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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:58 pm
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Location: Cochin
Hi everyone,
Its been great reading this forum over the last couple of years or so, but only now have i caught something not embarassing to share with everyone.
Am a really amateur fisherman who has been fishing for 25 years of my 31 years on this round blue marble. My hunting grounds have been the lower reaches of the Periyar and Muvattupuzha rivers in Kerala, both of which drain into the backwaters of Kerala to the North and south of Cochin city respectively.
Been fishing with bait my whole life in search of bigger and better fish but was constrained by my unresearched approach to the whole sport.
Been catching everything from sub 500gm climbing perch, small carp, pearlspots and yellow catfish to the couple of more decent sub 1kg fish like a mangrove jack and Tarpon.
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All this I caught on tackle varying from bamboo sticks and fishing-rod palm fronds and chinese kiddie-tackle to my grandfathers 60+ years old rods and reels.
The funny thing was he had a fly rod and reel as well as a spinning reel and rod, both sets from Kingfisher and I used to hook bait to the end of this tackle, throw it in and wait for a bite :)
I was'nt so much unsucessfull as misguided.
The funniest and most embarrassing bit is that i used to use the spinning reel on the fly rod and the fly reel on the spinning rod!!! :oops:
But with the advent of the internet and the resource of information that it offered I quickly corrected that mistake after close to 15 years of tomfoolery.
By about 2005 i was armed with info and a few old spinners and spoons with which i used to dilligently cast with the right tackle and rigging. Trawling near cover and jumping into the water when these eventually got snagged but still ended up not catching a thing for close to 5 years. Frustrated, I used to throw in bait and catch something/anything to satiate my Hunger?
You see by this time(circa 2009) I could read the river pretty well, note fish-sign and from what the fishermen caught in their nets identify the species that were in the vicinity.
I have stored the fly tackle away for close to 3 years now, as i wanted to concentrate on becoming proficient with spinning tackle and targetting a specific fresh-water species.
Inspired by Jeremy Wade and the net-wide reputation enjoyed by the nastiest fish that I knew was in my vicinity chosing the Bullseye snakehead (Channa murulius/ Murrel or Vaaga-Varaal as it is known locally) was a no brainer. I have stayed up many nights, thanks in part to IA and Jeen, fantasizing sorry strategising, about one day landing the Pink-Ghost.
By 2010 a friend of mine Rohit (known for his Munambam exploits involving threadfin and even a big barramundi on this forum through a few IA members) connected me to Biju, Cochin who helped me with some tackle and lures.

The Snag-proof frogs were especially useful after i learnt how to properly use them and the areas to target. After loosing 10 or 15 heart wrenching strikes after trying to immediately set the hook,I learned that I have to do a slow 1-2-3 count, after the fish strikes then feel for the fish before setting the hook! That piece of information lost me close to Six months.

Eventually while i was fishing off the south of Cochin in the Muvattupuzha river near Vaikom I did hook one! The fight was a scream, literally! My grandfathers rod and reel hadnt had this much fun in its sixty odd years in my family's possession. That river monster shot straight back and true to its lair between the grass and wild-pineapple. My drag setting was nowhere near tight enough and it was a small struggle to get it closer, the fight was out of him after a couple of runs. Though that wasnt the case when I got him up onto the bank.
The 700gm mangrove jack that I had caught 2 years back had given me a much longer fight but once i got it on land it just flopped about there, unlike the murrel which was actively fighting me and crawling back to the waters edge. It was Nearly 2ft long and 2Kg. A big celebratory dinner was in order. I wasnt a sportsman yet to release the biggest fish i had caught until that point.
Here it is with the Snag proof tournament frog still in its mouth.

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Here is the 60 year old King fisher tackle that i used alongside it.
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The Pink Ghost
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The next murrel was from the same area south of Cochin a couple of days later at the height of the high tide with calm water. That is, no wind on the surface or heavy flow of water. The same tackle as earlier but just fifty feet away on the same bank of the river as my earlier one. Took aim at a likely spot and began casting. I had noticed the fish sign earlier, which was a silent ripple with two slow twirls in the middle, about a foot in front of the said cover. About 30 lousy casts and 5 accurate ones (needs to hit the vegetation and slowly fall off it!) later i get a violent strike that wrenches the rod (I had set the drag too high!) but a millisecond later no movement. I do a a small countdown, reel in the slack line and feel for the fish but i get nothing but more slack line until i feel a small tug and with a reflex action i raise the rod and this fish takes off from vegetation less than 10 feet from where I am standing into the middle of the river. Even with the drag set pretty high it runs for a good 50 feet, but comes back to me pretty exhausted. Getting the bugger onto dry land is easy, though once his touches earth, becomes extremely violent. I take perhaps three steps away from the bank before the fish is swinging close to 300 degree arcs to dislodge the hooks properly set in the side jaw. To my horror the next swing it takes it manages to break its own jaw and come unhooked, flops onto the ground and making good progress back to the river!! I literally have to jump on it and corralle the slippery fellow with my body at the edge of the water. This one was 2'2" long and 2.25 Kg! It did not survive for more than couple of hours with that broken jaw and me jumpin on it, so it was off to the pot with him.
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One can see the broken jaw in the pic below
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The next location I have seen a lot of Murrel rising is an inlet of the Periyar north of Cochin near Alwaye. So armed with tackle, information and (dare i say) experience of catching two Murrel i head for this palce at high tide around 3 pm on 16th November of last year. I get there and am extremely excited as i can actually see, from a high vantage point over a 200meter stretch of the inlet, a lot of murrel feeding activity at different points. I note these points and head down tying my tackle along the way. By this time I have learnt another lesson about fishing, use new line (definitely not 60 yr old line even if it has been very lucky!) and preferably a 20lb braided leader if you are going for murrel. I learnt this the hard way by loosing close to 5 Snag-proof lures to fish as these dont get snagged or lost in cover. So after I have had dreams of catching fish i now have nightmares about the ones I have hooked and lost.
So I have moved from the old Kingfisher tackle to a Zebco spincast reel with a chinese bait-casting rod and some 15Lb Shakespere line. The lure is a smaller Moss-frog of the Snag-proof line-up. The spincast reel is useless with braided line though and crimps the mono line everytime you apply the casting-brake, so I am not too happy with the setup. It was a gift so had to use it.
Two casts later in the first spot I get a strike, set the hook after the 1-2-3 count and have a small fight on my hands before I land the murrel without any drama at all. I am very sad to see what i catch. It is a full grown murrel with a large head and a thin body. From the markings on its side i can see that it should have been much older than the ons i had caught earlier but was less than half the size. It measured 1'10" long but only weighed 900 grams. It had a piece of plastic sticking out of its side and when I examined it was the edge of a plastic cup! I was looking forward to catching a few and releasing all of them today but couldnt do it anymore. There was no fight in it at all, it just lay there. I had to stop fishing and took this one home. It was dead by the time i got there 20 minutes later which is nothing like what a murrel does (It can walk on land and stay alive on land for hours or days even as long as it is wet- it breathes air)

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I cut it up and find a whole plastic cup in the poor thing. It must have been there a few months because its intestines were all empty shrivelled up because the cup wasnt letting anything down. My take on it is that a plastic cup on the surface of the water moves about with light wind like prey. This fellow swallows it whole and ends up trying to regurgitate it. These efforts are so violent that over the weeks it tears through the side of its stomach wall but still wont go out, keeping it hungry all the time and still loosing weight. Real tragedy of plastic pollution, you can see the hole in the side of its belly below. from then on I fishout any plastic in the river that i see with a net while fishing.
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The next month sees me heading for the same spot with the tides high and the Iso-lunar calendar tells me its a great time to fish. I get to the same spot as last time and am waiting to locate the fish but not a ripple disturbs the calm inlet. I am still using the Zebco reel, chinese bait-casting rod, 15Lb Shakespere line and smaller Moss-frog. Though I am getting frustrated with the setup as the long braid leader i have is not taking to the casting brake mechanism too well. I have no luck for hours and am dejected when the light fades. I am walking back along the inlet when I hear more than see a disturbance in the water where its covered with thick floating duckweed. As i had not dismantled the tackle it was easy to cast where I think the sound had come from. Reeling in slowly while twitching the frog bringing it into the breaks in the moss as possible, I had a fish jump clear out of the water just missing the lure. I reeled it in and cast again this time one came straight up caught the frog and jumped a foot clean out of the water before flopping back in. I felt for the fish gingerly as i could not see below the weed and the line had curled around the floating plants making feeling for the fish difficult. But this time the fish was happy to oblige by pulling on the line before I set the hook, which let me make an easy set. I got him upto the surface and he was flopping on top of the weeds. got him to the bank and thought he was a Juvenile Murrel but Turned out to be a full grown Channa Striata after research on the net. But that saved him as i took a few pics and sent him back into the river, without a scratch. It was probably less than a foot long and 700grams, nothing to measure and did not take home.Heres the Pic you be the judge.

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Here It is next to the Tackle.
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Okay that is it for now. This was my 25year long fishing history uptill last week when I caught something that was very interesting here in Kerala. I will do the writeup of that and post it here ASAP. It is the reason I have moved from being a passive reader of this forum for 2 years(partly because of the embarassingly foolish things i did before) to now having decided to contribute to it.
Hope this was not too boring!

Tight Lines!
Suraj


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Last edited by Surajgv on Fri Sep 02, 2016 7:40 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:58 pm
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Location: Cochin
By the way guys, do I need to post this in the Murrel section?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:39 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 1:29 pm
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Location: Mumbai
Hello Suraj,

Fantastic journey, I really enjoyed every word of it and thanks for sharing. :D

I am eagerly waiting for your next post on that interesting catch of last week. :D

Santosh


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:56 am 
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Location: Kolkata
Great journey Suraj and great read. Your perseverance finally paid dividends.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:06 pm 
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Nice one Suraj and very well written. Like the Striata. Welcome to the club.


Jeen


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:22 pm
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Location: Bangalore
Wonderfully written. I too haven't had tasted success in a long time. Very much inspired by your experience. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:59 pm 
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Location: Cochin
Thanks Santosh/channabarca/Rajesh.

Jeen, your posts are of course one of my inspirations. Thank you!

Thanks again for the comments guys, hope to finish the next post soon.

Suraj


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 10:39 am
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Nice narration ... after a long long time


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:58 pm 
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congratulations suraj for catching those beautiful fish.very nice report too.

you can bend the hooks alittle bit towards the outside. that will increase your hookup percentage considerably.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 4:35 am
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Location: Pune, India
glad to hear of your adventure.. happy that you got to use vintage tackle.. real fun to catch fish on tackle from yesteryears.. beautiful murrels there.. am sure the water quality is very good from the looks of the fish.. very well narrated.

rakesh you could look suraj up when you go down to cochin next...


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:52 pm 
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Welcome to IA Suraj...
Enjoyed your journey thoroughly...

Saiki


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:37 am 
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Location: Cochin
Thanks Fred & Saiki for your comments.
Thank you for the tip Aamir, will try it the next time!
Thanks for the comments Hamour, I think the tackle was as happy as I was to eventually catch something worth its salt. It was a great payoff for the vintage gear after long years of trial and maintenance by three generations :)
The water quality is pretty decent as i fish in parts of both rivers just before it reaches the suburban or industrial areas of Cochin.

Suraj


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 5:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:31 pm
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Hey Suraj,

I'm really happy to hear of your success after such a long time trying! You really deserve every fish you catch and it sounds like there will be many more coming to your lures. persistence definitely pays off;) thanks very much for sharing your experience with us:)

tightlines and all the best, Scott

www.worldbiker.blogspot


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:07 am 
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Hi suraj !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good to have you here buddy :-)

nice write up.....congrats for the beautiful fishes.


waiting ahead for more reports

Manish


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:02 am 
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Congrats for the catch.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:35 pm 
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Hi suraj,
Welcome to the forum
Thats quite a read you got there...
Really wonderful murrels... Is that snag proof bought from biju ? I bought a pumpkin one...you know I used to fish near the chathiyat church in pachallam...a few years ago, the currymeen there were so big and the water so clean... Now its sad that the areas like that in cochin n ernakulam are trashed...would like to meet you the next time I am there...:-) good luck on future catches...
Regards
Rakesh
Hi hamour,
Sorry bro for the late reply I am down with viral fever, and browsing through my phone...yes I will meet him next time I am there...thanks :-)


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:08 pm 
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Location: Cochin
Thanks for the comments and wishes Scott. Cheers!
Manish & Apoo, thanks for the wishes. Good to be here!
Thanks Rakesh, Yes the first two big murrels were caught on the "Snag-Proof Tournament frogs" that I got from Biju. The smaller "Snag-Proof Moss frogs" I got from the US. Yup, the fishing grounds around Cochin are getting the short end of the stick and they are loosing the fight. Finding good water is a struggle, one can only try to save their favorite stretches. PM me when you are in town, will meet up!

Suraj


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 Post subject: The Sequel!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:19 am 
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Hi Everyone,

Continuing the story, to the reason I started contributing to the IA in the first place, is that I caught a fish a few have talked about here and perhaps not caught photographed on the net, but documented in India. After searching the forum and the net was/am convinced of what I have caught. I have been looking to catch this fish for about 6 years now at a spot in the Muvattupuzha river, south of Cochin, Kerala where I have seen it multiple times in the clear water. This spot is behind my grandparents house so have been coming here all my life! Its close to the same spot that I caught my first two murrels. But no matter what bait or lure that I cast over the years I have had no success at all with the species.

On the 23rd of March 2012, I come to the bank of said river, where I have glimpsed it over the years, with the tide at its highest I have seen for some time at 4pm. There is an acute bend in the river of about 80 degrees and my spot is at the far bank of the bend where the river digs the bank out during the monsoon flooding and is quite deep(30 to 50 feet in some places) for a stretch of 700 feet or so with good water vegetation near the banks. I am here though not for that fish, but targetting my usual quarry - the murrel.

I am equipped with a Chinese baitcasting rod about 6'6" long, that I have been using for a year or so, that I have had no problems with but for breaking and repairing twice. As I had been having trouble with the Zebco spincasting reel I had paired it with, I was in the market for a baitcasting reel. Since I had broken the rod twice in already, I decide to pair it with a chinese baitcasting reel that I bought the day before from an importer for a third of the price of a decent branded baitcaster. It was pretty solid when I checked it and was meant to be nothing more than a reel to keep the mended rod company and for me to learn how to use a baitcaster. I spooled it with 20Lb Shakespeare Mono and a 15Lb green Spiderwire Braid leader. I tie on my Snag-Proof Moss frog and am ready to start, basically, learning how to use a baitcasting reel.

So after reading up on baitcasting reels I try a couple of small casts into the river which gets me tangled line and a good backlash . Not having set any braking pressure on the spool I feel like a fool after all the research and have difficulty getting it separated, especially since it has reverse spooled during the backlash. My practical testing wasnt going so well. While I am trying to sort this out, a disturbance on the extremely still water to the west, at the highest tide, catches my eye.

There was a fish streaking out to the middle of the river, from thick vegetation, about 40 ft away from me. All I could see on the surface of the river was a small bow wave that was in front of it. In less than 2 seconds it was close to the middle of the river and taking a fast U-turn to head back at even greater speed back to the cover whence it came. But when said wave came to about 10 ft from the bank, there was a small explosion and a small bass? or mangrove jack? measuring maybe 20cm shot out and up from in front of the wave and ran back into the cover. The wave though, turned towards me after that moment and disappeared/dissipated as the fish dove. You can imagine the effect this had on my poor heart, all I remember is frantically pulling at the nest of line in my reel and getting nowhere. I am pulling at this for almost 15 to 20 seconds and still making no headway. But a strategy is forming in my head about the placement of the lure.

The next thing I know, I see a bubbling up of fry each 15cm long and actively foraging for food. I have seen these before over the last 6 years in varying stages of development. They start out bright red and couple of centimeters long but on getting bigger turn orange to deep yellow and green with two lateral black stripes and a white belly and are always followed closely by their parents. With this sight I am pretty sure of the identity of the big fish chasing the bass/mangrove jack. I can hardly contain my excitement and was barely able to get the line untangled before I can feebly cast it a lousy 20 feet with my hands shaking, but have had the sense to brake the free spool to its highest and am also using my thumb on it effectively . Within seconds, to my utter surprise, the enthusiastic fry which were 40 feet away are at my frog lure - biting and trying to gobble it, but the lure is too big for any of them to swallow and the weedless nature of the lure leaves no hooks exposed for them to hook on to! I pull it up when they no longer seem interested and submerge. I cast again after they have gone down but am immediately greeted with heckling fry as soon as the frog hits the water, I can feel their little tugs on the line. They loose interest again and disappear.

The next cast gets a completely different response, the fry come rushing in but before they reach the lure they are shoved aside by a streak of black and white/bordering on orange - It’s the father - about 2 feet long, which comes rushing forward and wacks the lure with his tail !!!

I have not seen this behavior before but have read about it. Its actually trying to stun the intruder with its tail. My little ones could not eat you so I will bash you! Its got hooked by others using spinners and spoons like this in the tail but as mine is a snag-proof weed-less lure it dosent hook onto anything.

I twitch the lure a little more and he comes back at it and gives it a big gulp. The lure is in its mouth! I give the standard 1-2-3 count (for weedless lures), feel for the fish at the end of the line and give a tug, the lure comes flying out of the depths with a few fry flying out of the water behind it. I quickly real in and hazard another cast, this time though I get no enthusiastic fry gnawing the lure but there is a big up-swell of water followed by the circling male. While looking at the male I take my eyes off the lure for less than a millisecond and hear a mighty SNAP!-Spalsh' from where the lure was. So I settle quickly for a 1-2-3 count before feeling for the fish and setting the hook as I am pretty sure that the big momma has come and dispatched the nuisance once and for all, but I watch forlonely as before i can do anything the lure comes slowly rising by itself, out of the depths.



By now the lure is only 10 feet away from me and I can see everything close-up!

Once it reaches the surface though, I give it a few twitches to impart life to it. What happens next takes place within a fraction of a second but as time turned to honey - with a heavy taste of midichlorians in my mouth and the smell of post-lightning ozone playing on my olfactory nerves - I saw the male horizontally streaking back in and missing the lure with his flailing tail followed immediately by a large mouth ascending vertically from the depths right behind the male. There was no warning as I actually saw the lure go right into that mouth before a larger version of tiger stripes on black swelled to the right and disappeared towards the riverbed.

You see, I am standing there with a dumb look on my face with my reel screaming away to glory, no wits about me to do the 1-2-3 counts nor to even try and set the hook! I take perhaps half a second to return to earth but as is the experience of all time travelllers seemed like, the eternal infernal, 42 to me! In all my twenty six odd years of serious fishing, I have never seen or experienced any thing like this.

Then abruptly the reel stopped running and with that lack of sound I suddenly have the use of all my faculties. I notice that my rod is pointing towards the sky and I have loads of slack line.

So, first things first, I prepare for a fast reel-in to take up the slack but within 4 to 5 cranks I hit something like rock, I let go of the reel and grab the line and rod together in a vice-grip as I have no clue what I have set the drag to! A strong tug with a couple of back ward steps just to be safe and the rock took off for a properly hooked run. I was careful to keep tension on the line as it took off straight to the middle of the river neatly cleaving a straight line in the water for about 30 feet. Both the reel and my thumb were contributing ample drag to the line but the fish did not seem to notice that nor that it had helped the line give me a friction cut on my thumb (not that I noticed my cut thumb at the time either!). Two much shorter runs later, it came to the surface, a mother of a fish, big bad momma "Toman" giant Indian snakehead herself! Beautiful white markings bordering on the orange on her sides like tiger stripes (thus the Local name Puli-Vaaga Varaal, tiger murrel) the black on her head was almost turning blue.

I knew I could not pull her up right there, took her to the small outcrop of rock where I could reach the water. Grabbed her behind and below the gills where I knew my fingers were safe. No sooner had I pulled her out than she was snapping (yes with a loud snap/clap – like the the sound you get from the lid of a stainless steel tiffin box) her jaws with a mouth that was lined with half centimeter long fangs and unhinging to display a cave within. That mouth could take out a hand easily! But I held on and noticed that the hook had gone through the side of the top lip and was holding fast with out damaging anything.

Of all things I had caught and ate, this was not going to be one. The fry and the male were roaming the same spot they had lost contact with the mother. The time it took for me to unhook her I noticed them come up for air at the same spot up to 3 times. I had to release her back but not before showing off and getting a few pictures. I take a small run back to my granparents place and and grab a tape and spring scale and get the measurements

She was just below 3 feet and 4.55Kgs.
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Beautiful markings. Black body with flecks of gray and blue especially the head. White markings tinged with orange.
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Full white undersides. Fat sides and broadhead with a thick tail. Thats the moss frog I used hanging in my hand as well!
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While taking her measurements I noticed that she had cataracts developing on both eyes and guessed that she was a wise old crone that had quite a few broods already. And there were parasites shaped like small white cockroaches jumping out of her gills. After I saw that I knew I had to get her back in the water fast. No time for more photos(which I would regret later, should have got a top shot of that shovel like head! etc..) as I announced that I was sending it back into the river and was greeted by shouts of disbelief from my grandparents and silent circling-of-index-fingers-near-temples from their hired hands!

But ran I did, with her, back to the river and looked for the fry. I had to wait hardly 10 seconds before they frothed up at the same spot mommy had left them. I went down and and placed her in the water, where that massive head came up for a few gulps of air pushing the bubbles back out both sides through her gills. Kept her there for a few seconds as I wanted to do it by the book. I aimed her towards her fry as I held her under water to regain her strength. Within 20 seconds she was straining to go as she had strong flaps to her tail. I eased my grip and pointed her in the direction of her fry, with one lazy flick of her tail she was heading towards them but before she got to them, turned away and headed towards cover forty feet away. I was disappointed that she hadn’t stayed with her fry.

My feelings turned for the better when I noticed her come up for air 15 feet from me followed by bubbling fry. She came up for air along with her fry couple of more times before reaching the cover of wild pineapples? (Kaidha), the same spot from which the initial wave I spotted had emanated, where I think the den is. Never understood the elation of catch and release (even though I have sent a few fish back) until those moments.

All in a great day with unproven tackle and dumb luck!

I call her the Crone! A true River Monster, Toman, the Giant Indian snakehead/ Malabar Snakehead. Channa micropeltes/Channa Diplogramma,The big momma!


Okay that was the catch that got me wanting to share my experiences with IA. I have been reading the discussions about Toman in the IA and have a slight trepidation about calling my catch a Toman, especially since no one seems to have verifiably caught one in Kerala much less the whole country and published on the net. I have though seen them in fish markets and am pretty sure am holding a big mamma Toman here. So I think I have caught 3 species of channa (Murulius, Striata and Micropeltes/Diplogramma) now, correct me if I am wrong or have I thrown a little light on an enigma.

Now here is the curve ball guys. This could also be the rare and extremely endangered Channa Diplogramma or Malabar Snake head. Top body markings match only that. Try these links http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channa_diplogramma
http://ibnlive.in.com/news/malabar-snak ... 0-123.html

or just do a google search for Malabar Snakehead or Channa Diplogramma

I will leave it to you guys to dissect. Pls be gentle! Just remember you heard it first from Suraj at IA!

Suraj


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:03 am 
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Hi Suraj

To day morning, here in Uae , Rahul woke me up at 6.30 am and told me about your fish. Yes ! thats a diplograma. Congratulations and much more for the release.This is no mean feat.

Please send the pictures by mail to the following address..snakeheads.org [contact@snakeheads.org]. These guys will put the pictures on their web page and will be thrilled to know more about the fish.

You have made history with your story.

Regards,

Jeen


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 9:33 am 
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Thats a wonderful fish Suraj. Enjoyed each bit of reading.
And kudos for releasing it back to take care of the fry.
:D


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:00 am 
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Surajgv wrote:
something not embarrassing to share with everyone.
from then on I fishout any plastic in the river that i see with a net while fishing.
moved from being a passive reader of this forum for 2 years(partly because of the embarassingly foolish things i did before) to now having decided to contribute to it.
Hope this was not too boring!

Tight Lines!
Suraj


Hi Suraj,

Your journey on the path of angling lore is a true reflection of your love for this sport. Amazingly interesting read :-) . We all have passed through the same road so nothing to feel embarrassed about. After a time you will realize that size of fish or the end of a well planed hunt does not matter a bit. The thing that matters most is spending your quality time beside the water, planing your next move to outwit the willy creatures lurking therein . :P

The plastic is a real menace to our water bodies and cleaning them is a must for every angler.

In case, if we happen to fish together in future, leave the tackle of your grand father behind, otherwise, I am sure to rob you.. :D

Go on sharing your exploits and heartiest congratulations on your some fabulous catches.

Regards,

Ali.. :P


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 Post subject: Re: The Sequel!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:15 am 
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Six years of effort, wow that is what true angling is all about.. Much much respect to you Suraj.

Releasing the fish at the end reflects that you are a true angler at heart.

Once again, heartiest congratulations. Wow, what a fish :!:

Regard,

Ali.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:18 am 
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Brilliant.. it was worth waiting :)))

Thanks Suraj, I had no plans to go fishing this weekend. But now I have changed my mind. :)

Wish we had a super like button here. :)

Tight lines..

Santosh


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:24 pm 
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Congrats Suraj, these are wonderful posts and beautiful fish, any Murel aficionado will truly appreciate what you have done.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Superb narration, Suraj !! It was a pleasure reading an IA post after a long time - felt like I was reading an accomplished author.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:26 pm 
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Nice post and congrats for the catch.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:10 pm 
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wonderful account.. it really came alive.. and great respect to you for releasing the fish.. i m so overjoyed to hear that!.. am sure you will tackle many more .. heartiest congratulations on the chan dipplograma/ malabar snakehead..


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:27 pm 
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Thanks Jeen! Sorry that I lost you some sleep. To tell you the truth, I always thought that if anyone were to catch a Diplogramma it would have been you!
I have sent the pics via e-mail to the site you mentioned. Hope it helps, as there seems to be more controversy than information about this fish - being one of the reasons I was diffident to call it a Diplogramma in the first place.

Thanks for the compliments Humaid.

Thank you, Ali! Glad that you enjoyed reading my posts as I have had the pleasure of reading yours for a couple of years now. Hope we can fish together sometime, without tempting you :lol:

Thanks Santosh, glad that you liked the sequel better! Tight lines...!

Bobby, Hawkeye & Apoo - Thanks for the compliments and wishes guys!

Thanks Hamour! Will be trying for more of these upriver.

Thank you IA! Tight lines..

Suraj


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 Post subject: Re: The Sequel!
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Surajgv wrote:

Of all things I had caught and ate, this was not going to be one. The fry and the male were roaming the same spot they had lost contact with the mother. The time it took for me to unhook her I noticed them come up for air at the same spot up to 3 times. I had to release her back


Beautifully narrated Suraj. Enjoyed reading every bit of the experience. And i appreciate the catch and release performed by you. [smilie=superkewl.gif]

I will be in Kerala on 15th Apr and will be trying my hands on some shore and river fishing, if time permits.

What do we call MJ in kerala.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:51 am 
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Just awesome Narration , :D

& Congrats on catching the Elusive Malabar Snakehead,
now we need find what range is it found.

my friends have caught it above Mangalore ....

lets keep our fingers crossed...probably there are still some rare fishes to be discovered & caught....


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:29 am 
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Hi Suraj, it was a great read.
The Snakehead is an interesting subject to discuss.

Awaiting for the snakehead specialists to enlighten more of their available areas in India, especially south India.

Ravi


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:41 pm 
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an awesome read yet again !

I really am tempted to stay at Ernakulam permanently for the rest of my life...
Beautful puli baraal... kerala's freshwater is a paradise for baraals... I have my sister in law's house in cherthala... when I had gone their in Jan, she had told me their are small lakes there which have lots of huge baraals...didn't believe her, plus couldnt go because of less time...now I understand what she meant... anyways wanted to know what is Kaddalbraal/kaddabraal ? is it related to braal or is it some different salty fish ? :)
Congrats on the beautiful fish...
Keep catching more big ones and posting beautiful posts... :D

Regards
raka


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:13 pm 
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congratulations suraj. your patience really paid off. wish you many more :-)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:25 am 
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congrts buddy it was wonderful reading ur whole story thankssss


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:57 pm 
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Congrats Suraj...


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Raj, Thanks for the compliments and all the best for your trip to Kerala. The MJ - Mangrove Jack is called a Chemballi around here.

Thanks Viper, as you said, hopefully there are more rare fishes around here.

Thank you Ravi, I feel that the snakehead is not only a great fish but also a great topic for discussion!

Thanks again Rakesh! The braal/varaals are making a comback in the semi-urban areas where they are no longer fished commercially. You should definitely try near your S-I-L's place, I am sure they are waiting for you! I think the kaddabraal is a sort of small sea-catfish, absolutlely not a braal!

Aamir, Afi & Sandip thanks for your wishes and compliments!

Suraj


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:31 pm 
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Excellent Narration and bulid up to an amazing story ... Like most of the guys on the forum have said .. you have really made history .... your narrration reminds me of the style of writing of my favorite author .. Wilbur Smith ... keep doing it and enjoyng it ... like Ali said its not teh size of the fish on the end of the line that matter s .. its the passion that you put into the act that makes the whole thing worthwhile ... Tight lines


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 Post subject: Congrats well done
PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:54 pm 
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That is a wonderful fish Suraj.
Enjoyed every bit of the naration.
Most importantly love the fact that you released ber back it was the right thing to do afterall the future of angling lies in our hands.
Best of luck Suraj may you have many more.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:55 pm 
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Hats off and standing ovation to you Suraj! your name sounds super personified now after the read and the comments, you are the Sun that has worked tirelessly to achieve and illuminate the sport of angling and have inspired fellow anglers like myself while doing so, after reading what you've written I have this renewed determination to get a carp from a river, however tough it might be and even if it takes me six years or more myself. Keep on fishing! thanks for sharing! Super inspiring!

Regards,
Omesh


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:40 pm 
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Thanks for the comparison Fredfish, I am but a pale reflection!

Thanks Steve_angler, just trying to do my bit. Many drops maketh the ocean :)

Thank you Omesh for that kind compliment! I feel that adopting best practices, no matter how long it takes or difficult it seems, makes one feel better inside.
Good luck with the Carp!

Suraj


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Thanks for your wishes Suraj.

We had loads of "Chemballi" in our pond, 15-20 years back. Arent these fishes freshwater and known as "Climbing Gouramis". I am sure there is a different name for MJ.

Had enquired with some of my friends in kerala, as per my description they names some thing like "Kalayanji" or "Kalavayan".

Are barras known as "Chemali Narimeen".


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:49 am 
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@raj MJ is chemballi and kalayanji is barramundi


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:16 am 
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I need to reflect Afi's view here Raj.
Kalanji/Kalayanji is most definitely Barramundi! Yup, they are also known as Narimeen.
Everything from proper MJs to red-finned perches more than 20cm long with a red coloration on the finnage is called a Chemballi in Kerala. The crux of the name being the red/bronze - hue to the finnage.

Raj, Climbing perches are most likely the ones you are referring to in your pond. They grow to a max 15cm long and are called 'andikalli'/'antikalli' they have been referred to as climbing bass and climbing gourami. But are famous for the reason that the larger ones are mistaken for small snakehead (when viewed from overhead) especially since they are also air breathers and have the same shape and temperament. They are easy to fish out with little bait(worms/intestines) on the tip of a hook, being very aggressive to bait one can land 20 to 30 fish in an hour(!!) from a 20 meter stretch of flooded paddy field/pond. I cut my teeth as an angler on these fish close to 25 years ago :). They Will populate any flooded patch of ground in a couple of weeks during the monsoons and will crawl on the ground to get to the next patch of water, surviving -if wet- for days.. These are very much fresh water dwellers and juveniles make excellent bait for Mulley, Barramundi, MJs and snakehead.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:46 pm 
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Suraj, first of all, before i go gaga, a proper congratulations on all your catches.... It was sheer delight, reading the long narrative, starting off with passive participation, to years of 'fooling around' to great catches. You rock, man, and I wish you many more to come. The plastic campaign and 'fish release' despite family pressure speaks volumes about the lion-heart spirit of the true angler! You sound like a CMFRI scientist, the way you talk of fish, man!
I could identify a lot with your despair, having travelled from Coonoor to Bhavani Sagar (abt 60 km) at 4 am and returning at 3 pm every weekend for 3-4 months, all for murrel. And week after week, just standing like an oaf and only losing spinners, while watching my legendary partners hauling out murrel after murrel, I forget the fact that I havent yet caught one when I read your account! :)
Way to go, Suraj, and heartiest congratulations once again....
Ciao
Shyam


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:22 am 
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The murrel is just a beauty. Enjoyed reading the narration also. Heartiest congrats for the fish caught and may you catch many more. Thnks for sharing the pics and happy fishing.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:50 pm 
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Suraj, congratulations on your extremely rare catch! Very well narrated and kudos to you for releasing the fish. Hope you have many more....

Cheers
Bops


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Dude! AWESOME writeup and great pics... :) I should bring tackle down next time


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:58 pm 
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Thanks for the compliments Shyam, all the best and hope you bag your first Murrel! You will never forget it after you hook the first one or get over the addiction :)

Thanks Spoon&Bops, Thanks for the wishes!
ThaVerge, see you soon!

Went for a quick bit of fishing here before the monsoon swept in and the rivers start giving up only catfish. Once the rivers start getting muddy and unsettled there would be no more snakeheads from them in kerala for another 3 months at least. They like calm waters and are very unsettled during the monsoons as its also their breeding time when they look for shallow calmer waters to spawn.

Having lost all my frog lures, I was waiting for new consignments, there were none locally available so had my brother send me some from the US. I have a new 6'6''Shakespeare Ugly Stick paired with a Daiwa Sweepfire 2B 2000 that I recently acquired from Biju in Cochin. Spooled it with 30lb spiderwire braid and prefer to use it with no leader or snaps, just the braid tied directly onto the lure as murrel teeth have taken a lot of my lures.

So today after I got the package of frogs, I decide to go for a quick bit of fishing after work at around 1700 with high tide and still waters in the river. There are the signs of murrel rising near patchy weeds and just couple of casts later there is a large depression and small splash on the surface with the Snag-proof tournament frog disappearing from the surface. I take about two to three seconds to reel in the slack and set the hook as soon as I feel the fish. It has already gone back into the weeds and takes a few seconds to pull out of there and it can be done relatively easily because of the braided line. Out comes a beautiful murrel one foot eleven inches long and 1.7 kg without much of a fight. I measure it quickly take a couple of pics before sending it back into the river. Upon release he just sits there and stares at me even after I loosen my grip. I am afraid that I have hurt it even though the hook was through the lip. I take it out of the water and give it an examination when he gives a couple of violent shakes and jumps from my hand right back into the water and disappears. That last jump from my hands was actually more exciting than pulling it out of the weeds!

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Deciding to try for a few more, I walk a few hundred yards to a spot I havent tried yet. Its an low overhanging tree with heavy foliage that has signs of murrel rising under it. Up until today I have not been able to skip a frog under or between the foliage, but decide to give it a try with the new tackle. The UglyStick has quite a flexible clear-tip and I think it aids accurate casts and sensitivity. Good budget rod that! And with it am able to get the frog to skip under the leaves of the tree relatively accurately. I kind of give up after a few casts because the skipping splashes are too big and not the soft plopping of the frog that I am looking for. I cast onto the leaves a couple of times and am able to get the desired effect of the frog falling into water but its outside the tree and not under it. I try a hard cast into a gap in the leaves so that the frog hits the farside leaves under the tree. After 3 to 4 of these casts, I get it in a gap and the frog flys to the other side of the tree hits the leaves and falls in with a soft plop. I just have to pop the frog twice before there is a large explosion of water with, am sure, the frog in its middle. The biggest explosion I have heard from a murrel yet and I am taking in the slack quite fast but before I take in two cranks worth the fish is running away with the reel. What a sweet sound! I grab the line and rod together and try to set the hook and am greeted with a short jerk and slack line. So now the line comes in quite quickly and am thinking that the fish is lost. 8 to 9 cranks later there something on the end of the line. I give it a little tug and the fish is still on! Now that he knows he is hooked decides to take off for a straight run which lasts hardly two seconds and then he is coming back at me. I crank in and feel the line getting very heavy, I must have snagged the largest murrel yet. It feels like at least 6 to 7 Kilos at the end of the line. I can now see flashes of the tail and a massive head rising out of the water, which to my utter disappointment turns out to be the back of a coconut palm frond rising out of the water with a tail sticking out behind it. The bugger had hidden under it and I had to raise the whole thing from the bottom, so much for my monster :(

I bring it to the bank and get it untangled from the palmfrond and see it is not too small either. I cannot see the frog though, which I think it swallowed deep in that first explosion. As soon as it comes untangled though he is off for a thrash-about in the shallow weeds with his head vertical, mouth open and tail flailing in the water. I am able to land it without much fuss though and back on dry land take a look inside its mouth and the frogs in there and the hooks look deeper. It is about a foot and 8 inches long and weiging 1.5kg, smaller than the earlier one but definitely a better fight. But I despair soon as there is no getting that hook out and there seems to be a lot of internal bleeding as my ministrations look to be causing it more harm than good.

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After about 20 minutes of this, I give up and give it one humane whack on the head with the back of a machete. Good eating, especially when fresh.

One was back in the river so I wasnt feeling too guilty.


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Last edited by Surajgv on Fri Sep 02, 2016 1:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:45 am 
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Congrats for the catch. Sometimes such things happens and you have to kill the fish.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:56 am 
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beautiful write up suraj, and Congos on the vraals... there was nothing that could be done for the last vraal... anyway congrats and Catch a monster catfish in the monsoons !!! ^_^


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