Im sure we must have not been the only anglers who targeted the long Republic day weekend . We too , that is myself , Ali and my friend Wayne decided well in advance that we would also travel to Durg to have a nice long weekend of fishing provided the lodge was not booked for charters , which in fact it was .
After a lot of shifting the existing charters around my friend said he had managed to switch some of the charters to accommodate us from the 23rd to the 26th ..- 4 days of bliss and targeting the fish
We did not know whether we would get the train tickets because we had got the confirmations on availability at the lodge just 2 days prior to our departure. After a lot of pulling strings in a few lofty places I was able to get us tickets on 22nd afternoon to Mangalore !!!!! .. paid in full but we were getting off at Kudal ….. now that takes some planning . and return tickets on 26th Night arriving Mumbai on 27th early morning - - and then straight to work .
So .. im sitting in my car on the way back from work on 21st ,,, called my Dad … got him packed for an early departure the next day with the driver with all the tackle etc ,,
My Dad left on 23rd Morning with the car and we anglers left for Kudal with tickets booked till Mangalore at 1400 for a ETA at Kudal @ 1020 pm.
Took some real nerves and reckless driving to reach on time a, Met Ali ,boarded the train and sat chatting all the way too the west coast .
Train as usual was running late and the scheduled arrival was at 1130 pm. Wayne had this bright idea of getting down at a station before Kudal and calling the driver back to where we get off .. SO the train went into the siding @ Nandgoan station and Wayne sprints to the Station masters cabin ,,, whistles and says to get off … Mad scramble later we are off @ Nandgoan station , called the driver and waited … the driver had to drive back 65 kms to the station and when he did he could not find the station for an hour so we three troopers ,, with all the stuff started to walk a kilometer in pitch darkness to the SH highway to meet the driver – Finally met the driver and we were on our way and reached Durg at 2 am .
Day 1 : Morning session : Wake call 530 am on the boat @ 6 am … lures in the water @ 0615 . Water was crystal clear , no strikes for the 1st 3 hours .. Then I suggested we changed lures to natural colors … Ali gets the 1st big hit … Must have been a real biggie fish on , .. Ali’s Riptide rod which is most probably a 40 – 60 is bent along with Ali so that they looked like one …line snapped clean in the centre … reason .. Jammed drag on the Penn Commander .
Got rigged up again and I got a huge hit on the X rap deep …. And got cut off in 10 seconds flat …. 2 big fish gone in a space of 5 minutes
Day 1 : Evening Session : Fished the fort and Wayne picked up a Reef Cod of around 6 lbs and a snapper of 4 pounds .. Fished the fort late into the evening in the hope of latching onto a Barramundi or a Cuda but no such luck .
Wayne with Snapper
Day 2 : Morning session : Jetapur and Muzza Kazi – Water once again crystal clear no luck .. except for 5- 6 small size groupers which were promptly released . I tried popping from the boat towards the rocks at Muzza Kazi and drop offs but had just a couple of GT rises that did not connect. Towards around 10 am decided to try the Jetapur lighthouse side and myself, Ali and Wayne all hooked into 6 to 7 grouper in the range of 5 to 10 lbs which were now kept for the pot . On the way back we decided to try some spot across the lodge in the bay and whilst popping I hooked a GT of around 6 lbs .
Trolling late into the afternoon in the Durg bay area and I hooked into a something big that took of like an express train in the 1st run and then sat down .. I knew it was a grouper from the way it was fighting deep but after a backbreaking but short fight of around 15 minutes we all saw the fish at the depth and it looked Huge … Gaffed the fish cleanly through the mouth and looking at the size we decided to release the fish . One problem no weighing scale , So we started the boat and rushed back to the jetty to get the scale and get the fish weighed . The fish weighed in at 20 kgs and that was a new personal best for me .. Hand shakes and wishes – fish was revived and released . – The Durg jetty I believe now has a new monster resident
Evening session : Fished the reef till sundown – No luck … then came inshore and Ali was looking somewhere else and a nice Barra takes his lure and clears the water . I pick up his rod but by the time I can even do anything the fish slips off
Running late in the evening around the fort . I hook into a nice Barracuda which weighs in at 14 lbs
Day 3 Morning Session : Wayne is unwell and decides not to come for the morning session , His brother in law Amol who has come in from Goa on his way to Mumbai decides to take his place on the boat . We fished the drop offs trolling and I decided to pop the drop off , Had six to seven rises and pulled out two GT .. One around the 9 lbs mark and another smaller one around 4 to 5 lbs.
Then on a fancy I decided to head out to the reef and try the large poppers . Once we reached the reef I set up 2 large poppers on the side rods at a distance of around 60 meters back and slipped in the Large Halco Laser Pro 2 metre lure just below the poppers with the reasoning that if something came up to check out the poppers they would see the laser pro and strike that . 10 minutes into the troll the large laser pro took a hit , drag released , missed take , hit again , drag released , missed connecting , third hit , connected and a large run of around a 100 metres .. After a 20 minute fight with 3-4 high jumps right out of the water …. pulled out a beauty of a Queenie that weighed in at 25 lbs … I was in heaven ….. the exhilarating runs of a large Queenie out did even the Rawas just for sheer speed and consistency of the run .
We rigged up the side rods with Laser pros so that all three rods were fishing the same length and trolled at around 7 knots in a large circle in the same area . 5 Minutes into the run Ali get a strike ,,, missed connecting ,, a second later I get a hit ,, fish on ,,, Amol was pulling in his line and he gets a large hit ,,, Fish on … Double strike ….. I decided to keep my fish out till Amol landed his fish … High jumps and a couple of searing runs later Amol had his Queenie at the boat . I handed my rod to the boat man and gaffed the fish .. nice 22 lbs ..Ali in the meantime decided to do an impromptu jig with the fish at his feet jumping all around … lures going all over the place and the helper on the boat going at the fish near Ali’s legs with a large wooden baton … I was Hysterical and so was Vishwas the boatman .. I just had to hold on the chair with the rod in one hand , fish one the line … or else I would have fallen into the ocean .. anyways ..fish was brought near the boat and gaffed . Weighed in at 24 lbs
Tried some more trolling for an hour with a promise that the next queenie’s would be strictly catch and release but no more luck . packed and went back to the lodge for a photo session
My Dad posing with my two 24 lbers with some help from Wayne
Day 3: Evening , Wind had picked up and the water was rough . Went across to the reef to check any queenies around but no luck . Came inshore and Wayne had a hit and had a good fish on but the wire leader snapped in the centre.
Tried trolling the fort and Ali got into a nice Barracuda and landed it . Weighed in at 12 lbs
Day 4 : Decided to relax and enjoy ourselves by sleeping late .. having a heavy breakfast , some beers in the afternoon , good lunch , sleep and then to the station for our overnight train back home
The trip was great specially for the kind of fishing and quality of large game that we landed and released. I personally set out to target and catch a large GT ( encouragement and envy ---- courtesy Mr Jeen and his merry men ) but …….
I think I did pretty Ok with my PB Grouper in at 44 Lbs and 2 PB Queenfish @ 24 lbs each … not to mention the joy of stalking the GT’s with a popper with fairly good success on Ali’s light rod and small reel
Next trip GT , large ,,, …. Just need to get me one of those 30 – 40 kgs monsters
Alibhai … u on ?????
PS: I am just posting a few snaps of the trip … Rest Alibhai will post . Alibhai hope this report meets youre expectations ... pls feel free to add / any insights , memories that you have or that i have missed out ....besides your migraine -- courtesy - a very light Vodka @ 1 am at Nandgaon station