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