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 Post subject: Fishing the Caspian
PostPosted: Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:37 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Time is moving on and I thought I had better put some of my fishing memories on paper.

This relates to my first fishing forays in Iran during the 1970's at a place named Bandar Pahlavi (Bandar means port or Harbour in Farsi) on the Caspian Sea.

There was a beautiful shikar lodge there, nestled next to a large freshwater
Lake where hunters would go duck shooting in the winters and fishing in the summer.

The lake was full of pike, perch ( also called redfin) and enormous catfish.

The lodge provided boats and a guide who would accompany you for the activity chosen, in my case it was fishing with a guide named Bashir who
has probably gone to heaven by now as he was in his late 50's at that time.
He used to scare the daylights out of us by smoking endless cigarettes
Next to the petrol tank for the outboard motor!!

My tackle consisted of a very cheap fiberglass casting rod mated to a Zebco
Overhead (enclosed) reel, mono line of maybe 8 lb. and I think 3-4 lures
Of good quality.

There were 2 Mepps spinners, which cost about 6 rupees each at that time!
As well, I had the original red and white stripe Daredevle spoons which were
to prove deadly on the pike.

In those days, one did not get cheap copies of lures made in China , it was
all original stuff at reasonable prices

The Mepps accounted for dozens of perch, which were taken back to Teheran
And then grilled on the coals for a memorable meal.

It took me a long time before I caught a pike, mainly because these were lurking in the thick weeds and I was afraid to cast in there for fear of losing my few lures.

When at last I caught one of about a foot in length, my joy knew no bounds!

The catfish were another story as the bait was live frogs caught on the lake shores by the local kids.... The fish were of enormous size and we never
landed any. I still remember one powerful take to this day which was unstoppable and I can only imagine how large that fish might have been.

We made several trips to that shikar lodge over the years, never realizing
that one day all that would end and life in Iran would never again be the same.

Somewhere in my storage I have super8 movies of those trips but I am
reluctant to take them out as the memories may be a bit painful.

The Caspian Sea by itself is the largest inland freshwater body of water
But as far as I can remember, it was only fished commercially for sturgeon and the famous caviar taken from them.

I do recall walking on the beaches there and the rehri wallas selling kebabs
Of sturgeon. These tasted very much like chicken although a bit rubbery in consistency. No one knew or cared about conservation of fishing stocks in those days, the attitude was that natures' bounty was endless!

The outstanding fish in terms of taste was called "mahi sefid"' meaning simply white fish.

These were netted commercially and sold so quickly that you had to have good contacts in order to get any!

Simply grilled and served with fluffy domb siah (black tailed) rice , it was a dish made in heaven.

In the shallow waters where Russian trawlers moored, we would handline
For small sprat like fish, which would attack even bare hooks. The Iranian
Villa owner where we stayed would fry the whole fish in oil and we would devour them by the plateful.

The rivers leading to the Caspian held a species of salmon, which some lucky anglers caught and I have seen their pictures displayed in te tackle shop in Teheran.. The fish were quite large and must have weighed 30-40 lbs.

However, I never got to fish for these being a relative novice and the river was always seen enroute to Teheran, where work and office called!

Yes, those were the days my friend....
Kingfish


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 2:40 pm 
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Fishaholic
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Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 294
Location: Himachal & Mumbai
Wao, Fantastic Memories Kingfish, Cheers!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 3:02 am 
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Fishaholic
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Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 3:17 pm
Posts: 776
Cool memories.
I once met a bunch of "lads" who were teachers and students at the university of Tehran and they were genuinely warm and friendly people despite the political animosity between their homeland and mine (This was in about 1991) and if it were safe, I'd love to visit both Iran and Iraq with a fishing rod in my case. But sadly..........


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2011 4:53 am 
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Fishaholic

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 1:53 pm
Posts: 1238
Location: Sydney, Australia
Yes, it is a shame about the situation in Iran.

To those of you who may be able to go there, the fish are still waiting in the
Lake and the rivers draining into the Caspian.

Besides that, the cool mountain streams and rivers fed by the snow from the Alborz Mountains still hold plenty of "gazll aala", the rainbow trout seeded
In the high mountain lakes from England in the 1900's.

When you have caught your limit, take them to Ali at the nearest
"chai khaneh" or teahouse. he will skillfully clean and grill them on the charcoal brazier.

You will then be served the trout and a salad of the worlds' best
tasting cucumber,tomato and lettuce.Accompanying this would be thin lavash
Bread that could literally float away if given the chance.

A pitcher of " doogh" ( Iranian lassi) will be set next to the meal for you to wash down the food.This will be flavored with either fresh mint leaves or,my favorite, wild aromatic sage.

In our days, we would either have Shams beer or a 7Up laced with vodka
To fortify us for the crazy traffic driving back to Teheran.

If I am correct, the world record rainbow trout of some 30lbs.(surely not
Kilos) was landed by an American angler from Karaj Lake, which is only an hour or so away from Teheran.

Further South, there is good saltwater angling to be had in the Persian
Gulf but be warned....no swimming there due to the large number of fatal attacks by bull sharks, some even hundreds of kilometers away from the
Sea!

All the best,
Kingfish


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