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!

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