Know your Carp


Many bank anglers may not know it, but there are a variety of different species of carp found in South Africa. Carp fishing, or bank angling (As many call it), is one of the most popular forms of fishing by participation in South Africa. Carp fishing is a very dynamic and technical sport, if we can call it that. There are so many different forms of Carp angling, which are all in their own right, successful at targeting specific species of carp. There are 4 “main” kinds of Carp fishing one can do in South Africa.

Conventional (Papgooi)


Float Fishing

Match Fishing

All these forms of bank angling can help you succeed in catching all the species of carp in South Africa. There are so many rods, reels, dips, hook baits and feed that are used in these various forms of carp angling.

How Many Species Of Carp Are There In South Africa?

We will look at the different species of Carp in South Africa in a bit more detail. Carp are from the family Cyprinidae, and are originally native to Europe and Asia. Carp have been introduced all over the World and were first introduced into South Africa in 1859, as a fodder fish and an angling fish to keep the settlers entertained, and to make them feel more at home. The Carp is regarded as an excellent angling species, although it is a very invasive species. Below, you will find the species of Carp found in South Africa, with a bit of a description of how to differentiate between them.

Common Carp


Arguably the most commonly caught fish in the World. The Common Carp is one of the most sought after Carp species by anglers, and is an excellent sport fish. The record for a Common Carp is broken on a yearly basis, and is close to 50kgs.

Mirror Carp


Sometimes called a Full Scale Carp, the Mirror Carp has the same genetic make up of a Common Carp, except their scales are a lot more developed and prevalent. In South Africa, it is also known as the King Carp.

Leather Carp

The Leather Carp, generally, is a old Mirror Carp that has “outgrown” it’s scales, which leaves it with a very leather-like appearance. This is a prized angling species and is not very common.

Ghost Carp

The Ghost Carp comes in various forms, and is a pigmented version of any of the species mentioned above. The Ghost Carp is an albino, and is highly sought after angling species.

Koi Carp


There are numerous species of Koi, too many to list. Koi are basically domesticated and bred versions of Carp, and many different species have been introduced and released into dams all over South Africa.

Grass Carp

The Grass Carp is a big fish that moves around in small schools. These fish, along with the one listed below, are really invasive, and compete with endemic species such as Yellowfish and Mudfish.

Silver (Asian) Carp

The Silver Carp, also called the Asian Carp, is one of the fastest growing carp species, and causes a lot of damage. Although this is a great sport fish, anglers are encouraged not to release these fish.

Carp play an important role in South African fisheries to attract anglers from all over the Country. Despite their invasive habits, they are a beautiful fish to catch, and sometimes a hard fish to figure out. Carp fight well, and all in all are a great angling species.