Tuesday, May 19, 2009

India part 3: Cauvery river

After getting brutalized by the Ramganga mahseer for 9 days I flew down to Bangalore to meet with my friend Bopanna and fish the Cauvery at his super secret location. Bopanna runs indianangler.com, a fishing forum that is a great reference for fishing in India.

Bops picked me up from the airport and we drove for several hours straight to the river. Bopanna figured we had just enough time to fish a few hours in the evening before we settled into the cabin. We unpacked a couple rods and as many plugs, borrowed a boat, and set out into the calm water. Just a few casts towards the bank and I hooked into a nice mahseer of eight pounds; landed, photo, release. That felt nice. Fifteen minutes later I repeated the process with its twin. Starting to feel really good. We fish another hour or so and right before dark I hook into a nice size mahseer. My knots hold, I manage to keep the fish out of the snags and it isn't long before the fish is brought up along side the boat. The fish looks to me to be about 20 lbs. This is a respectable mahseer. I slept well that night. Over the next five days, neither Bopanna or I landed a fish over 20 inches.
There is a big difference in color and shape between the mahseer of the north and those of the south. These southern fish are a bit thicker in the middle and have a hump behind their head. A twenty pounder is a good fish. I believe Bopannas best is 43 lbs. Traditionally these fish are caught on large balls of paste bait, but my friend specializes on getting these fish on lures. These fish can get to over a hundred pounds.
Bopanna's cabin sits in the middle of several coffee plantations. It's comfortable, quiet and the river is just out the gate.
It looks like a lake, but this is actually the river. Quite a contrast between fishing in the north. This fishery is more like bass fishing. Your looking to cast around structure and under trees. Once hooked, the big challenge is keeping them out of all the snags, so stout tackle is a must.
In the mornings I experimented with the fly rod a bit. I managed to catch some fish on flys, but all were small. Still fun though. I can't wait to return next year with some proper streamers and a ten weight.
I had to work for this little devil. He took a muddler right off the surface and then came straight for the log I was standing on. I had to dive into the water and untangle the line and pull him out. I wasn't very comfortable up to my neck in muddy crock infested water.

On our last day Bopanna arranged some fishing in a nearby reservoir for murrel (or snakehead). Originally I had planned on fishing most of the week for murrel, but he had some access issues with his normal murrel fishery. It turned out to be an enjoyable day and I caught numerous small snakehead on lures and flys. While I was taking the above picture, Bopanna was working on catching the below. This is a really big snakehead. I don't remember our final guess as to the weight, but it was monstrous.
If you are interested in fishing for mahseer in India, definitely look up Bopanna at mahseerangling.com

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