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Mahseer Madness

Adrian, Neil and I have just returned from one of the most outrageous trips to southern India, danger and serious peril never far away, stunning scenery, great weather and some rather fine fishing.

We spent a week with Dave Plumber, head guide with at one of the few jungle camps on the river Cauvery, about three hours drive south of Bangalore.

We arrived in the early hours and threw our kit into our tents, tackled up and headed to the river, great to be back and with no expectations for the trip (apart from having a lot of fun!) to our surprise within hours of arriving we had all caught a Mahseer and I recall Neil having a fish of around twenty pounds and a stunning Golden Mahseer a little smaller.

Then the fun began, several lost fish on our first guided morning, the usual yellow chips for lunch, and the three of us were back out at the hottest part of the day, fishing….That’s what we do….

I had an incredible take in some fast water on hard Raggi, fished on the new rig we came up with to aid hooking, we called it “The Claw” first take, nearly spooled me (Neil did an awesome job paddling the Coracle, and Adrian took some stunning pictures) as we headed down river………Soon after leading the fish to a beach like a tired Tarpon Neil had the huge fish safely on a stringer, weighed and ready for a few pictures a great team effort, that’s what mates are for…………We laughed and went for a cold drink after she was released!


Most of the camp was buzzing with the knowledge that a big fish had been caught, it took a while to sink in, and I had ticked a box, a box I never expected to tick, possibly the biggest box in any one’s angling lifetime………I was very, very happy………

I failed to get a bite for the next couple of days, then totally out of the blue whilst tied up in the coracle near a very large rock I had a slow take, and realised I was in over my depth, what ever I had hooked was seriously in control, and as it towed me towards some nasty rocks, fast water and a long way from the bank I quickly realised that for the first time ever in my angling career I was actually frightened……

I shouted to Adrian to bring his coracle over to help, he did and was soon tied alongside, time was ticking on, over half an hour and NO sign of the fish, I wound down thinking I could get the fish up for a closer look…..Bang….The rod broke leaving me playing the monster on just the butt section, we now had “WAKE” as we were towed upstream……

Twenty minutes later we were gaining control, well as much as you can with a very short rod, short pumps, up she comes, what?????? strange head…..Legs…OMG its a a twelve foot angry Mugger CROC, Adrian jumped, I freaked, it missed us by feet, I broke the line, **** that was close…..We went for a beer and I took the rest of the day off!

The weather was pleasant, “good beach weather” as we said, anyone fancy fishing, oh go on then, whatever it was it was always a good sign….Aint that right Dave……. We had a few more fish and some different species.

We headed well downstream of “CROC rock” (I am never going fishing there again!), and found a cracking mark, dusk was approaching and the sounds of the jungle were amazing as it got really dark, we sat quietly, Adrian was playing with his “night vision scope” nothing better than getting really scared!

We were willing a big fish, one was on the cards, “Crack” what was that???? Crack, I looked at our guide he looked concerned, (our worst fear) “Elephant Sir” (not a good sign) then a trumpet, another broken branch, Adrian trying to focus the “night scope” and the guide trying to start a fire to deter what was now a serious situation, “Tusker sir”, “very dangerous” again in as many days we are in a spot of bother, and this time I was so scared I was shaking, trying to hide behind small rocks, thankfully we made it back to the camp, oh then there were the Panther prints in the sand in the morning, Elephants at the camp and a visit from a COBRA………Happy days……

We made it back to the chaos of Bangalore, and a celebratory meal, curry of course…….Thanks to Dave Plumber a legend!

Electric fishing course

As we all know electricity and water can be a lethal combination, and working with the two together needs to be done safely!

We have many, many years experience between us, and I like to think a lot of knowledge, but as our client database increases and we get more and more involved in electric fishing survey work and monitoring of river enhancements we are always keen to move with the times and review and update our skills, techniques and safety.

Today we attended a fairly vigorous course at the Fish Laboratory, East Stoke, Dorset with the and I am pleased to say we all passed our exams……We are all qualified up to EA standard.

Many thanks to Bill and Luke!


Frome & Piddle & West Dorset Fisheries Assocaition AGM.

The Annual General Meeting of the Association will be held on Thursday the 28th of April 2011, at East Stoke River Laboratories. Click here for directions & map

Your Committee has been busy over the past year and will be reporting on the progress of all the projects.


There will be raffle on the night to defray the cost of the AGM. So if you have any prizes to donate contact Clive Thorp or just bring them along on the night.


Food and wine will be available after the meeting so a small charge of £6.50 will have to be made.

Everyone is welcome to attend: Please email the Honorary Secretary for more details

Guest Speaker

Professor Ken Whelan, Research Director

Ken has been a keen angler since he was very young, and he has fished extensively all over the world from Alaska to the Kola Peninsula and from Belize to Kenya and Mongolia.

He studied Zoology in University College Dublin in the early 70’s, before joining the Inland Fisheries Trust Incorporated in 1975, and working with them until 1980. During this time he completed a Ph.D. study on the biology of Irish ephemeroptera (mayflies). Ken became a Director of the Marine Institute in Ireland in the late 90’s. He was recently appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Biology and Environmental Science at University College Dublin.

From 2004 until 2008 Ken was President of NASCO, and he is currently Chairman of the International Atlantic Salmon Research Board. He has published extensively both in the scientific literature and in the popular press, and has over 100 publications, reports and books to his credit. His book The Angler in Ireland – Game, Coarse and Sea (1989) is considered one of the most detailed works on Irish angling yet produced. He has also produced, scripted and presented many films and videos on various aspects of Irish fisheries and is a regular radio contributor to wildlife programmes.

He is a holder of the STANIC (Salmon and Trout Association National Instructors Certificate) qualification in salmon and trout angling instruction and of the National Angling Guide Certificate (NAGC). He is also a member of (GAIA), the Game Anglers Instructors Association.

Count down

Almost to the year, a bunch of us landed in southern India and set out on an angling adventure that I have to say kept you awake at night, and if you did manage to sleep it was not for long, danger was never far away…….We survived, and on our departure I bought a book all about the SNAKES in the area we were camping, I HATE SNAKES!!!!!!!

Next weekend we head back in search of the mighty Mahseer, and more adventures!

Phase one…

Today we were all out in the glorious February sunshine, and it did feel like spring, or at least the start of it!

We were working on a rather fine urban stream enhancement project, that we looked at just before Christmas, there were five of us working on opening up the river bank at least so that the local public can begin to enjoy the area, and of course the water and its wildlife, this is phase one….

A habitat survey, and lots of before and during pictures, and five people seriously passionate about their “riverworks”!