La Retraite – Vaal River – Feb 2018

So off we went on another Vaal River weekend, this time to a place we’ve only seen on Facebook but it looked so good we had to try it. La Retraite is just a couple of kilometers to the west of Parys, even before Dimalachite, and it boasts some really deep calm waters with some typical feisty big Vaal River fish.

fishing area
Fishing area with a group of rafters approaching
 
Fishing

We arrived on the Friday afternoon and at first we thought we might be doing something wrong. We caught a few small barbel but nothing substantial for the first period. But after figuring out what they were looking for (banlic mielies mostly), things improved dramatically

We caught a few decent fish that first day and the next day was no different with many big carp coming out. This included a few over 7kg fish and off course Martin (show-off) caught a monster 9kg. Here’s a few photos as proof…

 

nice big carp
My biggest catch of the weekend, a very healthy 7kgs
more nice carp
Some more nice catches, beautiful feisty fish
massive carp
Martin’s monster, and the biggest carp of the weekend 

We also managed a few big mudfish and a few of the bigger barbel also paid a visit. Surprisingly no yellowfish were caught, I was expecting a few with some of the rapids not too far down the river. But who’s complaining, we were having enough fun as it is. 

average mudfish
Nice muddy, one of a few bigger than average ones
average barbel
One of the bigger barbel we caught

We got stuck maybe thrice which is exceptional for the Vaal river, usually you get snagged a lot. Part of the reason for this imo is that the owners supplied a boat which we used to retrieve stuck lines etc. This helps a lot to eliminate loose lines underwater which is often the snag culprit.

 

accommodation

La Retraite itself was the perfect self catering accommodation for us. Lush terraced lawns all the way down to the water’s edge with easy landing spots. A massive tree also provides shade early on so we didn’t even need to get out the gazebo. Throughout the day river rafting groups would excitedly paddle by offering some entertainment while we waited for the next run.

vaal river rafting
Rafters paddling by while we wait for the next run

The owners, Elsie and Hannes, were the perfect hosts. You can really tell they put in a lot of love and extra effort into La Retraite. The little details everywhere is evident, the whole place is very neat and clean. They joined us for sundowners and were even forced to help landing fish when necessary. Lovely people.

We booked both huts since we were two couples and it worked out perfectly, we hardly spent any time in them anyway :-). They are equipped with everything you might need, each with a braai outside overlooking the river.

vaal river huts
View of the huts from behind, fishing area just in front
vaal river huts
Front view of huts from fishing area
vaal river
View down river from fishing area

Summary

Perfect Vaal river conditions, deep water, almost zero snags and lots of big fish. The accommodation was great, and the hosts fantastic.

Banlic worked very well, and perdeby was also very productive. Most of the barbel we caught was on the carp bait surprisingly and off course earthworms. 

(2 days)

carp x6 (massive)
mudfish x3 (big)
barbel x3 (big)
barbel x5 (small)

082 229 1930 (Heidi)
082 602 8044 (Elsie)

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *