After the heady euphoria of my first good-sized Himalayan Golden Mahseer, and the small matter of a hearty breakfast of porridge, eggs, toast, potato rissoles and sweet tea, it was time to hit the water again. It was soon clear the fish were in the mood, and I was not disappointed as they kept biting all morning. Very often the fish would bite a matter of yards away from where I was wading, fearless and quite brutal in taking the bait. My second fish was very memorable, as she was a jumper; according to my guide, it is very rare for mahseer to jump, hooked or otherwise, so this was a special moment (more on this later). When landed, Prahlad posed with the game aeronautic fighter:
My next fish came soon after, about the same size but very strong, so much so that as soon as Prahlad had unhooked her, she broke free from our clutches and returned to the river, amazingly whizzing through only a couple of inches of water, before disappearing into the deep of the murky Ganges water. Very powerful and game even after a terrific fight, and very awe-inspiring. Generally, to reduce the stress on the fish, and not being trophy size, once my ghillie brought the fish to hand and unhooked them without a net or returning to shore, we released the mahseer. Usually just a quick snap of Prahlad holding the catch before releasing, sufficed. Sometimes they needed a little help by gently rocking them fore and aft in the water, but they always recovered very quickly to rocket off into the river.
In this picture of my next fish you can see nicely the amazing golden colouration of the large scales that gives this species its name. You can also see the lure used: a good ole American spoon, Acme Little Cleo to be precise. Less than five Yankee dollars a pop but apparently the best for catching pure gold! They certainly didn’t let me down this day. Later in the afternoon session the fishing was much slower; apparently this is normal for mahseer. After a couple of hours without a sniff, Prahlad pointed me to a good spot though, and then I lost two fish in succession; Prahlad in particular found the second fish lost very hard to abide, as the fish had come almost to my feet, and with one last powerful burst that propelled her head clear of the water she looked right at us before shaking the hook free from her trap and diving away to freedom. As for me, I was blind drunk on the heady wine of Himalayan Golden Mahseer fishing and really couldn’t do anything but be thankful to the powers that be for my amazing good fortune, that brought me here and for the fishing this day, and admire the power and beauty of these fish.