I have written this report as it came to my mind and is not a complete field report in physical way...
It all started some days back, while night fishing in Powai with Santosh, Freddy and Vishal;- Jawed, a very good friend of mine and an angler par excelence, joined us. Gradually the discussion veered towards sea fishing. Jawed was interested to do some fishing in Indian Waters and try his luck. Within no time the plan was made that I, Jawed and Santosh will leave Mumbai on 5th Night and head towards the Konkan region. Freddy and Vishal showed there inability to join us due to some personal reasons but Fred, the good friend that he is, promised to arrange every thing in Vijay Durg.
I was very excited about this trip as I had some scores to settle with the fish of my dream, the Barramundi, as all previous once, I had hooked before, had some how managed to throw the hooks and left me with a feeling of defeat and emptiness.
The week prior to the D-day passed in a flash and we all were ready to embark on the journey we had so meticulously planed. It was our plan to leave Mumbai in the evening and reach Vijaydurg early in the morning and start fishing. Santosh was to act as the team leader and a spare driving help and when I called him up at 5-O’Clock in the evening, he informed that he is all packed and ready. Jawed was to meet me at 7-O’Clock in Powai and accordingly I left my house around 5.30 to reach Powai. On the way I received a call from Santosh and thought that he had forgotten some last moment detail and wanted to talk to me regarding that. As I picked up the phone, I was dumb founded to hear that Santosh was compelled to cancel his program due to some un-avoidable circumstances. I thought that he was joking but as he explained in a very grave and depressed voice, his reason for canceling, I knew it was beyond his power of control that he was canceling the trip. Uttering some words of consolation as they came to my mind, I asked him not to feel depressed and assuring that we will make some other program in future I disconnected the phone. I was so much dependent on Santosh for this trip due to his excellent knowledge of sea fishes that to us he was like a group leader. Now it was my turn to get depressed. It was only twice that I had gone on some serious sea fishing and both time Fred was there to guide me.
Collecting my thoughts and controlling my anxiety, I re thought the whole thing. The situation was not that bad after all. The ever pleasing and knowledgeable Bishwas was there to guide us and the only problem remaining was to arrange some other driving help. I called up Jawed and explained the whole situation and he immediately came up with a solution. He said he will bring along one of his friend, a good angler at that, who will assist in driving.
It was not before 8’ O-clock, that we were able to start from Powai and driving throughout the night, reached Vijaydurg early in the morning. We all were dog tired after a full night travel and no sleep, but the fresh air coming from the sea and the beauty of the landscape was enough to revive us. The ever welcoming Bishwas was there to welcome us and within no time we all were unpacking our rods and reels.
Unpacking our rods and reels
Despite the tiring journey, we all were eager to hit the water as soon as possible and as the sun was rising over the horizon; I was standing on the jetty admiring the landscape.
Sun rising over the horizon;
The mood of see was different from our two previous visits and despite my fear of accidentally being made team leader, I had my full faith in Bishwas. Though a great angler, Jawed had never done such kind of fishing and his experience was limited to deep see fishing, targeting Marlin and Yellow Fin Tuna, in Panama or some bait fishing near Mudh or Bandstand. The other angler, Salauddin was also totally in experienced in this kind of fishing and the tall tales of the great fishing in Indian waters, told to them during the journey of previous night, was coming back to haunt me.
I could see the anticipation on Jawed and Salauddin’s face as we started trolling. We trolled for almost three hours without any luck. We tried Popping on likely places, still without any luck. The sun went high and started beating down on us mercilessly and forced us to stop trolling and we came back to the base. The absence of any hit was worrying me but I was confident that we will catch some thing in the evening session. After a light meal and couple of hours sleep, we once again started our hunt and carried it out late in the night, still without any luck. Defeated and dejected, we called it a day.
The second day, as the son was rising, we once again boarded the boat with a new vigor and full of hope. We tried and tried, as instructed by the captain of the ship, Bishwas, different techniques and combination of lures, still without any luck. We Popped heavy Poppers on extremely promising places, till our arms refused to function. It was amazing to see Jawed casting his poppers with absolute precision and ripping them, jigging them and making them sing. The only thing attacking the popper was a pair of Osprey, and some time we had to manipulate the poppers by jerking them fast so as to save them from the hungry talons of two very determined aerial hunters.
The absence of any bite was now an embarrassment to me and by the look on the face of Bishwas, I also knew, he too was worried. Jawed, the good angler he is, never even hinted that he was disappointed, repeatedly emphasizing on the great pleasure he was deriving from the shear excitement of being on hunt, I was not feeling comfortable and wanted some action to happen soon. Silently I started praying. I noticed that as I was praying, the sea was becoming rougher. Through my soul, I even tried to communicate with the sea. I asked the sea that as the god has created it such a great provider to countless creatures, why he can not give us one fish. As to answer my silent prayers, suddenly my line went limp and as I reeled in to investigate, one big plastic came out with my lure. Removing the plastic from the lure, I put it in the boat itself and asked the helper not to throw it back in the sea. Same thing happened with Jawed and Salahuddin and they too did not throw the plastic back. It looked to me that the sea calmed down a bit after that and we were able to troll a little near the rocks. Some how I knew I was going to get a hit and it was not long before my line started screaming, and clearing the water jumped the fish of my dream, the Barramundi itself. Shivering with excitement and at the same time anxious, considering my previous four lost Barras, I fought the fish and brought it near the boat. As I was maneuvering the fish towards the landing net, the fish jumped and landed it self in the landing net!.
The fish jumped and landed it self in the landing net
Within no time Jawed also got a hit and without any problem landed a good red Snapper. I knew it was now Salauddin’s turn and true to my intuition, he also hooked and landed one GT.
Jawed also landed a good red Snapper.
Buoyed by our success we started fishing with a high sprit and I started trolling one big rabbit popper and as I was jigging the popper on the surface, something rose near the popper, some more jerks and pulls and something again hit the popper, and holding my breath, as I frantically made the popper dance on the surface, the GT took it.
GT took the Popper.
Though a small one, the catch was enough to trigger a celebration and as we celebrated the wind picked up and the swells started becoming bigger and bigger. The trance was broken and I knew it was fruitless to carry on fishing. Though happy we all were somber as we reached the base.
As we approached the Jetty for the evening session, the otherwise choppy sea was now roaring mass of huge waves and it was impossible to even think of going in side.
We decided to head up the estuary as the water was relatively calm over there and as we put our lures out Jawed got a hit immediately. As he reeled in, out came a small snapper, one thick line dangling from his mouth. We removed the lure and then inspected the line which was coming out from its mouth. The line was dirty with moss over it, clearly indicating that the hook was in the fishes mouth since long. As we inspected further we found the old rusted hook lodged deep in the neck. It was one of the most pitiful things I had ever witnessed and the correct thing would have been to cut the line from inside the mouth and release the poor thing back but like a fool we tried to remove the hook from its throat which ultimately killed the poor fellow.
The tide was coming in and it was sad to see the clean water of sea pushing back all the filth deposited in it by the dirty water of estuary. I knew the sea was fighting a loosing battle and even its might was insufficient to check the ever increasing pollution and indiscriminate exploitation of its resources. It was really saddening to see the mighty ocean fighting a loosing battle.
Once again I quietly started praying, not for any more fish for my ice box but for the collective sanity of human race, intent on destroying itself to satisfy its unending greed, without even giving a thought to the future generations. Suddenly, the sea decided to show us how things should be. As I came out of my thoughts I was amazed to see us trolling in clear wares and then the fishes started hitting us like mad. Salahuddin got the first hit, and landed a beautiful Barra. Within no time we were landing fishes like mad. As we trolled a stretch of not more than 100 mtrs., every run we were landing one fish.
It was madness, we started releasing them and they continued hitting our lure. Within 45 Minutes, we landed 14 fishes, including a 20lbs Barra and rest Mangrove Jacks. We got hit by huge Groupers, who ran like a mad and then took our lures and sat comfortably in their holes while we fought like mad to remove them, in the end loosing battle and our lures also. This was the true reflection how thing should be. The Sea showed us that if we control our greed, things can be made all right. If we do this or if we do that. It was a big IF which I was not able to answer. The answer should come from all of us- collectively and strongly, otherwise, the day will come when there will not be any turning back.
The fishes were still hitting when I stopped the fishing and headed back to the base. As we moved, I heard the waves breaking on the shore singing the song of sadness. Even in the estuary, The waves were rushing at us, full of anger, only to break on our boat, defeated but trying again and again, as if showing us how it should be. We must move and rush towards the wonton destruction and madness, even to loose our battle and then the next one, created by the breaking of first one should rush towards its aim, even again to loose but to start a chain reaction. That is the only way that all of us should rise like a small wave and try to push the filth out.
The last day was like any normal day and we caught some fishes and released them. Once again Jawed caught a good GT on Popper and Salahuddin caught a decent grouper. Jawed also caught on river barracuda. In the end we all were happy and content to have received nature’s bounty and experienced the true peace of mind.
Jawed caught a good GT on Popper
All in all the fish count was 30.
Barramundi (Ali) 18Lbs.
Barramundi (Salah) 21Lbs.
GT Up to 3 Kg. 3 Nos
Grouper 3 Kg/Small. 2 Nos.
River Barrcuda 1 Nos
Rest Red Snapper & Mangrove Jack up to 4 Kg.
I will post some more photographs later.