A great many thanks to you all for such a warm welcome, it is appreciated.
Share some of your fishing experience. Would love to read it
Where do I start?! I've been fishing since I was 6 or 7 years old, worming for anything that inhabited my local pools and streams - trout, perch, roach, pike and eels being typical captures. On holiday I would fish for mackerel from my Uncles' boat or bass fom the beach and when I was without a rod and line I'd be rock pooling or turning stones in streams, constantly searching, some might say obsessed!
I'm fortunate enough, from an angling perspective, to live within a few miles of a great many lakes and the headwaters of one of Englands most famous rivers - The Thames, liquid history some call it.
As soon as I was old enough to be left to my own devices my parents would drop me off at the lakes to fish. I would spend the entire school summer holidays fishing for tench and in the winter I would have them take me to the rivers to catch chub, roach and the pike.
I carried on happily fishing away for years until at some point in my twenties I was struck with Carp Fever. This affliction narrows your mind and eats away at you until you can think of nothing but Carp! Every spare moment (and some not so spare moments!) was spent in pursuit of these creatures. Vast amounts of money disappeared on tackle and bait, not to mention the fuel costs and wear and tear on both vehicles and relationships. I survived though and even caught a few along the way!
It was during my time as a bank tramp (read carp angler!) that a picture appeared on my local tackle shop wall. There was a man, upto his waist in the water, straining to hold an enormous fish. To me it looked like a cross between a barbel and a carp. It was, of course, a Mahseer and the elation on the captors face was plain to see. A seed was sown.
Once the Carp Fever began to subside, my attentions turned back towards other species of fish and I started to travel further afield, looking for new challenges, new places to fish and new beers to drink! Barbel fishing has become a favourite pastime along with fly fishing small streams and rivers for brown trout. I still fish my local pools, funnily enough mainly for perch, roach and tench and I still fish my local streams for the brown trout, but I tend to steer clear of the busy carp stocked waters now.
I like to read a lot, and I have quite a collection of angling literature. Books on carp, books on pike, books on salmon, books on just about all sorts of fishing in the UK along with some describing angling opportunities overseas. One book I own stands out from the others - Somewhere down the Crazy River by Paul Boote and Jeremy Wade, maybe you've heard of it?!!
It has made me long to fish the Mahseer rivers. I long for the sights, the sounds, the smells and I long to feel the power of the fish themselves.
Until fairly recently I had suppressed this urge, believing it was just a pipe dream, unattainable and beyond my capabilities.
Then, one sultry afternoon last summer, a friend and I were led by our thirst to a small Beer Festival at a nearby pub. The ale was bright and refreshing and we stood outside marvelling at the beauty of the cotswolds in full summer leaf. Someone I recognised came into view, it was the man from the picture, the one with the Mahseer. I knew his name, we have many mutual friends. The beer gave me confidence and, quickly I struck up a conversation about fishing which immediately turned to Mahseer. By the time we stopped talking it was dark and an expedition to Nepal was now in the planning stages. Game on, as they say!
Since then dark nights have been spent around pub fires, planning, talking, testing rods and reels, examining spoons and plugs, ensuring we leave nothing to chance. There's not long to go now, the excitment is building.
Off to a big ditch with some Very wild fishes ... photos will surely follow..
With your guidance Rich, I have no doubt about that! Perhaps we can get a new one of you for the tackle shop wall..