Heathbridge – Vaal River – May 2018

For a change we visited the Vaal River on the eastern side of the N1. Lochvaal to be exact, above the barrage, at a place called Heathbridge River Lodge. It was our first time in this area, and although the fishing was a bit slow we were pleasantly surprised by the beauty.

Fishing

Once again we were blessed by perfect weather conditions, even though it was super cold on the first night. Since we only arrived late in the afternoon we were determined to stay out fishing as late as we could and consequently burnt through around 4 bags of wood just to stay warm.

The fishing was very slow however, a few half-hearted bites but no takers, and we really started to doubt our decision to keep fishing. In the end it paid off to an extent when we finally had a run and caught one lonely common carp. After that it was duvet time.

heathbridge vaal river another carp
The fishing was slow, but at least we caught one

Saturday and Sunday was more of the same. Long periods of quiet, with a few bites and the occasional run to keep us interested. We’ve learnt that this time of year when winter starts to set in (changing of the season), the fishing generally slows down. As soon as winter is in full swing the fishing should improve a lot. 

Our biggest catch came halfway through Saturday when out of nowhere a nice 5kg carp took off with my line like a bat out of hell. That woke us up and really restored our faith.

heathbridge vaal river big carp
Our biggest catch at Heathbridge was this nice 5kg common carp

We continued catching carp on not so regular intervals, with the resident husky, Trooper, offering advice and encouragement whenever we started looking despondent. He also seemed to know each of them, coming to say hello to every fish caught. 

heathbridge vaal river small carp
Trooper helped with the fishing

We also tried our hand at some bass fishing since this area was the venue of the South African leg of the Black Bass World Champs held in October 2017. We got the rubber duck set up only to discover Martin had left the transom mount at home, so no motor for us. For his sins he had to paddle me to where we thought there might be bass but ultimately we couldn’t go very far. Zero bass this time.

So in the end not a million fish, but still a million times better than sitting at home.

Accommodation

So Heathbridge River Lodge is officially the closest we’ve ever stayed to the water’s edge. If you take more than 6 or 7 steps from the lounge door you’ll literally fall in. Have a look.

heathbridge vaal river lounge view
View from the lounge at Heathbridge, closest we’ve ever stayed to the water

The cabin itself is quite nice, everything you need as always including full DSTV and a very welcome heater. There’s two large beds one of which is in the open area, the other in a separate room, perfect for a small family. There’s a lounge \ dining area, kitchen and outside porch on the water.

heathbridge vaal river inside house
View from the lounge door

The fishing area is off to the left, a nice lawn with enough space for many rods. There’s a willow tree for shade and very importantly a bonfire drum right in the middle of the lawn which kept us warm on that first night.

heathbridge vaal river view jetty
Fishing area in the morning

Fishing aside this was also one the prettiest settings we’ve visited. Of course the weather played a big role in making it spectacular but even so we were blown away by the sunsets. We tried to capture the beauty but as usual the photos just can’t do it justice. Here goes anyway.

heathbridge vaal river beautiful sunset
Another horrible day in Africa

 

Summary

Very nice venue which could be a perfect fishing spot when the fish start biting again. Adrian was a great host who made us feel very welcome (along with Trooper),  and the house perfectly suited us. And above all the spectacular sunsets really made our visit especially memorable.

tips

We can’t really offer any meaningful tips except for garlic floats and mielies. That’s what half our fish were caught on. In general stronger winter flavours. Barbel and bass were not feeding so no idea what they would prefer. 

Fish count (2 days)

carp x1 (large)
carp x5 (small\medium)

Links
Map \ exact Location

Similar nearby fishing spots

Flamingo’s River Lodge – Vaal River
Goosebay Canyon – Vaal River

 
Video

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