The Kingfish Story
By Patrick Kerr
Whenever I'm in Goa I meet up with Daniel Moses; he's my fishing buddy.
Daniel has this great 'secret'… the "Mango Jungle Lodge" at Vijay Durg. A couple of years ago we both drove there one summer's day by starting out at 5am to reach Vijay Durg at 10. We drove fast, traveling north from Goa and into Maharasthra, through some of the finest Alphonso Mango country in the world.
It's difficult to describe Vijaydurg as one would surely take away from the spectacle. You need to visit it yourself to enjoy and understand its unique beauty.
But let me try… From the Mango Jungle Lodge perched high up on a hill, one looks down onto a calm bay surrounded by hills & thick jungle. The tops of the hills are fortified with the ramparts of one of Shivaji's strongholds. You don't see the Arabian Sea from here as it's behind the hill on which the Mango Jungle Lodge is built.
Driving down the road, you are dwarfed by a huge fortress standing tall over the little fishing village and right at the edge of the sea. The massive stone walls pockmarked with cannonball fire, a moat & drawbridge, discarded cannons scattered around, complete the medieval picture.
Walking around to the other side of the fortress one finally reaches the Arabian Sea. Fierce surf crashes against the ramparts and smashes against the pointed chunks of masonry constructed to break any enemy warship or landing craft that as foolish enough to attack from the seaward side. The sea hurls itself against the ramparts, throwing up huge splashes of spray that reach halfway up the stone walls of the fort.
Daniel's boatman, Vishwas, was waiting for us at the waters edge but we were not fishing today, this was just a 'show' trip for me. We cruised around in the bay & then headed out to the open sea. Daniel kept up a monolog: "We caught Barracuda here… a big Estuary Perch there… Trevally Jacks there…. This is a good spot for Kingfish… I'm looking for a Tuna run out there…" I was all ears, absorbing this wealth of information from Daniel, enjoying the fresh, clean sea breeze and the gentle bucking of the boat as we sped over the waves.
"This place is amazing", I said to Daniel. "Yes" he agreed "I've just started it up but I bring only a very few select clients here". "I'm very confident about getting fish & I've got a written policy for my clients…" continued Daniel: "No Bite. No Charges!"
And then, a few days ago, I get this mail from Freddy Divecha who lives & works in Mumbai. Freddy is a great fisherman, a biking enthusiast – he rides a Suzuki 650 for fun on weekends when he can't fish – he's a regular at the Mango Jungle Lodge and – most importantly - is a very good human being… and now it's time to share Daniels secret...
This is Freddie's story…
It was the fourth day of our fishing trip to Vijay Durg at the beautiful "Mango Jungle Lodge" situated high above the Vijay Durg Bay . We had not caught anything of note save for some Trevally and Red Snapper in the 12 pound range and some Reef Cod and Grouper in the 10- 15 lb range .
I call Danny Moses, the owner of the lodge and a dear friend and ask his recommendation on where do we fish tomorrow since its low tide. His reply was "Fish the outer reef with large lures".
Vishwas , our man Friday and boatman comes to the room at 0430 am and tries to wake me up . I have Sivamani doing a drum solo in my head and all I want to do is just curl up and go to sleep again. But again comes the dreaded knock on the door and the voice says "It is time… "
So I reluctantly pull myself out of bed and struggle to the bathroom and get under a cold shower. Some breakfast and a few aspirin later I'm ready to get on to the boat …….and do what I wanted to do in bed … sleep… till we reached the fishing waters.
An hour later I wake up like Cinderella … all fresh and eager to get into some fish. The guys on the boat that day were Gary, my friend from Ottawa and Robert his brother in law from Austria.
We trolled that day from 0600 to 1000 hrs without a nibble or a strike and it was hot, humid and the water was like … glass. My friend in my head, Sivamani, was beginning to start warming up with a few drum rolls
I asked Vishwas to get back to the reef. We took the lines and lures out of the water and took of. The increased boat speed gave us some respite from the heat with some cool breeze. To make things worse the other two guys had fallen asleep on the boat. Just as we neared the reef I asked Vishwas to slow down and I put the rods out in the rod-holders and lures into the water.
Five seconds into the run... the rod on the right jerks violently in the rod-holder and I'm up in a flash and take it up . I take up some slack and then yank back to set the hook and this huge, huge… thing… that just comes out of the water 10 feet from the boat… so close that you can see the lure across the cavernous mouth .
I shout and say aloud "Record fish! "… Everyone on the boat is up and awake.
First run... A slow 150 meters of line stripped out and she's fighting deep.
I'm almost down to the backing on the reel.
I ask Vishwas to start reversing the boat towards the fish to try and get some line back.
A good 15 minutes later I have got back around a 100 meters of line.
She starts circling the boat deep and I'm able to get back most of my line.
Its 25 minutes into the fight and the muscles on my back are aching.
She surfaces near the boat, takes one look at my contorted face and then this time goes of like an express train.
Another 200 meters of line screams out.
She then rises and fights on the surface, circling the boat till I bring her in close.
It's now around 45 minutes into the fight and she is now below the boat.
I try to lift her up by lightly holding the drum of the reel and… "Bang!"… the rod tip breaks... Im left fighting the fish with ¾ of a rod.
Vishwas the boatman jumps next to me with a leather glove on and waits for me to bring up the leader wire. Once I do that Vishwas gets a hold of the leader wire and wraps it around his gloved hand. I take the gaff and gaff the fish in the first go and try to pull the fish into the boat but the fight has left me with no strength in my arms. With some help from Gary and Robert on the gaff we finally pull the fish into the boat. In all the excitement I had forgotten to put on the fighting belt and had fought the fish all of 45 minutes with the rod tucked into my hip
We then immediately pack up and start heading back to the rest of the drunkards back at the lodge to start the celebrations once again
Rod : Captain Harry's .. Florida
Reel : Penn Spinfisher 8500 SS
Line : Power Pro Braid 50 lbs test
Leader : Berkeley 60 Lb test
Fish : Black King Fish ( Cobia )
Weight : 92 Lbs ( 42 kgs )
Date : 1st April 2006 ( April Fools day )
Time 10:05 am
Angler : Freddie Divecha
Place : Mango Jungle Lodge ( Vijay Durg )