The Retreat – Vaal Dam – Feb 2020

the retreat vaal dam jetty
The jetty over the water with a typical spectacular Vaal Dam sunset

On the way back from another very successful Midlands bass fishing trip we decided to do some carp fishing at the Vaal Dam since we were passing right by it on the N3. The massive dam (800kms of shoreline!) has a multitude of decent fishing venues catering for all kinds of fishermen. We decided to visit The Retreat which is a relatively new venue in the northern part of the dam.


Fishing at the Vaal Dam is not very difficult 🙂 We’ve been to a few venues and at all of them catching small carp, barbel or yellowfish is very easy. This may sound great but it actually becomes slightly boring and even annoying. Especially after you’ve lovingly prepared your bait, casting as far as you could, only to have it picked up by a small yellowfish (as big as your rig) within minutes.  It’s only fun for the first few hours but then you start wishing for something bigger.

The Retreat was no different, it’s a typical Vaal Dam venue in terms of fishing, lots and lots of fish biting all the time. We caught dozens of small carp, yellowfish, and even small barbel in a very short space of time. There was even an instance where Linky caught two fish in one go. Here’s just a small sample of our catches:

In terms of bait just about everything worked. We even used plain brown bread which was gobbled up as soon as it hit the water. Floaties and plain mielies were especially popular and in terms of flavoring, anything sweet (pink sweets) worked well.

Top tip: we realized too late that maybe in order to catch bigger fish we should have tried using larger baits. Duhh. For example, we should have tried the hair rigs we had with us and added boilies or tiger nuts. That’ll be our strategy next time… And maybe a baitboat..


The Retreat suited us perfectly in terms of accommodation. Camping is not an option but they have a selection of chalets on offer each equipped with all necessities. There is a braai area behind the chalet sheltered from the wind and also a large lapa outside your room where you can sit and enjoy the sunset over the water.

the retreat vaal dam view of fishing area
Wide open spaces for lots of rods 🙂
the retreat vaal dam view from bedroom
View from our bedroom window
the retreat vaal dam shower
Our chalet had a lovely spacious bathroom

The Retreat has wide open spaces to fish from. There is a massive open bank in front of the chalets where you can comfortably set up and spread out. Unfortunately, the dam level was very low when we were there (about 40%) which meant it was quite a walk to the water but that will change soon after all the good rainfall.

As usual, we also explored the area a little bit venturing into Vaal Marina for the first time. They have shops, ATMs etc. which was good to know for next time (we stopped in Villiers for food which was disastrous). But we were obviously looking for the local watering hole and this time it turned out being VM Pub & Grill. It was everything we were hoping for, down to earth, friendly staff, and interesting people.  It was a great way to end another successful fishing trip…


Typical Vaal Dam fishing, dozens of small fish biting on anything you throw in especially sweeter floaties and mielies.


We’ll be using more hair rigs with boilies \ tiger nuts in future to attract larger fish.

(2 days)

carp x30 (small)
mirror carp x10 (small)
barbel X20 (small)
yellowfish X30 (small)



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