Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Wetting a Line" India

Preston was out of school this past week, as the American School follows the US holiday schedule and people back in the states were celebrating Thanksgiving.

We took the time to escape the city and head to the mountains.....with some planned activities to celebrate Preston's birthday.

Jim Corbett National Park resides some 260 odd kilometers from New Delhi, and offers an amazing array of outdoor activities for those inclined to enjoy nature. One such activity was the opportunity for some a line!

It has been over a year that Preston and I shared some time on the water with fishing rods in our hands and trying to outsmart the fish. It was a great birthday gift for him and enjoyable for both of us.The hotel we stayed at arranged for a guide to take us to one of the two rivers available to us the Kosi and the Ramganga......of course I asked which one was the better of the two and we chose to drive the 55 km to the Ramganga.

The first stop was roadside in Ramnagar to pick up our guide Dinesh......the second stop was to purchase our fishing permit for the day.....then we made our way to a natural pool in the river.From the height of the road our guide pointed out some very large catfish and a crocodile that was sunning along the bank......the adventure was beginning already.

We made our way down the rocky wall of the river canyon to the bed and found the water to be crystal clear......just what you would expect to find in such an area and unlike the rivers much closer to Delhi. A short time after we arrived.....the first cast was made with some of the most antiquated equipment that I have ever held in my hand.....provided by our guide for 1500 rupees per rod.....approximately $30 US.

We were throwing a variety of spoons at first with not much luck.......and he then switched to fishing with bread.....chumming the water with some two day old hamburger buns and then baiting the hook with the brought back memories of when I used to fish in the pond with bread at my Uncle Charlie's or behind Prince of Peace Church in New Orleans. At that time, the sophistication of my tackle box was quite limited to some hooks and the most readily available source of bait.....worms, which you had to dig for, or Bunny Bread.After several hours, his method finally paid off......he and I ventured to a different area of the river, just past some small rapids......he chummed and the fish quickly started hitting the surface. A few minutes later, I had hooked my first fish in over a year.....and my first fish in India.

The species.....the "Mahseer" derives it's name from the Sanskrit words....."mahi" for fish......and "sher" which means tiger.

From the photographs you can see why the Mahseer is called the "Tiger Fish". It is truly a beautiful fish and a hard fighter...golden, bronze and striped.....just like a tiger!Now that Dinesh had put us on the fish, it was Preston's turn to catch.....and he did....his first fish in Indian water.....but unlike some of our past fishing trips, this time, mine was the larger of the two caught in the day.

We vowed to return.....with our gear.....both bait casting and fly rods......and we will once again find our way back to the Ramganga or Kosi, or some of the many other rivers in and around India for another chance at the mighty Mahseer!

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