As usual we waited until the very last moment to try and find fishing accommodation during the festive season. Understandably, almost every spot we tried was booked up, and in desperation we took a chance on a place we’ve been hoping to visit for a long time, Aqua Villa on Grootdraai Dam. Shockingly they had a vacancy, we snapped it up, and off we went to have one of our better carp fishing trips ever.
There isn’t much content online about Grootdraai Dam. We looked and asked around but most people had never been there. Those that have mentioned that it was very similar to the Vaal Dam. Flat terrain, muddy water, and lots and lots of small fish of various species. So that wasn’t very encouraging.
And that is maybe the case at other venues on Grootdraai, but we found Aqua Villa to be quite different. For starters it’s up against a steep cliff which already indicates deeper water. And in terms of fish the average size was over 3kg which is exceptional for us. There was the odd tiny yellowfish, but they were soundly outnumbered by bigger fish.
In the end we caught dozens of decent-sized fish. Here’s just a few of them…
One night we had yet another massive run, this time on Linky’s rod. She immediately felt this one was considerably heavier and stronger than the others. After a frantic 10min fight we finally landed her new pb, a 10kg barbel. She refused to hold it but here’s the evidence.
And that’s how things continued, we caught many big common carp, decent yellowfish, more barbel, and one muddy. No grass carp or mirror carp this time though.
We also tried for bass but it was fairly clear that this is not bass country. They are reportedly nearer to the dam wall and yacht club. So no luck there from our half-hearted attempts…
There are a few options at Aqua Villa, including camping and a main house. But we stayed in one of the “jetties” which are basically chalets right on the water’s edge. We stayed in jetty #1 which is the closest to the main building and has it’s own lapa right on the water.
Inside you have an open-plan lounge\kitchen area complete with fridge, microwave, etc. On either side of the lounge you have two bedrooms, each with their own double-bed and en-suite bathroom (shower, toilet, etc.). Outside you have a porch with a table and portable braai which overlooks the fishing area in front.
Here’s a look around…
The only negative in the chalet is that there isn’t any ceilings so it’s slightly less private than you think. And we were there with the dam over 100% full which makes the fishing area a little bit difficult to navigate. It’s quite steep and you have to deal with a narrow wall when trying to net fish.
But that didn’t deter us at all. It wasn’t a big deal and we could fish comfortably in the end. When the water level drops slightly you should be able to fish next to the lapa which would be ideal.
Also remember to bring almost everything you might need. Standerton isn’t that far away but the dirt road can be a little muddy and might take a while to negotiate which will be a lot of wasted fishing time.
Aqua Villa at Grootdraai Dam surpassed all our expectations in terms of fishing, we had one of our best carp fishing experiences ever. We broke a pb and caught dozens of healthy fish. The accommodation is comfortable and has everything you might need. Having 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms the jetties are perfect for a small family.
Almost all the usual suspects worked, especially perdeby (cinnamon), banana and honey. Garlic worked very well too especially at night, and that’s what most barbel were caught on (Linky’s pb as well). We also had some snails and miswurms handy which were very popular with the yellowfish.