Gavin Ridge Cooke wrote:
DK - One of the primary rules of fishing is to leave all expensive and costly accessories back at home..... including the wife !!!
When GRC wrote the above words, I am sure every one of us was shaking his head in acknowledgement. It so happened that my self and Santosh were forced to break this golden rule due to some unavoidable circumstances and I am happy that what once looked like a forced trip turned out to be one of the best fishing experience for me and I am sure Santosh will agree with the above. I am sure this is the first of the many more trips I will be doing with my family
This report is written by my wife Anjum
My First Sea Fishing Experience
It had been quite some time since the family had gone for a trip together. After innumerable requests, which gradually turned to subtle blackmail my husband finally agreed to take us along on his fishing trip. It was decided that ours and Santosh’s family would go together after Diwali for a nice fishing trip to a beautiful locale. After much deliberation on the pros and cons of each of their fishing haunts, Santosh and Ali decided that Vijaydurg would be the best place to take us. I, Shefali and the kids were all for it. (We didn’t mind any place as long as we could fish). Ali called up Fred and he was kind enough to arrange for the entire trip. Fred and Evewett were also to join us but they had to back out due to some unavoidable circumstances.
We decided to start early but as it happens, if traveling with children we cannot have an early start. We left Santosh’s house at about 11 o’clock in the morning. The day was quite hot but just after half an hour’s drive the journey became very pleasant and we all started having a very nice time.
WAY TO VIJAY DURG
The drive to Vijaydurg via the Pune Expressway is a joy in itself. After crossing Pune we passed through beautiful ghats, stopping at many places and admiring the scenery. We passed through bison and leopard territory near Kolhapur. We saw some monkeys and were hoping to sight some more wildlife but it seems that the bisons and leopards had sighted us and were not interested in an encounter.
We reached Vijaydurg at 11 o’clock at night, tired but also very excited at finally arriving. The kids ran out of the car to explore their new territory deaf to their father’s instructions that snakes could be lurking around the corners. Both Shefali and I found the lodge very comfortable and tastefully done and we were met by very hospitable people who had kept dinner ready. All of us immediately sat down for a delicious dinner. The talks revolved around fishing and the next day’s agenda.
VIJAY DURG JETTY
It was decided that Santosh and Ali would go without us for the early morning session of trawling. It turned out to be a good session with Ali landing four good-sized fishes and Santosh one small G.T. They decided to take us for the afternoon session at around 3 p.m. when the tide would just about to ebb.
KIDS GETTING READY FOR FIRST KILL
The early afternoon was spent in preparations of the rods and deciding which lures and tackles to take on the boat. Finally we left with three rods and seven very eager people to fish. (Ali, me, my son Shams, my daughter Nida, Santosh, Shefali, their son Shree, and also their toddler son Shuban). Our husbands had decided that it was our day to fish so very chivalrously they gave us the best seat on the boat along with the best rods.
The boat was trawling in the estuary. Though the sun was up and hot, there was a slight breeze blowing and the scenic beauty had driven all thoughts of discomfort even from the children’s mind. We saw shoals of small fishes jumping over the water and the children shouted in excitement.
VIEW OF ESTUARY
It was hardly any time before my husband got the first hit. He immediately gave the rod to me and guided me as how to fight the fish, first lift the rod, and then bend it and reel in at the same time. I must have done it correctly because after a few minutes out came a fish!
THE FIRST FISH
The excitement on the boat was heady. In hardly a matter of minutes, Santosh got the next hit. This time it was Shefali’s turn to be tutored and she passed with flying colors (or rather fish).
SHEFALI’S FIGHT & FISH
After that my husband gave the next hits to my son, daughter, and then to Shree and taught them how to land the fish.
We were told that the fishes were on a feeding frenzy and sure enough, three of the groupers we landed that day had live crabs in their mouths and were still greedy enough to bite the lures!
GREEDY GROUPER WITH CRAB IN ITS MOUTH
After that there was no looking back. Shefali and I both took the rods from our husband’s hands and decided we had learnt enough to fish for ourselves. And sure enough, after some time I got another HIT! I was so excited I was pulling and reeling in at the same time. Ali’s instructions were falling on deaf ears. I was only feeling the pull of the fish and trying to reel in as fast as I could. I didn’t want to lose my first hit. And luckily, out came the fish dancing on the surface of the water when I had the first glimpse of my catch. I learnt how to hold the line when the fish is still hooked to it and how to unhook the fish using pliers. The next fish I landed was so small I even removed it from the hooks (a feat my husband did not allow me to do before I saw how it is done).
After that my son could no longer hold his excitement and took the rod from my hands. He was sitting patiently for quite some time when he got a HIT! It was a big fish because the rod literally curved and my boy was fighting with all his strength to hold on to it screaming “Somebody save me!” When I touched his rod to help him, he didn’t let me! He wanted to fight it on his own. And sure enough, he succeeded and landed a decent-sized Red snapper. I haven’t seen a bigger grin on my son’s face than the one I saw that day!
SHAMS’ FIGHT AND CATCH
There was no lack of excitement on the other side of the boat too. Shefali also got a big hit. She fought it for some time but I guess it must have been a big fish because after fighting it for some time she lost it. Nevertheless, she enjoyed the fight thoroughly. Later she got another hit and this time when she was reeling in her fish, my son hooked a fish on the other side of the boat. WHOA! Out came two fishes from either side of the boat. My daughter Nida and Shefali’s son Shree were also not left out. The fishes seemed to oblige them too. They also hooked and landed two small groupers between them.
All in all it was a terrific trawling session. We landed thirteen fishes between us with my son catching four of them. We released all of them and returned to the lodge patting our backs and grinning from ear to ear.
SHUBAN’S FISH (From the jetty)
The next morning I didn’t let Ali go trawling without me. He told me the morning session is uncomfortable as they leave at daybreak without any breakfast and go far into the sea. The sun is also hotter and the boat rolls over more. But who was listening. I wanted to fish more and left off with them at daybreak. This time I had a rod to myself for the entire session. There was a cool breeze blowing and the sea was pretty calm. This time we went in the opposite direction from the previous day into the sea. We saw many trawlers netting over the horizon. I was praying for dolphin sighting but I guess I was not so lucky. My husband gave me a different lure this time stating that this will be a patience game and if I get a hit it will be a BIG fish. I was waiting patiently for a hit. Santosh was fishing from the front of the boat and Ali was on the other side. They were trying different lures but no action from the fishes’ side was taking place. After some time Ali got a big hit. His reel gave out the sound that is music to an angler’s ears. He pulled on his rod and lo! He landed a good size snapper! After that, between Santosh and Ali they landed six fishes. Though I didn’t even get a single hit in this session, it was not at all any less enjoyable. As Santosh remarked, catching a fish is just the icing on the cake. I totally agree with him. It is the entire process of going to fish territory and interacting with their habitat which makes angling such an enjoyable and addictive experience.
The next morning Ali and Santosh left for some serious fishing while we decided to visit the Vijaydurg fort. The fort of Vijaydurg is spread over seventeen acres of land. It was originally built 800 years ago on five acres of land. When it came under Shivaji Maharaj’s control he fortified twelve more acres to it and built additional structures. Although the fort is rundown, it is still an architectural marvel. It is built in a semicircle so that the entrances are hidden if one is approaching from the sea. It has three entrances and three strategically located exits. One of the exits is from the top of the fort wall, the other is from a hidden passage way that reaches the sea level. The last exit form the fort is from a tunnel that passes over a creek towards dry land. This exit has become blocked over the years and cannot be accessed anymore. There are many structures inside the fort which give an insight into the customs and traditions of that era. This fort is also the place where Helium gas was first discovered during a solar eclipse by a British scientist. The children got first hand information about a part of their country’s history and were very happy with the experience.
VIJAY DURG FORT
In the evening we decided to explore the beaches of Vijaydurg. We went to the beach adjacent to the fort. The children frolicked in the water and built sand castles. I and Shefali also sat down to play in the sand. The water was very clear and we could see shells and crabs getting washed ashore by the waves. We returned to the lodge at dusk half covered with sand after thoroughly enjoying ourselves on the beach.
FUN ON THE BEACH
After a quick shower all of us sat down for the last dinner at the lodge. The menu was fresh barbecued fish caught by Santosh in the morning for the table. We polished off the entire fish within minutes. The children went off to bed early while we all talked about the trawling session we missed that day.
YUMMYY FOOD COURTSEY SANTOSH
This session was also more successful for Ali that it was for Santosh. Altogether, we managed to catch 35 fishes in three days. The score was Ali – 15, Santosh – 7, Shams – 4, Myself – 3, Shefali, Nida, and Shree – 2 each. All of us wholeheartedly agreed that this was one of the most enjoyable trips we have had.
SOME MORE CATCHES
The next morning we left Vijaydurg at 9 o’ clock after a light breakfast and saying our thanks and goodbyes to the extremely nice people at the lodge. We wanted to reach Bombay without any unnecessary delay but fate had different plans. On the ghats our car broke down. It was a Sunday and there were no towing machines or mechanics easily available. After hours of organizing Ali and Santosh finally managed to arrange for a tractor to tow the car to a garage. We all bundled up in Santosh’s Scorpio and made an extremely ‘delay-ful ‘ journey back to Mumbai arriving at 4 o’clock the next day. But even this hitch could not dull the pleasure this trip has given us and has converted all of us into eager anglers.