine the order of the relevant teams. The higher position will be awarded to the team with the heaviest mass.

Should the mass also be the same, the team of whom an angler obtained the highest individual competition points, as per the merit list, will be awarded the higher position.


No participant may consume any alcoholic drink during a competition or participate in a competition while under the influence of any intoxicating substance. Participants contravening this rule will be disqualified immediately and will be barred from the competition area.

Any other behaviour, which is not in accordance with acceptable moral standards, will also not be tolerated. Any person guilty of such misbehaviour, can be denied access to the competition area for the duration of the competition.

Serious misbehaviour must be reported to the controlling authorities for further possible disciplinary action.

Application of the Rules

Every participant must obey any ad hoc instructions issued by the chief official. These instructions are only valid if it has been accepted at the preceding captain's meeting, announced before the start of the competition and are not in conflict with any of the above-mentioned angling rules.

The decision to take disciplinary action, against anglers who contravene the rules, rests with any of the officials on duty.

Any contravention a rule may be reported to an official by the angler angling next to the offender. The official will, after hearing the testimonies of the complainant, the offender and any other eyewitnesses, decide on the action to be taken. Where applicable the team management will be notified of the action taken.

No official objection may be submitted by any team management after the weighing of the catch has started. Objections received will be handled by the appeal committee before the weighing starts.

If any uncertainty exists regarding the interpretation of a rule or if the decision of the appeal committee is disputed, the matter may be referred to the management Committee of the SAFBAA for a decisive answer. Their decision will be binding until the matter has been discussed at the following Annual General Meeting.

In the event of any of these rules being in conflict with the prevailing ordinances or regulations, the juridical regulation will be applicable.

All affiliated members must acquaint themselves with the contents of these rules as laid down by the SAFBAA. Any violation of or deviation from these rules due to ignorance will not be accepted as an excuse.

If any affiliated body has practical problems with these rules, they may approach the Management Committee of the SAFBAA for a possible ad hoc decision to solve their problem.


Where a pronoun such as he, his or himself is used in the text, it will naturally be applicable to both sexes.

In case of any dispute the Afrikaans text will be considered as the official version.

The Appeal Committee, which is responsible for settling any dispute that may arise during a competition, must be appointed before the start of the competition.

If an angler commits an offence and his prescribed penalty points are more than his competition points, the offender will received a nil catch or competition point.

If a non angling team member commits an offence, any possible penalty points will be deducted from the team total.