...is the mahseer.
It has been a little over a year since I started fishing but it was only on the 14th and 15th, on my second attempt, that I actually caught a mahseer - four of them as a matter of fact. Well, the fourth is debateable but we will come to that later.
I don't recall being on a jolly during a weekday but speaking to my friends who were at camp and hearing the crickets over the phone had me yearning for the water - very badly. So arrangements were made and I was off on 14th afternoon. The highway was clear and the old 800 was pushed to its highest ever of 130 kmph.
Could have gone faster but visions of an engine bursting into flames had me slow down a bit.
Anyway, I reach 45 minutes before schedule, which gave me adequate time to tackle up for the evening session.
Despite prayers to the angling gods there was no action to speak off. Probably due to the overcast sky.
After a couple of hours or so of this fruitless sitting around, Prathap and I decided to try our luck at Forbes Sagar to which we duly drove and got into the coracle as night fell over the water.
Finally the gods smiled on me. I felt a few bites and was ready to strike when Prathap asked me to raise the rod. Bit of an odd request thought I but I have enough respect for his experience to follow it. The rod was duly lifted and then it happened - the line went taut, the reel sang and the rod bowed down to its worthy adversary. At long last I had a mahseer on the other end of the line and the feeling was pure joy.
The fish was estimated at 1.5 kgs but even then I was not prepared for the power that a small runt like this could put out.
After some time we moved over to the opposite bank and cast out from there and once again I was rewarded with a mahseer estimated at just under a kilo.
We kept at it until 10:30 p.m. but the action had tapered off. So we clambered upto the bank for our packed dinner of chicken curry, daal and chapatis and probably a few creepy crawlies that got scooped up in the dark.
Back to the coracle and as Prathap had predicted the action started on the dot of 1 a.m. and he caught a small mahseer.
We were now getting a few bites but nothing came of that.
The next day we were at Forbes again by 9:45 a.m. and within 30ish minutes I was on my third mahseer of the trip.
However, the sky was still overcast and the fish weren't in an obliging mood. We decided on some murral action and Prathap must have caught something like ten or a dozen of the blighters, whilst I got my regulation one murral. All were released. We also saw some large schools of Tilapia.
It was back to the cottage for a very late lunch and just in time for the 4 p.m. ground baiting session. Contrary to past experiences nothing seemed to be biting - again, probably due to the overcast conditions.
I reeled in so that I could have my tea and dream rather than concentrate on rod tip and line but then realised I had a Baitrunner reel and that I should try this feature. The bait was chucked in, the rod rested and I was sitting back enjoying my cuppa when the rod was violently pulled to the left and the reel screamed. The bank sticks almost gave way because they could not be driven in too deep. I snatch the rod and struck. BIG MISTAKE! I had forgotten to disengage the baitrunner and ended up with a birdsnest. I untangled the nest as fast as I could in the hope that the fish was still at the business end of the line but alas it wasn't.
Anyway, I bait up and chuck it in again. 20 or 30 minutes later the very same thing happens. This time I do it right and the fish is on. I bring it to the edge of the bank and it's the biggest mahseer I have caught - Prathap estimated the weight at 2 kgs. Now whilst I was in the process of giving Prathap the camera, I decided to give the fish a little slack so that its head could stay submerged. Second BIG MISTAKE. I did not check to see if it was well hooked and was left holding a limp line.
After this there was absolutely no action for almost two hours, so I packed up, had my dinner and left for Bangalore.....at a very sedate pace.
The tackle used: SureCatch 8' 2-piece heavy rod, Shimano 6500 A Baitrunner, 25 lb. mono and alternated between size 2/0 and 5/0 hooks.