The first time i set foot in Sangam in 1982, i was greeted by Subhan and Bola as i got off the bus with my light spinning rod. I was asked to show them my license which i knew nothing about, and then advised to go back to Bangalore and visit the WASI office and become a member which i did the day after.
Meanwhile they were curious to see my fishing rod, and sadly shook their heads when i produced my prized possesion.
"Saar yeh rod dus piece main toot gayaga" said Subhan. Jeez guys, i have come to catch fish not crocs.
OK said Bola, tomorrow we will show you. I slept the night on the sands of the Arkavathi, and they were at my side at the crack of dawn with a ragi ball that could have passed off for a cannon ball.
We crossed the Arkavathi river and walked about 4 km down river and then started crossing many streams that were waist deep till we got almost to the other bank of the river and into the main channel.
By this time, I was breathing hard and covered in water and sweat.
Bola told me to relax, while Subhan produced a roll of 40lb line from his pocket, and a strip of lead. Bola pulled out a 8/0 O'shaunnesy hook, and out went a ball of ragi that could have stunned a croc to a spot about 50 ft away in this narrow swift flowing channel that was bordered by rocks on both banks. You could hear the tremendous thunder of water to your left, and straight ahead.
I thought to myself " God where have they brought me", "Do they really think they can land a fish here".
Meanwhile Subhan had taken up the slack on the line and held his arm out, balancing the line on the tip of his finger.
We lit up beedies, and puffed, when suddenly Subhans hand surged forward, and in a flash he struck, but gave very little line to the fish. I could hear the line sing in the morning breeze, a sound that still makes my hair stand and brings back old memories.
Subhan fought the fish within the confines of the channel for a few minutes, while Bola slipped into the water and brought the fish out.
It was a golden mussullah of around 40lbs, and i was left speechless.
The fish was released back into the river, and i was hooked for life.
Thus began my long association with Subhan and Bola.
We fished together many times, and i learnt what i know from them.
I made it to almost every family wedding and celebration in their village for years, till they both parted ways.
May his soul rest in peace !