We recently had an opportunity to stay in the Golden Mile Estate on the banks of Witbank Dam. Since it wasn’t really on our list of places to go we didn’t know much about it, and didn’t expect anything. Turns out Witbank Dam is pretty great…
Our accommodation was a beautiful private residence inside the estate and easily surpassed any of our normal lodgings. But since it’s not accessible to the public we won’t elaborate too much on it. We were there to fish anyway and spent little time indoors.
As usual the weather didn’t play along initially, the first day was very cold and rainy. But we persevered and to our absolute surprise we were rewarded with quite a few nice sized carp. The bites weren’t frequent but just enough to make it a very enjoyable first day.
While waiting for the carp (or barbel) to develop an appetite I tried for bass as well not expecting much. But again to our surprise I had a lot of success right in front of our house. I caught quite a few on watermelon red and darker flukes. Who knew!
Since we were having so much fun we stayed huddled under our makeshift gazebo well into the night and continued catching fish quite regularly. Even Martin managed to land a fish or two 🙂
The next day was completely the opposite, the sun was out and in turned into a very hot day. For some reason this meant the smaller carp came out to play and the nicer ones went into hiding. If someone could maybe explain this phenomenon to me I would be very grateful. Needless to say carp fishing turned into an unrewarding chore. As soon as your line was in a little one would get hooked up and you had to reel it in and start over. It was still fun I guess (and better than nothing) but I must admit I prefer much fewer but bigger fish.
The real fun began when we gave up on carp, rigged up the boat and headed out to find bass. By now we knew they were out there we just had to find the hotspots. And very soon our day picked up.
All along the coast line from our residence there are small jetties and weed beds next to wall barriers. And among these the bass were hiding in ambush everywhere. We caught a lot of bass in a very short space of time, they were swallowing any colour fluke if you got it in the right spot. Nothing massive but still very exciting.
On one occasion, after catching a fish, I put my rod down to pose for a photo when a fish actually went for for fluke dangling next to the boat. Long story short, almost lost my rod but managed to land the fish and get this awesome photo of two fish at the same time. Both were quickly and safely released thereafter.
So Witbank Dam really surprised us, it probably doesn’t deserve the bad reputation it’s got. Granted we didn’t even explore one tenth of the dam but what we saw convinced us to visit soon again. We now know of two other accommodation options on the other side of the dam which we could visit, Steve’s Place (Barham Bay) and Maanlig resort.
Oh, and as is customary we tracked down the local pub which turned out to be the Sand Bar. It’s actually in the Golden Mile Estate but the public can easily reach it by boat, you just park at their jetty and have a drink. Fabulous 🙂
Surprisingly good fishing all round, the carp were busy but the quality of bass fishing blew us away. We’ll be back during springtime…
Bass: flukes (almost any but especially watermelon red) dropped along walls on banks and along grass beds
Carp: perdeby and banana floats
Fish count (2 days)
bass x25 (medium)
carp x4 (large)
carp x10 (small)