Thursday, 4 February 2010

6th November – Mahseer at last...

I woke at first light following a restless night of angst-ridden dreams about chickens and rapids. I could hear Rup stirring in his tent but other than him and me, no-one else was awake yet. In the dawn half-light, I took my rod and cast a black and gold spoon into the eddy pool where Rup had caught his fish yesterday. On the third cast, I felt a thump as a fish grabbed my spoon 20m out in the river. It felt like a good fish and fought well as others were stirred awake by the commotion of an angler playing a fish by the camp. It was a good mahseer of 21lbs which I tied onto a stringer next to Rup’s from yesterday.
Everyone was up now and fishing as the pool seemed to be yielding results. Rup hooked a fish on a jointed plug but lost it soon after. I moved over to fish the fast shallow water where the rapid falls into the eddy pool and hooked a fish that also felt good. I leant hard against the fish to set the hooks for a few seconds and then all went slack. I reeled in to find that one of the split rings and trebles on the jointed plug had been pulled completely off. The hooks were barbless so the fish would have shed it quickly but it was annoying just the same. The eddy pool action eventually fell quiet so we stopped for breakfast and then anglers headed off in various directions to find new water to fish as the heat of the day took hold.
After lunch Nino took Bob, Sanjay and Billie on one raft to allow them to cast against the deep water by cliffs on the far side of the eddy pool. They drifted into the main current and then came back around in the eddy pool a few times before Nino dropped them ashore on the far side. Sanjay and Bob both caught smallish Boca which they brought back for supper.
Arun’s raft was dragged onto the sandy beach and deflated. The metal frame that Dhiraj had smashed into was bent so it was dismantled and straightened. After letting the raft dry out, the puncture was located and a patch glued into place. The raft was left deflated for the rest of the day and only partially inflated in the evening to test the leak.
Phil had been galvanized into fishing by the action of the last couple of days and we helped get him a rod and reel set up. Billie had given him a reel to use but unfortunately the reel handle had lost an important screw that stopped the handle from falling out when it was being used. We tried various things to fix it but they kept breaking. Eventually, I whittled a small piece of wood into a thin screw-like shape and fixed a plastic disc to one end so it looked like a large drawing pin. This was screwed into the reel handle and seemed to work, as long as Phil was gentle with it.
Rup and I walked upstream to fish the confluence and the rapids above it. Rup landed a 3lb Boca which he killed for the pot and then lost a 5lb mahseer after a short fight. I had three takes on my jointed plug but never managed to see the fish as they all came off.
We all came back to camp for supper and got another fire going. Nino deep fried the Boca that we had caught and it tasted delicious. Rum was now being rationed because last night’s stress-busting alco-fest (combined with all the other nights where rum and whisky was consumed with wanton abandon) had severely impacted our supplies.
We all slept relatively soberly for the first time this trip. Even Dhiraj’s snoring, which would normally reverberate around the camp and ward off tigers, leopards and other wild beasts, was subdued.

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