As a quick weekend getaway, we decided to visit Hartebeesfontein Gasteplaas near Naboomspruit (Mookgophong). We were hoping to catch one the monster carp they have stocked there but it wasn’t to be. In the end it didn’t matter because we found other species to target and still had a lot of fun.
Hartebeesfontein has quite a few fishing dams on the property but apparently, there was a dry spell in the recent past and consequently, some of them were left completely empty. The fish that were in those dams were successfully moved to the two primary dams: the bass dam (near the farmhouse), and the main dam (where we stayed).
Currently, the dams are overflowing again which meant our accommodation was right on the water making fishing so much more comfortable. This place boasts some huge carp in their decent-sized dam and we were hoping to land one of those monsters. Unfortunately, our 2022 has been a disaster so far and carp fishing has been an absolute bust. And it struck again at Hartebeesfontein.
We also managed to pick the coldest weekend of the year so far and the carp were clearly not happy. We didn’t get a single bite the whole weekend despite trying our very best, making feeding spots, etc. We saw them occasionally jumping out of the water, but that is sometimes a bad sign, meaning the carp are uncomfortable and not feeding. So no bites, zero, nada.
We knew there are bass in the dam as well so we decided to rather attempt to catch them. Weirdly there were zero on our side of the dam, but when we took a walk to the other side it was a very different story. Here the bass were congregating and we immediately started catching. It was a lot of fun and we were well impressed by the size of some of them. Here are a few…
At night though things were very quiet, the carp were not interested and we were huddled around the fire in the cold. On the second night, in desperation, we tried something different. We noticed barbel surfacing every now and then so we abandoned carp and focused on barbel fishing.
We were not prepared though, we had no bait. The only thing we did have was some biltong we bought on the way so we tried that. It didn’t take 10mins then we had our first run, and suddenly our night turned from boring and cold to super exciting. We had run after run, and ended up with at least 7 barbel, and we even lost a few. All of that in the space of 2 hours. If only we started doing this earlier!
So what started out badly in terms of carp was replaced by awesome bass and barbel fishing. And in the end, the fishing, in general, was pretty great. If we managed to catch a big carp in between it would have been perfect considering the conditions.
We stayed in the dam house which is on the main dam and literally meters away from the water (with the dam full). There are two rooms with a bathroom in between (doors to either room), which is unusual and could lead to some awkward moments 🙂 Outside is an open-air kitchen area with a nice big covered porch. In front of the house is a nice green lawn with a big braai halfway to the water.
To the left of our house was the camping area which looked really decent as well. They also had what looked like a big thatched lapa and nice green manicured lawns to camp on. That’s also nearer to the dam wall which is better for the bigger carp.
Despite missing out on the carp this time, Hartebeesfontein turned out to be a surprisingly good bass and barbel fishing location. We had a great stay and will probably return for another weekend getaway once the temperature rises again.