I joined Indian Angler several months ago looking for information about possible places to fish after moving from the UK to Bangladesh. I was pointed in the direction of Mr Lakhyaman’s thread about his fishery and added a couple of comments and was very pleasantly surprised when he got in touch and invited me to spend a weekend sampling the fishing at his lake on a tea estate. I promised to write up our trip as a report for the forum and the results are below.
We arrived around lunch time on Friday just after a downpour, and began fishing. Although a few fish showed on the surface from time to time the action was decidedly slow. Lakhyaman explained that tea grows in very acid soils, meaning that run-off following heavy rain lowers the lake’s pH, and puts fish off the feed. Although we fished until late, all that resulted was a rohu and a mrigal, each around 2kg, both of which fell to the rod of Mr Lakhyaman’s brother in law.
The most exciting event of the evening was when one of Lakhyaman’s rods was dragged into the water and towed halfway across the lake (we suspected a large Pangas catfish to be the culprit). The rod was recovered with the aid of a large treble hook, and after some time spent untangling a large bird’s nest the fish was found to be still attached, but it made a bee-line for a large sunken branch and managed to free itself.
The next morning in order to raise the pH to a more fish friendly level Lakhyaman ordered his staff to carry out the most unusual ground-baiting campaign I have ever heard of - namely dumping 800kg of lime into the lake by boat!!
I have to admit to being somewhat doubtful about whether this tactic would pay off quickly enough to yield results in the time we had left, but when we resumed fishing after a leisurely breakfast the change was immediately apparent – the litmus paper indicated a rise in pH, fish were visibly more active, and the bites began immediately.
At this point I should mention briefly the tackle that we were using as it was, to me anyway, somewhat unusual, being a sort of fusion of Bengali and British equipment and methods.
This consisted of a 12 or 13 foot float rod coupled to a fly fishing reel, with a sliding peacock quill float that cocked against a stop-knot tied with rubber band. A small running weight was used to pin the bait to the deck and hold the float in position, and a very short soft braided hooklink completed the setup. We fished just beyond the rod tip, giving sensitive bite indication and good sport whenever a fish was hooked
This was not long in coming, and another of Lakhyamn’s guests was the first in with a lively rohu of a kilo or so. This signalled the start of a hectic period of activity, and Mr Mintu, another fishing friend was next in line finding himself attached to a good catla which stripped yards of line off a lightly set clutch, and rounded a bend in the lake, forcing him to take to the water in a boat in order to land it.
I followed with my first ever kalabaush which put up a lively scrap after being hooked just under the rod tip on a bunch of ant eggs. Not to be outdone Mr Lakhyamn followed up with a run of fish that included a nice brace of mrigal, the biggest catla of the day at around 5kg, and a couple of small but very spirited rohu.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend and I’m very grateful to Indian Angler for making the connection possible, and of course especially to Mr Lakhyaman for kindly inviting me to sample the fishing and being such a generous host