after a lot of cajoling and pleading this diwali it was decided that we would hit bhakra and try our hand at mahseer angling. i packed up what ever plugs i thought were ok and we reached bhakra on the 9th of november. we had rooms arranged at bhakra sadan and from there it was around 30 mins to the dam as such. seeing the clear blue water and the scenic route was really the stuff dreams are made of.
i had read that trolling was the way to go in bhakra and thats what i did after getting my permits. the boatman was a guy called Rajkumar and he was well versed in angling lore. as we reached the landing i thought i saw a lot of weeds in the water. closer inspection revealed them to be chilwa. i never saw so many small fish at one place prior to this. periodically they would leap out of the water and i was sure that they were being chased by mahseer.
one other angler was on the water and we exchanged a civil wave. then i got busy in setting up my rods and lost track of him. i was trolling two set ups
1) 30 lb braid with a short 50 lb floro leader on a penn slammer 560 coupled with an ugly stick bigwater tiger rod.
2) 20 lb braid with 30 lb leader on a silverado 4000 on a daiwa crossfire rod.
it was kind of pleasant for the first hour or so , feeling the sun on our face. the slight breeze but the lack of a bite played things down. i cycled through all the plugs i had and trolled each for over 20 mins but got no takers.
by now it was 2 pm and on one of our runs we passed the same guy i had waved to. he had a decent sized mahseer on tow behind him and had lost 2 more. i kept at it till 3 pm when i sent the rest of the crew(family ) as they were getting mutinous to visit the naina devi temple. after another hour proved fruitless i told the boat man reluctantly to head for shore. at the jetty the boatman and i made arrangements to meet up the next day. he then said that would i like to see how the locals caught mahseer. i said yes and he sent a guy to get him some pakora's . these he proceeded to cast and sent the chilwa into overdrive. they were soon joined by several mahseer which would just gulp down a chunk. i again started to cast spinners and spoons with no luck. then these guys started a blitz with their handline and caught a mahseer 2lbs or so and a pretty large mirror carp and couple of more fish within a span of 30 mins. i had enough by then and called it a day.
next morning we reached the spot and started trolling again. an exact rerun followed. since we had to leave for home by 12, we headed back to the landing and my brother told me to cast at a spot where the chilwa were particularly agitated. he had a halco wobbler tied in and his first cast got him a good sized chilwa. it was then a routine affair he and my better half catching a chilwa every other cast or so. i changed the wobbler for a mepps size 0 thunderbug and the the odds improved with every cast hooking up.
i was feeling that i would go back empty handed and noticed the only lure i had not tried a yozuri sashimi jointed 7 cm lure lying in the tackle box. i said why not and tied it on. on my 4th cast i felt a strong strike and could not believe it. fish on !
the fight was rather like a salty than a fresh water fish but the slammer reeled it in without any fracas.
the beauty was brought over the side of the boat and released after a photo session.
bro with his chilwa
the mahseer on handline.