INDIA FISHING HOLIDAYS – GENERAL INFORMATION ON MAHSEER FISHING IN INDIA
Photo credits: Adam Tavender, Andrew Geiger, Dave McCoy, John Bailey
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Mahseer Fishing in India - Angling Report Subscriber Review -by David Frances
The Golden Mahseer
There are a great many fish which seek the title of the world’s toughest freshwater fish and the Mahseer is without doubt one of the finalists in contention for this trophy. Although it bears a visual resemblance to the Carp and it can be equally wary, that is where the similarity ends. Heralded as the aquatic Tiger of the Asian sub-continent, it is a formidable opponent. Golden armour-plated scales line powerful flanks and bucket-shaped fins provide it with immense power both to hold its position in the fastest of currents and equally to strip line from a reel with unstoppable, finger-burning speed. Its voracious appetite and sheer strength has given it an almost mythical status, allowing it to obtain weights in excess of 100lbs. Even in the colder, faster-flowing rivers of Northern India it can obtain sizes in excess of 50lbs.
Fishing For Golden Mahseer
Traditionally Mahseer have been caught using either bait or lures fished with heavy-duty fishing tackle. It is fair to say that these methods have unquestionably accounted for the largest Mahseer. By contrast, fly-fishing for Mahseer is a relatively new concept and techniques are still very much developing. The team at Himalayan Outback who host our Indian trips have embraced this concept with complete belief and total commitment.
It is now possible to catch Mahseer on fly with greater consistency than on spinning gear using both surface poppers and sunk flies. For those who wish to fish with conventional fishing gear the options are still totally open. Spinning for Mahseer with lures remains a very effective means of catching them. For those with a pioneering outlook, exciting possibilities await in breaking new boundaries of what is possible with the humble fly. The current record for a Mahseer caught on a fly was very recently broken in May 2011 but with each trip new techniques are being learnt and we are confident that the record will continue to topple as techniques improve and the conservation work continues.
Misty Dhillon with a new record 34lb fly caught Mahseer
Himalayan Outback Staff & Experience
Our Indian fishing holidays are arranged with our partners the Himalayan Outback who have made it their mission to know more about Mahseer fishing in Northern India than anyone else. Most of the trips are hosted by Misty Dhillon or his partner who have either hosted or advised most of the well-known TV programmes and celebrity Mahseer anglers who have fished these waters.
The emphasis during your trip is on colonial style comfort. In terms of manpower you are unlikely to find an operation with quite as many dedicated staff on hand to assist you. At times you will probably wonder what they are all doing however this is India and manpower is in ample supply! Each guest will have an individual and highly experienced guide who will be able to assist with all aspects of your trip.
The Environment & Location
Mahseer fishing in the Himalayas is far more than a fishing trip. You will be immersed in the local culture and surrounded by astounding scenery and wildlife. This is a chance to see and experience remote Northern India in all its beauty. On your journey some of what you see may be shocking, all will be eye-opening and enlightening and most of all it will be a true adventure.
Himalayan Outback Testimonial
"The Himalayan Experience –India did something to me; it is the one trip I remember most vividly, the one trip I look forward to doing again and again. Mahseer are like tarpon – ancient fish, they demand respect, play no favorites and test your mettle to the limit. They also make you come back time after time. India will do that to you as well, albeit for reasons I still can’t explain. Another refreshing first was the standard of our camp in the mountains. Hailing from Africa, camping in the outdoors is what we do. Been there, done that, have the T-shirt et al, that is, until you camp the way the Himalayan Outback do. Imagine top class service, all the amenities you could hope for, three meals a day and staff eager to please, catering to your every whim. Place yourself in a setting that poets dream of, prepare to do battle with a fish of legends, and experience the magic of the Himalayas. Yeah, right. I could not even begin to describe it..."
P.J Jacobs-The Complete Fly Fisher,SA-July 2009
The Fishing Tours
The two primary rivers fished by Himalayan Outback are the Saryu and Western Ramganga. Each season there are a number of extended and or combination trips covering new and exploratory water. Please note that most of the trips are bespoke in nature so you can extend or shorten the trips to suit your schedule. For details please request an update as to what is available
Saryu Camp & Float Trip – The Saryu is a medium sized river in the North-East of India and in site of the Tibetan border. Depending on the length of your trip you will either stay at a fixed tent camp or float the river making camp as you go. Although it requires longer travel time to get to the river it is a spectacular journey sand the river is exceptional.View Full Trip Details
Western Ramganga – Within relatively close proximity of Delhi (8 hrs drive) the Western Ramganga is a clear-water river flowing through the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve. There are opportunities to see amazing wildlife whilst sight-fishing for large Mahseer. Accommodation is in fixed cottages overlooking the river.View Full Trip Details
Upper Ganges Drift – The Ganges is home to some if the biggest Mahseer to be found in the Himalayan Rivers. Anglers on the Upper Ganges will fish some exceptionally remote areas that can only be accessed by boat, drifting down the river, stopping to fish at all likely spots whilst the staff set camp each day as you progress down-river. Spinning gear is best suited to tackling the powerful waters of the Ganges but double-handed fly rods and fast sinking lines are also used.View Full Trip Details
The Fishing-Best Time To Go
The autumn Mahseer season in the Northern Himalayas follows the Monsoons and runs from Sept to mid-Nov. Skies are typically clearer and nights colder although the days remain a very pleasant temperature. During the spring the season runs from Feb-May with March-May being very warm.
Alternative Activities Whilst in India – Sight-Seeing in Delhi, Taj Mahal...
One can hardly imagine a country with greater diversity than that on display in India. If you are not on a tight schedule it is strongly encouraged to look at some of the options available to extend your stay either before or after your trip. As part of your holiday we will happily help arrange sight-seeing in Delhi, stays at some of the fabulously grand Hotels such as The Imperial, overnight trips to Agra to view the Taj Mahal and a whole range of associated other activities. All our trips to India are bespoke in nature so please just let us know your time constraints and we will ensure that either side of your fishing trip you get to experience a flavour of the rich diversity of the Indian sub-continent.
Sample Sightseeing Itinerary
Accommodation Options in Delhi
Delhi is a city that consists of very few middle of the range Hotels. For that reason most guests on a standard fishing trip use our recommended ‘Home-Stay’ option, a 4 bedroom family house with all the amenities you would expect from a small hotel.
We do however also recommend that guest consider staying one or two nights at one of the fabulous 5 star Hotels within Delhi and our favourite is the remarkable Imperial Hotel which overflows with colonial elegance and will transport you to another world.
If you would like to know more about India, please contact us and we will provide you with more details. For availabilities, prices, pre trip information, booking form etc. please contact:
Background reading for your trip:
"Circumventing the Mahseer" by J. MacDonaldOur Comments:
Major A St J MacDonald is the doyen of Himalayan and Burmese angling and his book is recognised as a classic on the subject. It is now reprinted for anglers who would like to relive their golden memories of "Ye Fine Fishing of Ye Past" and for the younger generation of aspiring anglers who need to learn all there is to know about the magnificent mahseer.
US customers: Buy at Amazon.com
UK customers: Buy at Amazon UK
"Man-Eaters of Kumaon" by Jim CorbettOur Comments:
A fishing trip to the likes of India is not just a trip in pursuit of a particular fish but a complete experience. If you really want to get a feel for old school India in the days when man-eating Tigers were the dominant rural authority then reading any of Jim Corbett's books should be considered an essential bit of background reading.
Jim Corbett was an author of great renown. His books on the man-eating tigers he once tracked are not only established classics, but have by themselves created almost a separate literary genre. Man Eaters of Kumaon is the best known of Corbett's books, one which offers ten fascinating and spine-tingling tales of pursuing and shooting tigers in the Indian Himalayas during the early years of this century. The stories also offer first-hand information about the exotic flora, fauna, and village life in this obscure and treacherous region of India, making it as interesting a travelogue as it is a compelling look at a bygone era of big-game hunting.
US customers: Buy at Amazon.com
UK customers: Buy at Amazon UK
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If you would prefer to speak to us directly regarding a trip to India, please contact us at the following:
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