Hawthorn Fly Fishing & Angling Collection

The mighty mahseer and other fish : or hints to beginners on Indian fishing [Lang, Cecil] 1906

Item Metadata


JSON: hawthorn-1.0366151.json
JSON-LD: hawthorn-1.0366151-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): hawthorn-1.0366151-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: hawthorn-1.0366151-rdf.json
Turtle: hawthorn-1.0366151-turtle.txt
N-Triples: hawthorn-1.0366151-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: hawthorn-1.0366151-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Jli     "3 9434 06204 330
Harry Hawthorn Foundation
for the
Inculcation &. Propagation
of the Principles Sc Ethics
of Fly-Fishing
 Rough map showing some of the Fishing localities in S. India.
For fuller details, see Chapter on Localities.
1" = 80 MILES.
Gohak Falls~B
Poncre B.'
Galrsoppa Falls- B	
GunjiaB. Hamphaile, etc., B .......^?^?^\\
Rartmatpoor    0
Chinehmcutty B.	
Sivasamudram Falls
Nerali, et
: Existing railways. Quilon^
Eailways under construction or proposed.
Fishing localities. 6-   Temple.  B— Bungalow.
 The   Mighty   Mahseer
Other Fish;
hints to beginners on
Indian Fishing.
Second Edition.
®a Jflir Wilt
S. D.
I MUST commence by offering my huml lest
apologies to a confiding public. My
excuse is that 1 have waited long and
patiently for some abler pen than mine to
undertake this task, but my waiting has
been in vain. Books on fishing—their name
is legion ; but of books on Indian fishing
there are hardly any. The three best undoubtedly are:—Mr. H. S. Thomas' two
excellent books: " The Rod in India " and
" Tank Angling " (and to these two books I
wTould recommend everyone to turn who
wants much pleasant reading and real instruction on our Indian fish). And the
" North. Punjaub Fishing Club Anglers'
Handbook" a most invaluable treatise to
\any fisherman going to the Punjaub, and
useiul also to any angler, wherever he may
be in India. Also there is an excellent little
work by Dr. Walker | Angling on the
Kumaon Lakes'." The above books should
be in every Indian fisherman's library. But
of the small and cheap books on angling
which are so numerous and so helpful to the
novice at home, out here there are none.
Well this little book does not profess to be
an exhaustive treatise on Indian fishing, nor
is it perhaps technically very accurate ; it is
simply composed from a few notes made by
 the author and his friends, and its object is
to tell the newcomer in India about some of
the fish there are that he is likely to meet
with, and how to set about catching them.
No doubt many experienced anglers will
condemn this small book as sketchy or not
lucid enough; my advice then to young sportsmen will be, after having read this book, and
we will hope, had their keenness ar jused, to
go to some of these critics and get from them
a few practical hints both on fishing, and on
local conditions, remembering that an oz. of
practice is worth several lbs of theory.
In view of the possible, though improbable,
contingency of this little book reaching a
second edition, the author would be very
much obliged to brother anglers if they
would write to him (through the publishers)
pointing out any errors that they think needful of correction. Also any articles on local
fishing, or on fish not included in this book,
would be accepted with pleasure and inserted
in a 2nd edition, if within the scope of this
small work. And, in conclusion, I should
like to add that the illustrations do not lay
claim to any great technical accuracy ; they
are mostly from rough sketches made by the
author and his wife, while others are copies of
stuffed fish or plates in the Madras Museum.
THE fact that this humble work has arrived
™ at a 2nd edition, goes far to justify the
contention set forth in the former preface, that
some small and fairly cheap book on Indian
fishing was required in this country. It has
been pointed out to me by one or two friends
that the ist edition was too closely framed
on the " Rod in India'' For this I can
only offer my fullest apologies to Mr. H. S.
Thomas, and hope that he will forgive
me; my great difficulty was to avoid falling
into the phraseology of that most excellent
book, knowing it as I do almost off by heart,"
as I know the Punjaub Anglers' Handbook
and Tank Angling also. I can only ask
those critics who would blame me overmuch
on this head, to pardon me for the following
reasons : The book was not written for fame,
being produced under a nom-de-plume, nor
for profit, since the price at which the ist
edition was sold, makes it doubtful if the
receipts will more than cover the cost of production.    It   was   simply   written   for   the
pleasure of writing about angling, at a time
when one's rods had perforce to lie idle, and
also with the sincere desire that it might be
of some use to beginners, and to those to
whom the difference between Rs. 3-8-0 and
Rs. 8 or ii was a genuine consideration. If
in the following pages, I appear to refer more
to the South of India than the North; it is
for two reasons that I do so. First and foremost I have fished in many more rivers in
Southern India than I have in the North, and
secondly that excellent volume the North
Punjaub F. C. Anglers' handbook treats so
fully of all fishing North of the Nerbudda,
that to add more would be superfluous It
only remains in offering this second edition
to the public, to tender my most cordial
#thanks to many friends for their kindly
criticisms, and especially to express my
gratitude to such as Major Molesworth, T.
Farr, Esq. and F. T. Mitchell, Esq., for
their kindness in giving readers the benefit
of their experience on such matters as
"Fishing in Andaman waters " and " Ceylon
and Cashmere Trout Fishing," etc.
S. D,
I The Mahseer.
II The Carnatic Carp.
III Barilius Bola.
IV Barilius Bakeri.
V The Black Spot.
VI TheChilwa.-
VII The Butcrnva.
VIII Megalops.
IX The Murral.
X Wallago Attu.
XI Silundia Gangetica.
XII The Goonch.
XIII Labeo.
XIV The Mirga.
XV The Olive Carp.
XVI Indian Gudgeon.
XVII Notopterus Chitala.
XVIII Notopterus Kapirat.
XIX Etroplus Suratensis.
XX The Bamin.
XXI The Nair Fish.
XXII Spoons, Live-bait flight and Spinner.
XXIII Scale of Hooks.
XXIV Float, Knot and Line-splicing.
XXV Crocodile Spinner, Jardine Tackle, Nottingham
Float and Bindings,
On Sport generally and Fishing in particular ...       i
Table of Fish mentioned    ... ... ...      4
The Mahseer (Barbus Tor) ... ... ...      8
The Carnatic Carp [Bavbus Carnations) ...    29
The Lesser Fly-takers        ... ... •••39
Megalops Cyprinoides ... ... ...    44
The Murral (Ophiocephalus Striates)      ... ...    50
The Siluridse ... ... •••55
Float-fishing     ... ... ... ...    58
Estuary Fishing ... ... #    ...    68
Trout   Culture in Ceylon, Cashmere and on the
Xilgiris       ...
Fishing in Andaman Waters
Odds and Ends
Useful Hints
Destruction of Fish in India
Diary forms, Notes, etc.
Skene Dhu in introducing this little book, for
despite its comprehensiveness it only runs into about
90 pages, is wise in two ways. To begin with it
places a book on the Indian market upon a subject
on which   there  have   been  far  too   few written,
etc the prints naturally afford
a very material assistance to the "amateur" "float
flinger" who practising " heaving the lead " in
Indian streams, tanks, etc., may often capture something that he has never seen before, and of which
he knows as much of the name as Potiphar's
daughter knew of the names of the fishes swimming
round Moses' watery cradle The   Mighty
Mahseer practically deals with all the fish likely to
be hooked in India, and the baits to be used for
each, and with the times to corpse him, and manner
of bringing him safely to bag ......everything is put down so simply but at the same time so
concisely, that he would be a very very big expert
indeed that could not learn something from the
book The Asian.
Skene Dhu, a well-known writer on Indian sport,
has just brought out a book on Indian fish	
 Twenty-two different species of fish are described, and of almost all these are illustrations
given For the benefit of those who
 cannot get to the haunts of the Mighty Mahseer,
the author shows how very good fun may be had in
the smaller tanks, etc  Through all anecdote
is skilfully blended with sound practical advice....
 In the last chapter of all Skene Dhu deals
with the destruction of fish in  India 	
The only remedy would be the appointment of
an Inspector of Indian Fisheries, as we have advch
e£t£d before. The suggestion is not an extravagant,
one....V...and we hope that it will not be long
before it receives the attention it deserves ; -and
in conclusion we have no hesitation in saying that
" The Mighty Mahseer and other Fish " is a book
that no Inxfean angler should be without.—The
Madras Mail:
This   excellent   work   on   the   gentle   pastime,
beloved of vore by the tender-hearted Izac Walton
contains no less than 24 illustrations	
It is essentiallv a book to be well read and studied
by' the angler who desires  to snare the wily fish in
his   native   haunts. It is very nicely and
lightly written, and is as full of hints on all points
connected  with  bait,   water,  etc., as  a   fish   is of
roe  The chapter on Tackle   is   very
useful, and indeed the entire book is an excellent
one and will interest and amuse even those stay-at-
homes "w&o have no intention of going a ftfs&in.
-^Rangoon  Times.
A   new  and   m@st  acceptable   work   on   In<sfe*£iS
fishing   to   anglers   in   this   country,   has   recently
been published by Messrs.    Higginbotham & Co.,
Madras The information supplied is re^
plete, and the work in every way worthy of finding
a place in every angler's bookshelf. The get up of
the book is excellent, and both author and publisher
are to be congratulated on the result of their
labours.—The Indian Planters Gazette.
We have received this book on Hints to Beginners in Indian Fishing It is written in a
charming style, by one who loves the sport, and
would be glad to see it more patronised in this
country where far better and finer opportunities for
it exist for the average European, than many of the
other kinds of shikar, on which they spend more
time and more money for smaller results. His
advice as to where to go, and what to use in the
way of tackle, bait, etc., will be found exceedingly
valuable to the neophyte, who usually has to find
out these things for himself after many disappointments and failures.—Indian Review. ^jJP^fyvA*'
We do not know who the author of this excellent
little book is its  pleasant breezy style
carries a brother piscator along contentedly enough
* from cover to cover. But to those who have hitherto
neglected what is evidently^ a grand   pastime, the
. volume is an excellent handbook, and not a few of
his readers will cry " Almost thou persuadest me
to be a fisherman."—Madras Times.
Skene  Dhu has brought out a handbook
 which gives hints to fishermen beginning the
interesting but often deceitful pastime  of angling
in   Indian   waters There   are   24 #full-
page   illustrations   in   this   book,   and   its  price   is
Rs. 3-8-0 Skene  Dhu makes out a very
good case for the protection of fish, both from the
point of view of the sportsman and of the food
supply. His book should assist many to enjoy
playing the Indian fish, and to find that angling
has joys that are not inferior to more active sports.
—-The Bombay Gazette.
I have read with great interest and pleasure the
above little book of " Hints to Beginners on Indian
Fishing." It is written throughout in a true nature-
loving, keen sportsman style and is well-worth a
place in every Fisherman's library, for not only are
the hints invaluable to all beginners, but many of
them will be greatly appreciated by even the oldest
angling experts in the East.—Piscator.—The Ceylon
/"VUT of all the young men who come to India for
^** the first time how many bring out a rod ?
Almost all bring out guns or rifles with keen ideas
of the sport to be their's when first they get leave,
but for every twenty that bring out a gun, perhaps
only one brings out a rod. And yet many of these
men were keen enough fishermen at home. With
some, it is the idea that having tasted the joys of
salmon or trout fishing at home, there can be
nothing here worthy of their skill. With others it
is mere ignorance. No one has told them of the
fine fish to be caught, while many have told them
varied and exciting tales of tigers, bison and deer,
and of the joys of pig-sticking. Personally I have
been lucky enough to have had experience of most
of the above sports, and—well comparisons are
odious. There is a wild joy in being on a good
horse, with a game old boar in front, and one lives
a lifetime during that stern chase, and then that
glorious moment when after many jinks and escapes,
yours, the first spear, goes well home, in a foe who
is truly worthy of your steel.
Then again is the moment of pure and holy joy
that steals over one, when after following the-tracks
of a bison through dense jungle for the better part
 of the day, suddenly the old solitary bull appears
before one, head in air sniffing the breeze and suspicious of danger, but not knowing where to look for
it. Then your rifle rings out, he falls, rises again,
and once more goes down to your second barrel,
and a minute after you are admiring the massive
frame, and splendid proportions, of perhaps the finest
animal India has to offer in the way of " big game."
But there is a joy of another sort, not to be beaten
in pleasure and excitement by either of the foregoing two, and a joy that has this added recommendation—you may feel it several times in one day.
And that is the joy of running a big fish. There are
few keen anglers out here who have not experienced
the delightful thrill which comes, when after half a
dozen blank casts in a promising looking rapid, there
comes that sudden tautening of the line, and a
second after M the bend of the rod and the scream
of the reel " tells him he is into a real good fish.
There is a thrill in that feeling unsurpassed in any
other sport.
And then there is a charm in the scenery, which
adds a great deal to one's enjoyment. The never-
ceasing roar of the rapid, the cool splash of the
water, and the vast solitude of the jungle all around
you; verily a man must be hard to please if he does
not appreciate the calm and peace of nature which
comes as such a welcome change, after the hurry
and bustle of life in a big Indian cantonment. But
even for those who cannot get to the haunts of the
mighty Mahseer, and his lesser brothers, very good
sport may be had in the tanks which abound in some
 parts of India, notably in parts of Bengal, and the
southern parts of the Madras Presidency. In the
North one gets the Mirga and the Rohu, in the
South the White Carp and the Labeo, while the
Murral and Wallago Attu are common to both.
And there is a charm about float fishing too, though
one is very prone to despise it. Who can deny a
slight quickening of the pulse, when, after watching
an immovable float for perhaps twenty minutes, it
suddenly gives a few quick bobs, and disappears
from your sight. But alas it is not often that you
will get such good honest biting from an Indian fish.
But this subject we will treat of more fully later on ;
in the chapter devoted to these fish.
At the end of description of most fish I have noted
a few points, reference scales, etc.,— with either
" Day " or " Beavan " as my authority,—which may
help anglers in determining nomenclature of their
captures in doubtful cases. For definitions of terms
see Chapter XIII, also Index under u Definition, etc."
The scientific names I have used for the various
fish, are those used by Dr. Day.
IN this chapter I will enumerate briefly the fishes
* dealt with in the following pages, giving the distribution and sizes. I note down herewith also a few
vernacular names of the various fishes ; I fear however, that speaking generally they will seldom be
found of much use. as every district and every river
seems to have its own name or pronunciation
THE MAHSEER (Barbus Tor).
Found generally throughout India and Burma,
running up to 200 lbs. in weight. Hind. u Mahasir;"
Tamil [) Kendi " (carp) ; Canarese " Haral meen ;"
Marathi  "Kadchi."
THE CARNAT1C CARP (Barbus Carnaticus).
Found generally throughout the Madras Presidency, also in the Western Dooars. Attains to
25lbs. in weight Hind " Gid Kaoli ;" Tamil "Sal
kendi ;" Canarese " Gidpakle."
Of the genus Barilius there are some fourteen
different species in India. Most of them run only
to about six inches in length. However one, *' Barilius Bola " the Indian trout, attains one foot in
THE BLACKSPOT (Barbus Mahecola).
Found in Southern India, runs to six inches in
length.    Tamil '; Kendi "  with various prefixes.
THE CHILWA  (Chela, etc.).
There are some ten species of this fish distributed
throughout India.    They run from six to nine inches
in   length.      Hind.    " Chilwa ; "   Tamil   " Vellachi
THE BUTCHWA (Pseudeutropitis Garua).
North India generally ; runs to two feet in length.
Throughout India ; runs to two feet in length.
Tamil " Moran Kendi ; "  Mai.    " Cunnay."
THE MURRAL (Ophiocephalus Striatus).
Found throughout India and Burma, attaining
three feet in length. Hind " Murral and Sowl; "
Tamil " Vera!; "  Marathi   ' Sohr."
Found throughout India and Burma, attaining
six feet in length. Beng. " Boyari ; " Tarn. " Walah."
Found throughout India and Burma, attaining
six feet in length.    Hind- '" Goonch."
Found throughout India and Burma, attaining
six feet in length.    Beng. " Silund."
 LABEO (Labeo Calbasu).
Found in rivers and tanks throughout Southern
India, and attains three feet in length. Beng.
" Kalbasu ;" Can. " Kurri meen ; " Tarn. " Ven
ROHU (Labeo Rohita).
Found in rivers and tanks throughout Northern
India and Burma, and attains three feet in length.
Beng. " Rohi."
MIRGA (Cirrhina Mrigala).
Found in rivers and' tanks of Northern India and
Burma, and attains three feet in length. Beng.
" Mrigala and Mirga."
WHITE CARP (Cirrhina Cirrhosa).
Found in rivers and tanks of Southern India, and
attains one and a-half feet in length. Tarn. " Veng
OLIVE CARP (Barbus Chrysopoma).
Found in rivers and tanks of Central and Southern
India, and attains about one and a-half feet in
length.  " Barbus Sarana "  found in Northern India.
Found generally in Northern India, and attains
four   feet   in   length.    Beng.    " Chitala; "    Assam
Found throughout India, and attains two feet in
length.    Punj.    " Moh    Parri;''    Tarn.      " Chota
 INDIAN GUDGEON (Gobius Giuris).
Found throughout India and Burma, and grows to
one and a-half feet in length. Hind. " Gulu,"
Tarn. " Ulave."
Found in Central India and South to Ceylon; runs
up to 2 lbs, in weight.
There are some eighteen species of this genus,
some of which attain to great size, 6' in length.
Perhaps the two best known are M. Seenghala
and M. Punctatus. Some of them are to be found
all over India and Burma. Punj. § Tengara;"
Beng.     " Singala; Sind.     "Singharee; "     Tarn.
"kelete" (with various prefixes).
BAM IN (Polynemus Tetradactylus).
Habitat-Seas of India, ascending estuaries in
search of food;   attains   25 lbs. in   weight.    Tarn.
■ Polun Ka
Mai.  "Yeta."
NAIR FISH (Lates Calcarifer)
Found in seas and estuaries of India, and runs to
over 60 lbs. in weight. Beng. " Begti; " Mai. " Nair
meen ; "    Tarn.    " Koduwa ; "    Sind.     "Dungara."
Seas and estuaries of India, runs to at least 5 lbs.
in weight.
SEER (Cybium Guttatum).
Seas of India and China, grows to six feet in
THE MAHSEER (Barbus Tor).*
THE Mahseer- what a name to conjure with,
and what recollections he awakes in the hearts
of those who have been so fortunate as to have seen
something of him.
Was it not Dr. Johnson who defined fishing as u a
stick and line, with a fool at one end, and a worm
at the other"? Well let scoffers think so. As a
fisherman and an Englishman, however, one is
always taught to believe, that given yourself at one
end of the rod and a salmon at the other, the
summit of human bliss is reached. And this being
India, substitute Mahseer for Salmon, and there you
are, still at the summit of human bliss. It is I know
a much disputed subject, given weight for weight,
which is the finer fish. But comparisons are odious,
and as 6,000 odd miles divide them, there is no need
for rivalry to exist at all.
But you will say all these rhapsodies are out of
place, and that all you want is to know where to
look for the fish and how to catch them. In practically every river in India of fair size, you will find
Mahseer, always provided that the river has its
origin and that its course runs for a certain number
of miles at an elevation  of at least 1,000 ft.  above
* Beavan's Barbus Mosal.
 Al ,J#!
W -
  sea-level. In those rivers that run their brief course
through flat country and take their rise in hills of low
elevation you will not as a rule find Mahseer ; since
two things that these fish insist on are rocks and rapid
water, and if a river cannot fulfil one or both of
these conditions in some parts of its course at least*
the Mahseer will have none of it.
Naturalists tell us that there are varieties of
Mahseer, but that does not affect the ordinary fisherman, to him a Mahseer is a Mahseer, and the points
of difference are not so great, that it is necessary to
enter into them in a small volume of this description.
But that different rivers do produce .different
varieties of Mahseer, varying in colour and shape,
is m fact that soon becomes impressed upon one.
And even in one river I have caught three quite different types of Mahseer. Whether they are all " Barbus
Tor " or perhaps kindred fish of the Barbus tribe, is
beyond my knowledge. They all had the large
characteristic mouth of Barbus Tor, and all had z\
scales between the base of the ventral fin and the
lateral line. In the Kalinadi for instance I have
caught three quite distinct varieties. No. I rather
deep, golden scales, pinkish fins and tail. No. 2 longer
and narrower, pale blue fins and tail, scales silvery
blue. No.s3 jet black, fins, tail, mouth, etc., all
black, with deep golden scales, an exceedingly handsome fish. These latter appear rare and I have
only seen two specimens. The Mahseer is a carp,
though he bears about as much resemblance to our
degenerate English carp, as the latter does to the
gold fish in an aquarium.
 Mahseer may be fished for both in the rapids and
in the pools, the latter though they yield generally
the heavier fish, are more difficult to fish, both because a boat is necessary to do justice to them, and
because owing to the clearness of Indian, waters,
the fish are more likely to see you and become shy.
One thing you must remember wherein English
and Indian fishing differs. At home a mild spate
and coloured water rouses joy in your heart. In
India the clearer the water the better your fishing.
It is generally useless to try spinning for Mahseer
when the water is at all coloured. I say " generally " with intention, as with many, I know that it
is considered an axiom—That, given coloured water
spinning is quite hopeless. •
But this is not always the case, some rivers never
really clear, at least not to that crystal clearness
one is led to expect. I know that one of the best
bags I ever got, was when spinning in a river so
thick that literally one could not see bottom in four
inches of water. But of this subject more anon.
Next as to lure. The Mahseer is not unfortunately
a good fly-taker^ though take fly he will, and very
well at times; but as a rule it is only the smaller
ones that you will catch in this way.^-
But the lure par excellence for the novice, and one
easy to use and to procure, and a bait always clean,
is the spoon. A good size (if you are fishing for
ordinary sized fish, say i-io lbs.) is a i-|- or 2-inch
spoon, gilt one side and silver the other, with a
flying mount of two hooks. There is no rule as to
this, some prefer bigger spoons, some smaller,  some
 like one treble, some a flight of two ; nothing but
experience will teach you, - and the author only
quotes what he has found most successful in the
majority of cases.
A small dead fish about four inches long is also
an excellent bait though it is less easy to throw
than a spoon, and then there is the trouble of preparing it, and the fact that it comes to pieces very
quickly. Phantoms and Spinning Minnows do good
execution occasionally, though if the beginner will
confine himself to a spoon-bait at first, he will find
it probably7 more satisfactory.
Now when I say above that the spoon is the bait
par excellence, etc., etc., this must be taken in a
broad-minded spirit; and I think that one may safely
say, that in 7 rivers out of 10, the fish will take a
spoon practically as readily as any other bait. But
the novice must remember that there are rivers
where the spoon is at a discount for some reason or
other. Instances are the Nerbudda near Jubbulpore
where the fish seem to prefer gram to any other
bait; and parts of the Kalinadi river in Canara, where
the Mahseer will not look at a spoon, will not touch
a spinner, and will only7 take natural bait when
mounted neatly with unobtrusive hooks. Still I
need not enlarge on this subject; it is unlikely that
the beginner will ever find himself tackling rivers
all on his own, without some more experienced
friend to give him the necessary hints as regards
those waters.
Then as to rods, opinions differ, some like 14
feet, others 16 feet, and some even an 18-foot rod,
though I must say the latter is making a business of
a pleasure. If a beginner will content himself with
a good greenheart 14-foot rod, he will, I think, find
it suits him all right. In India a light rod is a great
item, as regards pleasure in your fishing, as, when
you fish sometimes for hours in a broiling sun, you
find every oz. of weight in your rod a consideration.
And a 14-foot rod will cover enough water in nine
cases out of ten, and will allow of your using a
lighter reel and line.
Then a word as to your trace ; if you are using a
14-foot rod with a light fly top, I have always found
a two yards trace of No. 2/0 Hercules wire, fitted
with two swivels, about the best thing to use.
These traces are immensely strong, not easily cut by
rock and are very little more visible than gut when
the water is at all broken. Or you can use stout
salmon gut, if the water is not rocky and the fish do
not run very large. It is as well to have the-spoon
on a snood of the same material as your trace,
though this is not imperative.
Then a good stout landing net and a gaff, and
you are ready to proceed to river. There is no real
need for a gaff or net, unless you are fishing from a
boat, as the native is exceeding dexterous at bringing out your fish, if you have played him, exhausted,
into shallow water. Next having fitted up your
rod and mounted your spoon, choose a likely looking spot to commence. First let me caution you in
one thing, a fish has eyes ! This is a point very
often overlooked by a novice, whose general procedure   is   to  stroll   up   to  the   bank,   and  having
selected a prominent position on some rock perhaps,
proceeds to survey the water. Then taking his rod,
he starts dropping his spoon in likely spots.
Well he does catch a fish occasionally, as there
are fools among fish, luckily; but still I would
recommend a different plan to you, my reader.
Look upon the fishes in the water you mean to fish
as a herd of black buck, and, as such, to be stalked
with care. Say you have selected a nice looking
rapid to commence with, note the lie of the water
from some little way off, and then approach carefully, just near enough to drop your spoon gently
over the edge.
And again do not always be in such a hurry to
get your spoon out just a little further. Keep well
back and give the water close to your own bank a
good trial first. Probably if you were fishing from
the other bank, you would be all eagerness to get
your spoon out and across into the very water that
you are now wanting to ignore. Distance lends
enchantment, as the poet Campbell has it in " The
Pleasures of Hope " which would make an excellent
title by the way for a poem on fishing.
Remember again the fishes have eyes, and they
are in their own natural element, and it cannot
make them think vour bait more seductive when
they see a wildly waving 14-foot rod and two arms
up against the blue sky overhead. But in a good
rapid when the water is well broken up, the odds
are not so much against you after all, as it stands to
reason a fish cannot see so clearly then, as through
still water.
So after trying the water under your own bank
move up carefully and slowly and commence trying
the centre and opposite backwaters. Another thing
to remember is that " movement is life " and it is
movement that frightens animals.
I remember once sitting so still in a beat that a
small jungle sheep came out, and stepped gingerly
over one of my legs, which was lying rather outside
the shadow.of the bush under which I was sitting.
And you can try for yourself how movement
affects fishes. Creep up very slowly to the edge of
a bank overlooking a small pool, and you will see
the small fishes and fry moving about quite unsuspiciously, but move your hand suddenly and sharply
and see the result. Like lightning the little fish will
scatter and vanish. So remember the quieter you
are and less motion that you make in casting, the
less likely will be the big fish in the depths below to
see you and take fright.
One thing that you will have learnt at home with
trout fishing, and which you will do well to bear in
mind, and that is the fact that fish almost invariably
lie with their heads up-stream (waiting for food to
be brought down to them by the current). At
home one is taught that the best way with a fly is
to throw up-stream and let the water bring it back
towards one, keeping one's line taut the while, but
while this is an excellent thing for trout in England,
I would advise the beginner in Indian waters to try a
different plan when using spoon or minnow. In India
the rapids are deeper and generally run with far greater
velocity than any water one would fish in at home.
And remember when you are using a spoon
(which by-the-way is meant to represent a small
fish), phantom or dead-bait, you are trying to
present to the fish his own natural food, tendered in
such a way that he may take it without suspicion.
If you threw your bait in up-stream, think what the
result would be, it would come rolling and rushing
back to you, probably mixed up with some of the
trace, just as unlike the action of a little fish as it
possibly could be.
Well, the way that seems to meet with the most
universal success is to start at the foot and fish a
rapid up all its length.
This mind you is only speaking very broadly.
Experience will soon teach you that it is impossible
for any man to lay7 down hard and fast rules how to
fish in Indian rivers. Some rapids are so broad that
a boat is necessary, others have such steep banks
that in only one or two places can one get down to
the water's edge. And yet again others are so jungle
clad, that casting from the banks is impossible.
Experientia docet, and it goes without saying, that
the man who quickest adapts himself to his river,
will catch the most fish.
We will assume that you have approached carefully, and are near enough to command the water
comfortably. Then having got out the right amount
of line, drop your spoon just the other side of the
main-stream and a little up-stream, and keeping a
taut line, let your bait swing round with the current,
and pull it gently up through the eddies just out of
the main current.
 Another way of fishing a rapid which is very
often successful, and which the novice will perhaps
prefer, as it is certainly easier than the more
scientific way, is to stand at the head of a rapid,
and having dropped your spoon into the current, to
pay out line allowing the spoon to drift downstream.
And remember one thing, when letting your
spoon or spinner run out down a rapid—always
"feel" it, three-quarters of the times that you get
hung up on snags, rocks, etc., under water, the fault
you will find was, that you ceased to feel your
spoon for a minute, giving it a chance to sink, when
the hooks promptly get caught in the nearest solid
object handy. There are some rivers, notably the
streams of the Western Ghauts where it seems fatal
to allow your line slack for a single instant owing
to the innumerable branches, logs, etc., the rivers
collect from their forest clad banks. So long as
you keep your spoon spinning steadily you will
seldom find that you get caught up, and if you do it
will not as a rule be so badly, that a little manipulation of the line will fail to clear you.
J$hen you have let out as much line as you can
fairly command, start to wind in, bringing the
spoon along through the eddies at the edge of the
rapid. And do not avoid the white water in the
rapids; you need not fear that any current is too
swift for the Mahseer; and fish the rapid all its
length right down and into the pool.
And do take heed to one point, it is one that you
are sure to learn by painful experience, and that is
—in Mahseer fishing almost more than any other—i
" be ready," see that your line is always running clear
on the reel, and that you have no kinks that might
foul a ring.
A Mahseer does not take your bait with a gentle
tug or two like a trout; generally he takes it with
a rush, and before you know you've hooked him
your rod is bent and reel screaming merrily. Then
woe betide you, if your line has taken a hitch round
the handle of your reel, or fouls in any other way.
If the fish is of any size and wants line, you must
give him all he wants, if you don't, then good-bye
to rod, line, or trace.
If you see a hitch is imminent or unavoidable,
then don't hesitate an instant, but lower your rod,
and in nine cases out of ten the break will occur in
the snood* (if you are fishing with gut traces) which
is usually more worn than trace or line, and you
thereby minimise your loss of tackle. If however
you are using wire traces, goodness knows where
the break will occur, but more often than not it
seems to occur- in the line, near where it joins the
It is in this first glorious rush that the cream of
the sport with Mahseer fishing lies. As yard after
vard of line reels out, your heart rises, and you feel
the fish going up and up in weight, in your estimation. Though I said before give him all the line he
wants, don't take this to mean, give it to him
ungrudgingly.    If your tackle is good and you feel
is the length of gut to which the fly 01
spoon is attached.
 fairly sure of it, bear on him every ounce you dare,
and as soon as ever his first rush is over, reel in as
soon as possible, and do not give him any time to
think or rest. Be careful winding up to keep all
clear as before, as directly the fish sees you, he will
be off again on another rush, keep him at it all you
can, give him no time to think out matters, or you
will be having him fouling your line round rocks, or
up to some other tricks.
And a word as to that much debated point, " to
strike or not to strike." There is much said and
argued on both sides. And if you can really successfully solve this point, you will as the babu said
" Have cracked the Gordian Nut." Personally I do
not believe in striking with a Mahseer. He has a
leathery7 mouth that affords a good hookhold, and he
is a heavy and game fish. If his own weight and
struggles have hot hooked him, then I think you run
a great risk by slackening your line ever so little,
and slacken you must if you want to strike. With a
pliable top, acting as a cushion to any jerks and
jars, it is possible to even land a fish without the
hook having penetrated to the barb. Of course this .
seldom happens, but if you had slackened for an
instant, and the fish was wide awake, in that second
he would have taken his opportunity to get rid of
your hook. While if you had maintained a steady
pressure, the chances are that the hook might have
worked its way in, ow,ing to the weight of the fish.
And another argument against striking is—that
the Mahseer does not give you much time to think
about it; the very jerk with  which he takes  the
bait should be enough to drive the hooks well home,
and a man must be quick of hand to lower his rod
and strike, when a big fish is tearing out line at
about a mile a minute. In all the foregoing remarks
on fishing the rapids for Mahseer, I have assumed
that the water is commanded from the banks, and
that no boat is necessary as may be the case in
some big rivers. Certainly if you can dispense with
a boat it is far pleasanter work fishing, you are less
cramped in your movements, and also the sun off
the water when you are in mid-stream is very trying
on an Indian hot weather day. But on some rivers
a boat is a necessity, either from their breadth or
owing to the dense jungle lining their banks. In
such cases adopt as far as possible the same tactics
as you followed from the bank, keep your boat just
out from the main current and make long casts
across and down stream in the rapid, and also up
stream into the eddies that swirl off from the current. Playing a fish from a boat is always uncomfortable work, but of that more anon.
And now having finished with the rapid, let us
try the pool below ; for this a boat will be necessary.
Let us assume you have a folding boat of your own,
or perhaps a native coracle with its owner to work
it. As the boat gliding over the water naturally
scares the fish temporarily it is necessary to have
out a good long line. Put on a slightly bigger
spoon, say 2| to 3 inches, and about two feet from
the spoon fix on about 3 ozs. of lead—the weight
depending on the depth you wish to fish at.
Remember   a   point   that  perhaps   I   should   have
mentioned before—the Mahseer is a bottom feeder,
so fish pretty deep, not too deep, as a bait dragging
along the bottom is not so easily seen by many fish,
as is one, four or five feet up. Then start the boat
slowly down the pool, paying out line, till you have
some forty or fifty yards out. Keep going just fast
enough to make the spoon spin naturally ; and when
you have worked down one side, come back up the
centre, and then down the other side.
When you have struck a fish, remember he will
probably make for the deepest part of the pool, bear
on him all you can, and mind he does not make a
dash under the boat.
If you can be landed easily, it is a good plan to
get ashore to play your fish from there, as then you
have more command over your line and will find
the fish easier to bring to bag.
Above all things, when playing a fish from a boat,
do not bring him alongside till you have got him
absolutely done up, as it is no easy matter with gaff
or net to get a heavy fish into a small and shaky boat.
And there is one other place that I try, always
with the hopes that I'll move a fish at any rate.
Just above many runs will be a spot where the
water flows deep and strong, and where it gathers
itself in for the final plunge over and down the
rapid. As often as not the rocks will narrow in
towards the head of the run and only the oily swirl
of the water will betoken its depth and force. Then
take your stand some 10 to 15 yards away and above
where the water breaks, and casting your bait out
as far as possible, let it swing round with  the cur-
 rent keeping it 2 to 5 yards from the mouth of the
rapid itself. Here the water, though deep and strong,
is clear, and generally at the first cast your heart
will be gladdened by one or more darting black
forms. And if in your first four casts you fail to
hook a fish, give the place a rest and try it again on
your way home, and sooner or later your reward
will come. But be extra careful in fishing these
spots that your line is all clear, for if the fish is anything over 5 lbs., he almost invariably runs down
the rapid ; and then the scream of your reel and the
yards and yards of line flying out, delude the envious
bystander into the belief that you have a 50-lb. fish
on at the very least.
Now a word as to fly fishing for Mahseer. I
expect with most of my readers that fly fishing was
one of their first loves, and it is hard to give up first
loves in a hurry, isn't it ? Well, Mahseer do take
fly well at times—though it is generally only the
smaller ones that one can expect to catch with fly.
But you must find them in the humour for it, like
the trout at home ; but then, unlike trout, unfortunately the humour does not take the Mahseer so
often. One advantage the fly fisher for Mahseer
has, especially if he is fishing on one of the big
southern rivers, and that is, he has the chance of
catching other carps as well, particularly our friend
of the next chapter, and so making a mixed bag.
And next as to colour and size of fly. Though
I have known men out here use all sorts and sizes
of salmon fly, the general concensus of opinion is,
I think,  that a fly with  a lot of black or peacock
 harl in it is the best. Why, I do not know, except
that the Mahseer is not particularly partial to a
fly diet, I fancy, and he takes your dark fly under
the impression that it is a juicy tadpole, or some
other such delectable morsel.
Then as to size. Any size between 2 to 6
Limerick scale (see chapter on Tackle for caution
re sizes) will do, always remembering that with
the smaller sizes you have a better chance of taking
some of the smaller-mouthed carps, whose acquaintance you seldom make while fishing with spoon or
When fishing for Mahseer, it is best to use only
one fly, the tail fly, though if fishing for Carnatic
carp it is usual to mount two, the tail fly and then
a drop fly about three feet from it. And remember
do not pull your fly too fast, it is not wanted to spin
like a spoon bait, and lots of fish won't bother
themselves to hustle after a fly which a neighbour
may devour before they can reach it.
It is outside the scope of this humble volume to
enter into details of various local devices for catching fish; such as fishing with gram for Mahseer
on the Nerbudda, etc. Any one ordered to such
a Station as Jubbulpore would soon find some mentor
kind enough to initiate him into all the mysteries
attendant on such fishing.
But one thing I will add before parting with the
hero of this chapter, and that is a few words on
live-baiting for Mahseer.
I don't know how many fishermen there may be,
but assuredly there must be several, who have felt
the utter misery and blankness of soul that comes,
after anticipating, perhaps for weeks, a projected
ten days' trip after Mahseer, when they arrive at
the river and find the water like pea-soup. This
should not occur if one has chosen one's time
rightly, but it may occur sometimes through untoward circumstances, such as sudden storms in the
hills, or early falls and sudden meltings of the snows
up in the higher ranges; and then ten days' leave
gives one all too brief a period of fishing for one
to sit in patience and wait for the river to clear.
So the only thing to do is to make the best of it. It
is very, very sad, but you may get some good fun,
and catch big fish too, live-baiting. Take any small
fishes up to ^ lb. in weight. Generally there will
be some local fisherman where you are fishing, who
will procure you some of these for a consideration.
When caught put them in a common earthen chatty,
half full of water, with a few holes bored just above
the water line. Then cover the top with a big leaf
or stone, or better still a piece of mosquito curtain
over the top will save the necessity for the holes.
This latter precaution is very necessary, as some
species of fish would spend their whole time jumping
We will assume that you have your tackle ready
(see Chapter XII for making up a live-bait flight).
If using Parsons' live-bait tackle, take your small
fish, treating him gently, and lay your single tail
hook along his side parallel to his length, point of
hook just above the anal fin, and eye of hook towards
his tail.    Then gently pass the point under the skin,
bringing the shank of the hook in a semi-circle up
perpendicular to the back, and then down till the
eye lies towards the fish's head; then pull the point
through. It will now be lying beneath the dorsal
fin; pointing towards the head. (All this sounds
complicated, but if practised once or twice on a
dead fish, its simpleness will become apparent.)
Then adjust your top hook so that the fish will not
be curved at all, and pass it through the upper lip.
Or if using the Jardine Patent live-bait tackle, bait
as follows. Pass the spiral wire in at the mouth of
the bait and out at the gills, then twist the gimp
into the spiral to hold it in place. The small hook
of the treble is passed through the back fin (or a piece
of skin) and bait is ready for use. The treble can
be shifted up and down to suit size of bait. Now
about two feet away from the fish fasten a 2-oz.
weight—this is to anchor the fish to the bottom—and
then drop your weight and fish in a rapid, in one of
the eddies just off the main current. It is a very good
plan to fasten on your weight with a thread or thin
piece of gut, and then should it catch in a rock, you
do not risk losing your collar and flight; the bait
itself will usually steer clear of rocks. Fasten your
rod on the Dank, with the reel running free, and
proceed to set another rod and line.
Once you have got your fish on, play him just as
you would under ordinary circumstances.
This way of fishing is at the best slow, however
one would only adopt it when the water is so
coloured as to preclude the use of the ordinary
lures.    But though aimost every man you ask will
tell you that fishing in coloured water is quite hopeless, it is sometimes just worth the trying. I remember one day in Central India, having ridden
fifteen miles in a broiling sun to see a pool in a
river, that a village shikarri assured me held " plenty
big fish." On arrival my heart sank, as all I saw
was a large, pool, perhaps 400 yards long by 40
broad, in a wide sandy channel, and the water in it
was so thick, that I could not see the bottom in two
feet of water. I almost felt, in my disgust, like
returning there and then, but my guide begged me
just to try for ha'lf-an-hour. Well I put on a very
bright spoon, about i|- inches, and, wading in over
my knees, I started. My third cast I was into and
duly landed a i-lb. Mahseer, to my own astonishment and the local shikarri's intense relief. Well, I
continued with far greater keenness, and in under
two hours had landed, all with the spoon, 13
Mahseer, 1 Murral and 1 Rohu, total weight 28 lbs.,
also one small Wallago Attu.
And another time two of us fishing in a tributary
of the Kistna, caught 8 Mahseer weighing 129 lbs.
in a couple of hours, spinning in water so thick,
from the red soil through which the river ran, that
literallv we could not see any bottom in 3 inches of
water. So it is worth trving sometimes, though
very seldom I fear. And should the water be a
trifle coloured, and should you spin .for one hour, in
one small pool, catching nothing, do not for that
reason go away convinced that there is not a fish in
that place. That is how so often when one goes to
a new. station, and asks about the fishing at such
 and such a place, one is told " O there is no fishing
there, I have tried there twice, and so and so went
the other day, and we never even saw a fish." And
yet you might go to that place and persevering,
have excellent sport occasionally. However it is
always as well to find out from native fishermen
first, that there are fish in that river, since some
rivers either from poaching or natural causes, seem
absolutely destitute of fish life. But the reason that
you were told that there were no fish there, was
that probably no man had been keen enough to give
the place a fair trial, the days your informants went
the water may -have been a trifle coloured, or the
fish may have been off their feed, or scared by something, or one or other of a score of reasons, so unfathomable are the ways of fish. A novice and lots
of seasoned fishermen too, would hardly believe how
thick with fish a small pool may be, so crowded that
one would deem it impossible to spin in it for any
length of time without catching something—even if
only foul hooked. And yet one does fish in such
pools and catch nothing. There is one pool I know,
where I had an excellent object lesson in such
matters. It is a small bay, very deep, and some
20 yards ac\oss only, that lies still and quiet off a
rushing swirlingrapid. A sandy beach runs down
to the pool opposite the river, the other two sides
of the pool are two huge rocks,* honeycombed with
holes scoured out by the force of a great river
sweeping over them during the monsoon rains.
Around lies virgin forest. I shall never forget my
first sight, of it; when I came upon it the hot wea-
ther was more than half over, and the water was
the colour of gin. I climbed along one of the huge
rocks, screening myself from the pool as much as
possible, till I looked straight into the clear depths
below. What a sight met my eyes. At least one
hundred fish were quietly moving about in the still
water, fish varying in size from monsters of 20 lbs.
and more down to little 2-oz. carp. The fish were
mostly Carnatic carp though there were a certain
number of Mahseer among them. There are others
too who know that pool, and who will acquit me of
exaggeration in the matter, I said 100 fish though
200 would be nearer the mark. Here, thought I, I
have only to drop in my spoon to reap a rich harvest;
so crawling back and taking my rod from my man I
was soon comfortably esconced behind a pinnacle of
rock and ready to begin. The fish were quietly
cruising about, rising to the top then swirling
down again, all living in the utmost harmony
apparently except that occasionally a diminutive
carp passing too near a bigger brother would suddenly disappear. In went my spoon and slowly
across the pool I spun it, but except the fish in its
immediate vicinity who darted away, not a solitary
carp would take the slightest interest in it.
Occasionally however one or two fish would follow
it with languid interest and then turn away bored.
For one solid hour I tried that spot, with spoon,
phantom, natural bait and fly, and to all my lures
the occupants of the pool paid the same scant attention. Had I not been able to see the fish simply
jostling round my bait, I would have been ready to
make any wager that the pool was practically destitute of life. At the end of the hour my perseverance was at last rewarded however, I was
spinning a small chilwa on a crocodile spinner and
my bait was about half-way across the pool, when
up from the depths sailed a fish, seized the chilwa
arid dived to the bottom. Five minutes later he
lay on the sandy beach, a nice 8 lber. I tried that
pool again at different times with varying success ;
once knowing how full of fish it was I spun religiously7
with a very bright spoon, when the water was
badly coloured, not a sign of a fish rewarding my
efforts however ; though spinning my spoon in the
rapids below, I got two or three fish, thick and
coloured though the river was. Just a last word, I
see that I have omitted to mention the time to fish.
Well any time from 7 to 11 a.m., and 3 p.m. till
dusk. Between 11 and 3 o'clock the fish do not
seem to run so well, or else the heat makes one slack
and one does not spin so nicely ; and after all one is
but human and a rest is a good thing.
Besides that, time is required for that delightful
occupation of overhauling and doing up your tackle,
preparatory to conquests new.
I'm sorry Mf I have been too prosy, dear reader,
but even if you do not agree with all my sentiments
herein expressed, you will agree with me in one
thing, and that is that the Mahseer is a fascinating
Barbus Tor—L.l. 25—27
definition of above see enc
under " Definition of terms."
D.  3/9 ;   z\   Scales.    For
of   Chapter  I.  and  Index,
BARBUS CARNATICUS (The Carnatic Carp).
I—I ERE is another friend, whose acquaintance
I'm sure you will be delighted to make. The
only7 fault to be found with him is that he confines
himself—as far as I know—to the rivers of Southern
India, though I have also heard of him being caught
in the Western Dooars. His chief claim to our
friendship is the fact that he takes the fly and that
most gamely.
He is like a Mahseer, and in fact is frequently taken
for one, but the smallness of his mouth compared
with that of Barbus Tor and his greater depth will at
once convince one of that error. Also remember
one thing-—a Mahseer has 2\ rows of scales and a
Carnatic carp 3^- rows between the lateral line and
the base of the ventral fin. Though he has none of
the dash of the Mahseer, the Carnatic carp is no
mean antagonist, especially when you are playing
him on a gut cast.
Now before proceeding further I should like to
remark here, that though the hero of his chapter is
nominally the " Carnatic" carp, the following remarks
may be taken to apply to one or two other species
of fly-taking carp whom you may capture in the rivers
of Southern India, chief among them being perhaps
B. Malabaricus.
Although the Carnatic carp according to Day,
runs up to 25 lbs. in weight, you will not as a rule
catch them much over 7 or 8 lbs. Still there are
places where they run big, and will take a bait; at
one such perfect spot on the Cauvery, two of us
caught in one week carp of 8, 13I, 6, 9, 13,. 7, 7 and
9! lbs. besides innumerable smaller ones; and there
too we spent many hours trying to tempt monsters
of 20 lbs. and over, that we could see clearly in the
pools below us. But such places are few and far
between and usually one does not have the added
bliss of seeing one's fish all the time spent in luring
him to accept yrour bait.
How to fish for them ? This is a matter concerning which many pages might be written, as so much
depends on the river, and on the actual place on
that river where you are fishing.
As a rule you will only fish for carp—(1) when y7ou
wish to give the Mahseer a rest; (2) when there are
no Mahseer in that water; and (3) when the carp so.
predominate that better sport is to be had bv fishing
nratnly with an eye to^them.
On the bigger rivers in which you may fish for
carp, a bdat is usually necessary. Remember, here
I only spealcvof such rivers as the Cauvery, Cubbany,
Bhavani and their affluents, (all Southern rivers)
since to the best of my knowledge, Carnatic carp
are not to be found in the rivers of Northern India.
Then as to lure. As I said at the commencement
of this chapter, the Carnatic carp is a fly taker, and
that being the case most anglers will ask for nothing
more than to be allowed to offer him a selection
 Plate II.
from their fly books. But carp in common with
other fish have many annoying traits in their
character, and occasionally will refuse even your
most seductive flies, with an utter indifference to
their very existence, that would be exasperating
had it not an element of the comic in it. Then it
is necessary7 to try other lures, and among them are
the following. In some rivers the carp are exceeding partial to grasshoppers, especially the little
green chaps that abound among the grass that lines
the bank along parts of those rivers. Get your man
to catch a few of these, and then gently impale one
on your fly, or give him a clean hook all to himself.
Often the carp will take them ravenously, but also
they will often scorn them utterly without rhyme or
reason. The disadvantage of the grasshopper is
that he is delicate, and very liable to flick off the
hook. Another article of diet that carp are sometimes very partial to his leaves; but it is no use
starting gaily7 away with a leaf fixed on your hook,
unless you have some good reason to know that the
carp want leaves. One fascinating spot I have in
mind, where a small stream joins a larger one, the
junction being a sandy bar, with about 1/of water
flowing over it, the breadth 20 to 30 yards, and the
surrounding banks being nothing but huge rocks some
20' high. And what a sight .'it was, to sit, half
screened by a jutting pinnacle of rock, and watch
that bar. Carp by the dozen, from 6 lbers downwards to wee little chappies, all waiting, the big
chaps with heads just over the bar, the smaller ones
by shoals a little way up the stream, watching for
whatever the small tributary might bring down
to them. Then the fun trying for them, a badly
cast fly and the small shoals would scatter in
momentary terror, then a deft cast a little way up
stream, and all the small fry would chase and scurry
round your fly as it floated down over the bar
within range of the big chaps whose behaviour
varied in a way that was maddening, but entrancing.
Time after time would two or three dash at the fly,
then shy off, then swirl round again, sniff at it, shake
their heads and dart back to the bar. Then for two
or three journeys would they utterly ignore it, then
again repeat their first tactics, till at last one would
risk it, at least the fly had gone—no it was still swirling over the bar—yes this time it had gone and a
minute after vour reel was whirring with delightful
music. But I stray from my theme which was
leaves. It was at this spot that wre were able to
trv leaves as bait with the most perfect opportunity
of observing the behaviour of the carp. After
watching for some time we noted that the fish were
sucking down leaves as they floated over the bar,
ignoring some species but remaining constant to one
or two sorts. The next thing to be done was to
send a man up stream, to gather us a few of such
leaves as we described to him. After a time he returned with an assorted heap from which we selected the kinds that most resembled the ones our friends
were feeding on. Then to the fray. We were only
fairly successful for the following reasons. First
came the difficulty of getting the leaf to stay7 on the
hook, this was overcome by sowing the stem round
the shank of the hook. Then the next trouble was
that the leaves, sunk by the weight of the hook,
■ would curl up.
However when our leaves did float down honestly we beguiled a few fish into taking us. Lastly, I
tried a good sized spoon, a 2" gilt and silver with
flying mount. This was astonishingly successful,
especially when it swirled into the pool and looked
exactly like a large bright leaf, and for such I'm
convinced the carp took it, as they sucked it down
in precisely the same manner as they took the leaves.
But this brings us to another lure, and that is natural
baits and imitations thereof. There is no doubt that
every carp, no matter how small, is predacious. It
is only the exceeding small mouth of a little Carnatic
carp, that prevents him from preying on his still
more diminutive brethren. But over 2 lbs. I have
found that they would freely7 take spoon or small
chilwa on spinning tackle. And several times .have
I caught a 3-lb.—or thereabouts—Carnatic carp on a
2" spoon, so you need not be shy of using a fair sized
bait especially if the water is at all colored.
Another pool there was, where I again had excellent opportunities of studying the habits of Carnatic
carp. It was a large deep pool surrounded by high
rocks, so that one was always 15 to 20' above the fish,
which could be plainly seen in the clear water
below; and through the pool ran a strong stream, with
an occasional rock rising here and there. In this
pool I successfully used natural bait, spoon and fly.
. Returning to the leaf theory of the spoon, I was
using again a 2" gilt and silver spoon that when kept
spinning near the top looked for all the world like a
floating leaf. And that several of the carp took it
for a leaf, their behaviour quite convinced me.
They would lazily follow the spoon down stream,
and then either leave it, or else they would quietly
sail up to it, and suck it down.
Then immediately they realised that they were
hooked away they would go, and as the stream was
strong, one was not sorry to feel that one had on a
good wire trace. On the other hand, when spinning a small chilwa, and occasionally also with the
spoon, the carp would take the bait with a sharp
movement—nothing like the mighty rush of a mahseer
—but still with a quick jerk, that clearly proved they
imagined their prey to be a live fish, and therefore not
to be taken in the same leisurely manner that they
would adopt towards a leaf or a fly. And another
point to which I could never fix any satisfactory
reason was this.
Often one would drop in one's spoon or spinner,
and bring it, looking most alluring, right across a
pool full of carp, and not a fish would take the
slightest notice of it. After doing this two or three
times anger would seize one, and the next time in
went the bait with a mighty splash, and instantly a
fish would be on and away with it. At other times
the slightest splash would frighten all the fish for
yards round. And there seemed no reason for this,
as different fish in the same pool would act in diverse
ways, some scurrying away terrified from the splash
while others would come rushing to see what it was.
But verily the man who would ever think he knew
all—or even one half—there was to know about fish,
would be a sublimely confident man. But all this is
straying very far away from our boat, awaiting us
on the big river. The above is all " Carp-fishing
delightful" and such spots are few and far between,
where you can fish comfortably from the bank and
see your fish the while. Usually your river runs
broad and deep, with the jungle stretching down to
the very water's edge, making casting from the
bank a difficult, if not an impossible, feat. So recourse must be had to a boat, and if you have a
folding boat of your own and a man to row it, so
much the better, since boats of any sort are few and
far between on the forest clad rivers where you will
find your fish. At certain spots, on the Cauvery
and Bhavani rivers, coracles can be procured; also
at many places on the Tunga Bhadra can boats of
sorts be got, but where boats are, there also are
native fishermen,'and unfortunately it generally follows that the rivers are well poached in those
The coracle is a quaint round basket work frame,
covered with raw hide, and can be carried by one
man ; and it will carry two—comfortably I was going
to say, but one cannot call a coracle comfortable
by any stretch of imagination. However one can
make them bearable by placing an empty wooden
box inside to sit upon, anything in the nature of a
chair is impossible, as the legs would penetrate the
raw hide covering. Well, no matter what species
of boat you use, the procedure is the same. Once
fairly launched on the river, it remains for you to
keep your eyes open and to watch for signs of fish
being on the feed. Still, try all the water as your
boat gently drops down stream, try the eddies in the
pools and try the runs themselves, do not be frightened to try the roughest water as more than once
have I taken a carp right in the white water of a
fall. But the place they especially affect, is the
deep water and the eddies under the banks where
the latter shelve down pretty steeply to the water,
so have your boat paddled gently down the pool,
keeping just far enough out from the shore so as to
drop your tail fly close in under the bank. Do not
pull your flies too quickly, bring them to you slowly
or let them drift with the current keeping a taut
line all the time.
Now as to your rod, use either a 14' or 12' fly rod.
But the former is, I think the best, as it enables
one to get out a longer line, and I'm sure the
presence of a boat cannot tend to reassure any fish.
Take off your spinning trace and fit on a fairly
stout trout cast, wTith a couple of small salmon flies.
As with Mahseer, so with Carnatic Carp, dark flies
seem the best, and in my opinion a fly on a No. 6
Limeriis^k hook is about the best size. But forget
all Itoldyou about fly fishing for Mahseer; this is
a very different matter. The Carnatic Carp takes
a fly quite differently, he just sucks it down and
then placidly continues his way. There is no tug as
with trout, so that if you are fishing in a lazy or
careless mood, such as we'll hope you never do,
perhaps you may never know that the fish has taken
your fly at all, because* once in his mouth, when he
finds that it is not quite so succulent as he thought,
he cheerfully and unconcernedly ejects it. So watch,
and when you see a fish rise to your fly, or notice
a swirl where your fly has just gone down, strike
and strike quickly.
And when you have struck a fish draw him out,
and play him as far away from where you struck
him as possible, and having landed him, go back,
and try your fly in the same spot again, as these fish
seem often to go in shoals.
Once into a fish you will not be in much doubt
as to whether he is a Mahseer or Carnatic Carp.
The latter has none of the dash of the former, but
bores down into the deepest water he can find, and
if a big fish, it takes a good steady pull to induce
him to come up and face the net.
Some men advocate the use of a small piece of
white kid fixed on the point of the hook when fly
fishing for Carnatic Garp ; I have sometimes tried
it but it has never seemed to render my flies more
alluring; however fishermen would never have recommended it, had they not found it answer on occasions.
Another article of diet that Carnatic Carp, in common with Mahseer, are fond of, is a certain kind of
water weed, and in some places the natives make
good bags of the various sorts of carp, fishing on
the bottom with this weed wound round their hooks.
But truly fish are omnivorous. I remember toiling
all one day at Seringapatam on the Cauvery, my
total catch being one carp of 4 lbs. It was drawing
on in the afternoon when I came across a native
fisherman,   a   Mahomedan,  and   as   much   may  be
learnt from these men, I entered into conversation
with him and watched him fishing for a time. He
was using a fine bamboo rod some 4' long with a long
tungoose cast fastened to the thin end. In his belt
was a reel with about 30 yards of twine on it, the
end of the twine being tied on to the butt of the rod ;
so that whenever he got a fish on, too heavy to plav
with his light rod, he threw in the bamboo and
played the fish by hand from the reel in his belt.
He was fishing in a run that I had tried an hour
previously with fly and spoon, and in which not a
fish had stirred, and in half an hour he had caught
two carp. His bait was pieces of orange ! Having
skinned his orange and divided it up, he broke each
piece in half, and simply passed his hook through
a bit, and then swung the bait into the rapid, letting
it drift slowly7 down. And another trick he had.
Every time that he tried new water, he gathered a
handful or two of grass and thcew it into the stream,
and time and again did I see him rise one or two
carp by this method. As he informed me, it woke
the fish up.
Barbus Carnaticus, LI. 30-32 ; D. 4/8; 3^ Scales.
/"\F these smaller fry perhaps the most numerous
^-^ are the " Barils " of which there are some fourteen different species in India. The only one of
these that attains to any size is | Barilius Bola,"
(Beavan's Bola Goha) commonly called the Indian
Unfortunately this very game little fish is confined only to certain parts of India, i.e., Bengal and the
United Provinces. I have never seen or heard of
one being taken in Southern India. He will take
both a fly and a small minnow and is a most sporting fish to play ; frequently jumping clear out of
water like his English namesake. He runs to about
2 lbs. in weight, and may be fished for just as trout
are at home.
All the other Barils are small in size,-seldom exceeding 6 inches in length, some of them, being very
pretty little fishes.
You will generally find one or more sorts of them
along with Chilwa, in rivers frequented by Mahseer.
Fish for them just as you would for trout at home,
and remember they are just as shy and wary as
trout. Your flies, however, must be very small. A
No. 14 sneck bend hook for choice, as the fish are
small-mouthed, and though they will go for your fly
readily, they are not easy to hook unless your flies
are small.
Perhaps it is not very often that you will find
yourself fishing for these lesser fly-takers, as they
generally inhabit water in which Mahseer may be
taken, and it is hard to leave off spinning for one
minute when there is the hope of getting a run from
a Mahseer. Still sometimes after a hard, and we'll
hope successful, morning after the bigger fish, it is a
nice and quiet form of relaxation to get one's little
10 ft. trout rod out and imagine oneself on some
bonny burn in far Caledonia.
As regards colour in flies, here again, if you stick
to dark colours you won't be far wrong ; try black
gnats, black palmers, blue duns, etc., though in the
evening I have found white moths successful.
Fish cannily and fish up stream as you would in a
small burn at home. Use light tackle, a fine drawn
trout cast with three flies.
They do not run large, the biggest I ever caught
was just under i lb. and he fought like a little demon.
When fishing in a lake with these pretty little fish
rising well one can have really excellent sport as
though it looks easy enough to catch them yet you
will find it is by no means so simple as it looks.
The illustration shows one of the small barils, so
numerous in the lake at Ootacamund.
There are several ways of putting on your drop
flies, two of the simplest of which I will mention
here. No. I. If your fly is on looped gut, bend your
gut cast into a simple loop, and pass this through
the loop of fly gut, then pass the fly up through this
 Plate III.
  Plate IV.
loop and pull taut. No. 2. Tie a knot in the end
of your drop, and then make a simple knot with
drop round your cast and pull tight. You must do
the knot of No. 2 just above a knot on your cast, so
that it will not slip down.
Do not have the gut of vour drop flies too long,
or they will wind round your cast. Also put your
two drop flies between two and three feet apart
from each other, and away from the tail fly.
Is another fish that also is to be found in rivers,
and is a small prettily coloured fish with a black
spot over the anal fin. They do not appear to be
nearly so numerous as the Chilwa or Barils, and
according to Thomas are only to be found in certain
rivers in Southern India. Personally I only know
them in the Cauvery and Cubbany rivers (and have
also seen I believe, but not caught them in a tributary of the Kala Nadi) and have had very little
experience with them even in those rivers. They7
require quick striking and also seem shy so that the
longer the line you can get out, the better will be
your chance of success. You will not catch them
over \ lb., so fish very fine, with the same small flies
as recommended for Barils.
And then the Chilwa or Chela. This is perhaps
the commonest fish in India. There are some ten
species of them scattered all over India, but all
much the same. They run usually about six inches
in length, though I have heard of them being caught
nine inches, and a foot long. They are a small long-
shaped fish, with a thin body, and the dorsel fin set
very far back. They are covered with minute silver
scales, which come off very easily when handled.
Their colouring when freshly caught in running
water is most beautiful, the brilliant silver of their
scales contrasting with the pale greenish sheen of
their backs, gives a fleeting radiance that cannot be
reproduced on paper.
You will find them both in ponds, and in the still
waters in the rivers. They are most game little fly-
. takers, occasionally jumping right out of the water
after your flies.
Quick striking and small flies are two of the sine
qua nons for catching them.
They are perhaps the bait most appreciated by
Mahseer, but as they are delicate as live bait, and
come to pieces rapidly as dead bait, you will usually
find it convenient to use some fish of a tougher
species. Unless, as at some places on the Cauvery,
you can obtain an unlimited supply of Chilwa, when
you will find them an excellent lure to use, since
as soon as one gets a trifle ragged you can mount
a fresh one. And if using a simple spinner like a
crocodile, the mounting takes but little time ; and
really I did not find that with careful spinning, they
came to pieces ^o very7 quickly.
There are some seven species of Batchwa in India
the best known being P. Garua. (Beavan's Eutro-
pUchthys   vacha).    The Batchwa  is a game little.
 Plate VII.
fish running up to 2 lbs. in weight, who  will  tak£
either fly (lake trout size) or small spoon.
He is only to be found in the rivers of Northern
India. One excellent thing about him is that he
will take in coloured water, in fact the time to fish
for them is between March and November, when
Mahseer fishing is out of the question. They have
small teeth which cut one's gut occasionally, so
examine your snoods from time to time.
N.B.—The Batchwa is noted here, as he is a fly-taker.
His real place however should be in Chapter VIII. as
his family is the " Siluridae."
|_J ERE is a fish that I must give a chapter to
* * himself. He seems very little known, perhaps
his name has frightened people but none the less
he is well worthy of mention. And surely he must
be first cousin to the great Tarpon of America ?
For is not the Tarpon I Megalops Thrissoides," i.e.,.
Big-eyed fish with a swelling; while " Megalops
Cyprinoides "—Big-eyed carp with a swelling; both
from the Greek. I speak here with fear and trembling, that some scientific giant will crush me with
scorn, for my interpretation of the above; but anyhow one has only to compare the pictures of the
two fish to convince one that our Megalops must
be a blood relation of sorts to the great " Silver
King." I see that Dr. Day says that he is to be
found all over India ; he does not mention however—
I speak under correction—to what size he runs.
Personally7 I have caught them up to 3 lbs. in
weight and have been broken by fish that must have
well over 5 lbs. And one man assured me that he
had caught a 12 lber., and I have no reason to doubt
his statement. The most striking point about
Megalops is as his name would imply, his large
black "eyes, a feature he shares with several other
esturial fish; and which are probably given them to
enable them to see their prey in the coloured waters
of the estuaries.
 Plate VIII..
Two tanks near to Madras, both of which hold
Megalops, I have frequently fished in ; in one tank,
though I have caught them with a worm, I have
never seen one rise on the surface to my knowledge ;
though in the other tank I have seen theni rolling
over in shoals in the early mornings, and have had
excellent sport with them with a fly sometimes.
They take a big-sized trout fly, any colour seems
to suit them, and require very quick striking, and
when hooked, they give excellent play7. They are
really estuary fish, but seem to become acclimatized
to fresh water very quickly. They are said to be
destructive to fry, so are not a good fish to introduce
into preserved waters.
One thing about fishing for them with a fly is,
that one seldom seems to catch one over I lb. by
this method. But the way to fish for Megalops is
undoubtedly by live-baiting. Send out a man early7,
the day you mean to fish, and tell him to procure
you a supply of small fish, between 2 and 4" long,
and give him a chatty wherein to put them. The
chatty should be about half full of water, and over
the mouth tie a piece of mosquito netting, so that
while the water is well aerated the little fish do not
get an opportunity to jump out. As live-bait there
is no doubt that small fish of the carp species (called
Kendi in Madras) are the best, being tough and
well liked by the Megalops. Failing these, Chilwa
may be used, also small fish of the murral tribe.
Now to rig up your tackle. Opinions vary, the
following is what I always used. A rod of io' or
thereabouts, fairly stiff but not too much so, or you
lose half the pleasure of playing your fish. Then a
reel with about 30 yards of trout line and a 3-yard
cast of good stout gut. Next prepare a snood of
stout gut 2' long with a loop at one end and a No.
2 or 3 Limerick hook at the other. Three inches
below the loop should be a small No. 6 swivel.
Lastly comes the float; with this at first I had some
difficulty, one does not want too big or conspicuous
a float, while if your float is too small y7our bait
keeps taking it under. Eventually I rigged up a
floaet however, which I always found very satisfactory.
Take an ordinary whisky bottle cork, bore a small
hole in the top, and having cut a piece of quill 2"
long press this in and with a drop of glue added, it
will stick quite firm. Paint two red bands on this
like on the detective float. Then blacken the cork
with ink, and having sharpened the thin end a bit,
bind on a loop of stout line. Your float then is
simply an adaptation of the detective float (Plate
XXIV, Fig. I) while it is stout enough not to be taken
under by your small bait. Your float should be put
on at the join of the cast and the snood, i.e., 2' away7
from your bait. Then I always had a small cork—
painted white—tied on where my running line joined
my cast. This fulfilled two purposes, holding up the
line and cast and also telling me when to strike—of
which more\anon. A little vaseline or red deer's fat
rubbed on tjie last few feet of line is also useful in
keeping the line afloat and thus avoiding distressing
the bait unnecessarily. Then to start fishing. Take
a small bait from the chatty, and hook him lightly
through the skin of the back, if of the carp species,
but if he is a chilwa you must pass the hook through
the orbits.    This latter is a nasty method, but we
fishermen are cruel brutes anyway; and luckily7 fish
do not really feel   pain as we do,—the  arguments
on this subject are too hackneyed to be reproduced
here.    Then having ascertained that your small bait
is lively enough, by holding him in the water just
under the bank; swing him as far out into the tank
as possible, and having gathered in the slack, wait
'events with your eye fixed on the float.    Megalops
by the way often seem to be fond of lying close in
under   the   bank  if the  water is  at all deep,  and
several times have I been taken with a rush, when
just lowering my bait gently into the water to see
if he was alive and well.    If your bait is all right,
the float will keep on the move, generally travelling
in under the  bank  after a  time, in which case it
must be swung out again.    Sometimes you will be
taken without the slightest warning, but generally
the increased liveliness of your float will give notice
that your little bait is perturbed in mind, probably7
because of the vicinity of some larger fish, therefore
whenever you see your float bobbing with unusual
vigour be  ready.      What  usually  happens   is   that
after a short series of such bobs, the float disappears
suddenly,   and   action   on   your  part  is   necessary.
But what action is the difficulty of Megalops fishing, every man has his own pet theor)?, some strike
instantly, others let the fish run for a few yards, but
whatever system one adopts it is astonishing what
a number of fish one loses.    The Megalops has got
the most extraordinarily bony mouth, and the marvel
 is how one ever gets a hook-hold at all ; a point on
which I'm sure you'll agree if you examine the
mouth of the first one you catch. Well I'll give my
theory with regard to striking, not that I flatter
myself that it is better than anyone else's ; but it is
necessary to give some theory in order that the
beginner may have some one to curse when he
misses fish after fish. As soon as my float disappeared,
I watched my white piece of cork, and immediately
that started to travel, I knew that a big fish had '
taken hold and struck accordingly. These tactics I
found necessary as often an extra lively bait would
manage to drag the float under temporarily, and as
a fairly hard strike is necessary, it meant that you
lost your bait every time you struck for nothing.
Once get your Megalops on, and you could not wish
for a gamer fish, he plays just like an English trout
sometimes springing a couple of feet out of water
three times running. But the annoying part of fishing for Megalops is the glorious ! uncertainty of the
sport. After more than a year's steady experience
of Megalops, fishing frequently for them, really I find
that my knowledge of their habits is practically nil.
Why is it that some afternoons one will get six or
eight runs in an hour, while the next afternoon though
sun, wind and every condition is identical, not a
fish will stir ? One week they will take fairly,
another week well, a third week not at all. And
then their behaviour with fly. Occasionally—but
how seldom—have I had really excellent sport with
fly, but for every single time I have got them to take
fly, some fifteen practically blank days are  in the
debit total. 1 have been told by one or two men
however, that in some tanks where food supply is not
abundant, excellent sport has been had wTith fly
among the smaller fish. On three separate occasions
only, have I seen a tank simply7 alive with Megalops ;
tanks too that I had frequently fished in, and would
never had otherwise said were crammed with fish ;
and on each of these occasions one had only to drop
in one's fly to be taken, and often broken also I
regret to sa)7, as the fish are exceedingly powerful.
Megalops unfortunately is not a common fish, being
onlv found in estuaries and in tanks near the coast
line, and as far as I know only in certain parts of
India. It is a pity that they are not more widespread, as a more excellent—-tho' annoying—fish for
tank-angling, it would be hard to find. Some people
may say how are they to recognise a Megalops
when they see him, or know that a tank holds them ?
The first question is easy, look at the plate and
remember his big. black eyes, and you cannot fail to
recognise him* The second question is more difficult.
However if you think that there may be Megalops
in any tank, watch it between 5 and 6 p*m., and if
they are present you will soon see big swirls here
and there, and generally a gleaming silver side or a
forked tail; and as they rise in a way peculiar to
themselves, w7hen once recognised, you are never
likely to mistake the rise of a Megalops for that of
any other fish.
Megalops Cyprinoides, L.l. 37—42 ; D. jy—20.
I_J|ERE is a gentleman with many vices and but
few virtues, but by reason of those few virtues
we will admit him to our select circle. To enumerate them, he takes a fly and spoon bait, indifferently
it is true, but then he is greedy as regards live-bait
and frogs. Also he is a very common fish, abounding in tanks and weedy pools all over India.
He has one more virtue too, though it is one that
does not concern us much, and that is he is one of
the few fish which exhibit parental affection towards
their young. But when they get old enough to look
after themselves, then he'll eat them quick enough,
so after all it is a virtue that does not wear very
well. Among his numerous vices, perhaps the two
worst are, his strong cannibal propensities among
the fry of his betters; and a large mouth full of
nasty sharp teeth, that have an annoying way of
cutting through your snood or trace, if you are using
You will find Murral also in the deep still pools of
rivers, and sometimes will take them when spinning
for Mahseer. Also I have taken them when float
fishing with a worm; so he^-is~-a. pretty ubiquitous
gentleman taken altogether.    But he is a very shy
 Plate IX.
fish, a fact which you will do well to remember,
if you are fishing exclusively for Murral. Perhaps
the most deadly way of fishing for them is with
First you must have a good-sized float, and a
trace (of gut is the best, though you risk it's being cut,
still wire even if fine weighs down your bait rather
cruelly) of a couple of yards long, with a number 3, 4,
or 5 Limerick hook at the end. Next select a small
fish of 3^ or 4 inches from your bait kettle, and pass
the hook through his upper lip (or the skin of the back
just in front of the dorsal fin is better), taking care
to injure him as little as possible. Then put on enough
lead about 8 inches from your bait to keep him under
water. Also it is as well to have a small swivel
between the float and bait.
Then having fastened your trace to your running
line, swing your bait carefully into the water ; either
hold your rod, or fix it with the reel running free.
Strike when your float moves off and disappears
•under water.
In fact all that I have said with regard to live-
baiting for Megalops, may be taken to apply to
Murral as well.
Another excellent way of catching Murral is that,
much adopted by the natives, of setting trimmers
with live frogs. Select some place where the water
is fairly deep, close under the bank, and also where
some tree or branch extends out from the shore.
Have a hook (No. 3 Limerick is a good size, or you
can use a treble if preferred) fastened to a short length
of flexible wire, and the wire fastened on to a piece
of good stout twine. Now take a live frog'—one of
the small brown ones are the best—and gathering
up the loose skin on his back, pass the point arid
barb of the hook through this. Then pass the frog
and line over any branch jutting out above the water,
and lower gently till the frog sits naturally on the
water and the hook is relieved from his weight,
Lastly bind the loose end of twine round some solid
object on the bank, and go away and set other
trimmers in like fashion.
If however, you want the fun of playing the fish,
you can use your running line instead of the twine
and fix your rod on the bank. In this way, though,
there is not always the same likelihood of the fish
being hooked, because the reel lets out line ; while
in the other way, the line being taut, the fish hooks
himself immediately on taking the bait. And you
yourself must keep away from your trimmers, as the
Murral is a shy fish as I said before, and will not
Come feeding on the surface if he sees you anywhere
Still you must not be too far away, as frequently
the Murral will wriggle himself free if given time,
He is not such a fool as to grab the frog and hook
suddenly as a rule, and I have seen a Murral miss
a frog four times running, sooner than seize him
promiscuously. And again there is not much fun
in playing a Murral, he is rather like an animated
log. I remember one day fishing in a pool, in a
river, which I was told held small Mahs§ert and in
two consecutive casts I caught a 3-lb, Mahseer and
a 10-lb. MurraL    I wag fishing with fine gut and a
small spoon, so dared put no strain on ; however,
I landed the Murral in eight minutes, while the
Mahseer took ten to land. Why the former never
cut through my gut was a mystery to me, he must,
I think, have got it in between two of his teeth.
However this is not always the rule, as I have
had a Murral on in strong water, that gave very excellent play, and took quite a time to land.
Another plan of fishing for Murral, which though
I have never tried it personally, I hear on excellent
authority is sometimes very successful, is dapping
with a dead frog. This is apparently the plan to
try when you get one of those ponds so covered by
water-lilies that ordinary fishing is out of the question. A short stiff rod is necessary, and on the end
of your running line, a short wire trace with a stout
treble hook. Hook the dead frog through the loose
skin on his back and then commence to dap (like
one does for pike at home with a dead fish in rough
water) between the leaves on the pond. If a Murral
is kind enough to take your bait, lift him out without ceremony.
One point worthy of notice with these fish, is their
curious faculty of being able to live in the sun-dried
mud of a tank.
There are several tanks which hold Murral, which
run dry for four or five months every year, and the
fish in them aestivate during all this time in the
dried mud.
The Murral too, is one of the few fish which can
breathe our air direct, owing to an air-cavity he
carries  in his internal mechanism.    In looking  at
  Plate X-
'TPHIS is one of the largest families of fish known,
*      and   includes   over   ioo   genera.    They   are
scaleless fish and have fleshy feelers attached to their
These barbels are often of great length and generally numerous. Only five are mentioned in this
book, three in this chapter—the other two being the
Butchwa in Chapter V, and Macrones in Chapter IX.
Of the three larger Siluroids treated of here, I only
know Nos. I and 3, but No. 2 from all I hear is
amenable to the same tactics as the.others.
All three are commonly called freshwater sharks,
owing to their voracity, their formidable teeth and
their general ugliness.
One peculiarity of all Siluridas is that their skins
are scaleless.    The three are :
(i) Wallago Attu—sometimes called $ Bawalli,"
also Mulley.
(ii)  Silundia Gangetica.
(iii) Bagarius Yarrellii—sometimes called the
One of these latter fish holds, I fancy about the
record in size, for a fish caught honestly on rod and
line. This was a fish of some 5 ft. 8 inches in length,
weighing just under 138 lbs. and was caught by7 a
Mr. Van Cortland in the Jumna.
 Though these fish will occasionally take a phantom
or dead bait, by far the most paying way of fishing
for them is by live-baiting. Take any small fishes
(except those of the Murral species, wdiich must
come up to breathe) of 3 to 6 inches long, and fish
precisely as laid down for live-baiting for Mahseer.
Remember also that their formidable array of teeth
makes a wire trace essential, and your rod and line
should be strong, as though these fish give none of
the play of the Mahseer, they run to great weight,
and put a very fair strain on the line when being
towed in.
All three are river fish, though Wallago Attu is a
great frequenter of tanks ; in which, however, unless
you catch one, you will not suspect their existence,
as they prefer keeping down in the depths and are
not partial to the light of day. Apparently Wallago
Attu is extremely short-sighted, at least one would
judge so from his very small eyes and tremendouslv
long feelers, the latter evidently of use to him in
locating his prey. Of the two I know, the Goonch
is I think the more sporting fish, as he takes your
bait in a business-like way, and gives very fair play
keeping well down the while. Mind you here I
am speaking of the goonch of the smaller rivers,
not the monsters of the Ganges, who apparently
give but little play. Goonch seem generally to
lie in the heavy water of a rapid, and appear to
take in coloured water as' well as clear. They
have most'formidable teeth which you will be well
advised to keep your fingers clear of when extracting the hooks, as even a prick from their teeth
   Plate XII-
often gives one a painful finger for a day or two.
And do not judge the Goonch by his picture, he is
not really quite such an ugly beggar as his portrait
would lead one to suppose. Wallago Attu too can
give very good play for a minute or so, when taken
in a rapid; after that however he gives up and
comes in like a log. He also has awful teeth; one
really wonders in looking at the siluroids what
they can possibly want with such an appalling array7,
as none of their victims can require all the tearing
and masticating such a mouth full of teeth would
lead one to suppose.
Wallago Attu, D. 1/4; V. 8 -10; A. 86—93.
Bagarius Yarrellii, 8 barbels ; A. 15 ; 6 fins on belly.
Silundia Gangetica, 2 barbels (minute) ; Anal,
40—46, 6 fins on belly.
A ND now let us leave the rivers altogether, with
f^r* their rapids and their pools, and the glorious
scenery, and having returned to our daily tasks
again, let us look round and see what we can find in
the way of our favourite sport, to solace ourselves
with nearer home.
In many stations in parts of India, one will find
tanks of sorts, either Water supply, Temple, or
Irrigation tanks. These latter are not as a rule of
much use, as in the hot weather they usually run
dry, and the fish in them never attain to any size.
The temple tanks may7 be good for fish, except
that they are so often netted on contract, which of
course ruins them for our purpose.
There remain only the water supply tanks, and a
certain number of private tanks in which netting is
prohibited. These will be what we want. Provided
that these tanks are fed during the rains, by channels
from rivers or canals, through which fry can find
ingress,! then there should be very fair coarse fishing
in them.
But do not think that you are just going to sit
 Plate XIII.
and watch your float till it bobs, and then haul out
fish. The Indian fish is not honest, in fact some of
them are most accomplished thieves, time and again
will they steal all your bait, and hardly move your
float. In fact, if you are not a very^keen fisherman,
it is quite on the cards that you will give up float-
fishing altogether and stick to small game shooting,
till you can get to your rivers again.
But for the benefit of those few keen anglers, I
will give a few notes on some of the fish worth
catching; though to my readers, who. follow me
through these next pages, I most earnestly commend
that very excellent book of Mr. Thomas' "Tank
Here is a fish, a most awful thief, and a fish that
will go far to breaking your heart, and sickening
you with float-fishing altogether.
In all float-fishing I would recommend you to use
those most excellent floats called detective floats,
evolved by Mr. Thomas, a full description of which
will be found in the chapter headed Tackle.
Fish with paste, with your bait just resting on the
bottom, and ground-bait the water round with wet
bran thrown in between your float and the bank.
It is not much use fishing in less than 3! or 4 feet
of water—the deeper it is the better. And do not
throw your bait farther away than just under the
point of your rod, as you cannot strike properly if
your bait is too far away.
As for your rod, it should be fairly stiff to admit
of the  very quick striking necessary for these fish,
and a good length is 10 feet.
A good-sized hook, say No. 2 or 3 Limerick scale,
should be used and weighted so as to rest on the
bottom. Do not fix on the weight to your gut
collar, or snood, as then you have no means of
knowing if your hook is resting properly on the
ground. A plan that 1 have found always very
successful is to have a short length of gut, say 1 inch,
tied to the shank of your hook, and hanging loose
Knot this gut, and pinch on shot, or simplex leads
to make up weight required. The lead apparently
lies in the mud on the bottom and does not appear
to scare away the fish.
Or else bind soft lead wire round the shank of
your hook taking care not to block the point or barb
in any way. This latter plan is necessary if you mean
to have a second hook hanging loose below. I have
heard of this being done often; just tie a half inch
of stout gut to the bend of hook No. 1, and have a
second hook hanging free to lie in the mud. This
sounds like poaching or snatching, but is not really
so, since the labeo is such an awful thief that it
takes all the ingenuity man is possessed of to make
even an average bag, except in tanks where they
swarm, and then if your sport is good you can
dispense with the second hook.
: Use good stout gut, or better still Hercules wire.
Watch your float an£k when it gives one or two
slow bobs, and then twitches rapidly, strike quick
and hard, and you may, or may not get him, as he is
 Plate XIV.
an awful thief. When you have caught a labeo there
is no mistaking him, as he has a funny little fringed
mouth placed right under his snout and is speckled
all over with small red spots.
By what I have said above, do not assume that
the labeo is onlv a tank fish. He abounds in some
rivers, but is not a fish that you will often catch in
rivers since you are generally after nobler game,
and unless you fish for him exclusively you are not
likelv to bring him to bag promiscuously with spoon
or fly.
Labeo, L.l. 40—44 ; D. 16—18 ; 4 Barbels.
Then comes
He is to North -India what the Labeo is to the
South. He is to be caught the same way, but is I
fancy a much bolder biter than his southern relation.
He also is to be taken in rivers, and I have occasionally caught one while spinning for Mahseer.
Rohu, L.l. 40—42 ; D.  15—16 ; 2 Minute Barbels.
Personallv I have never caught a " Mirga," but I
am told that the same method of fishing applies to
them. They are silvery fishes, with black-stained
The illustration opposite is that of the Mirga, his
smaller cousin is so like him, however, that no
second illustration is necessary for.
Here is another fish usually inhabiting the same
ponds and to be fished for in the same manner as
the labeo. He does not however run so big, as,
though you may7 expect with luck to catch labeos
up to 7 or 8 lbs. in weight, you will not get:the
White Carp exceeding 3 or 4 lbs. He is a pietty
silvery fish, with small red spots on scales.
Mirga, L.l. 40—45 ; D. 15—16 ; 2 Barbels.
White Carp, L.l, 42—44 ;  D. 17—19 ; 4 Barbels.
A good receipt for paste is as follows:—Take
4 oz. of common flour, boil, dry and pound fine.
Take 2 oz. of groundnut, roast fine and pound up.
Take \ oz. of coriander seed, roast and grind to
powder. Then mix together into a thick paste.
This is the receipt given by Mr. Thomas in his
book, and I herewith acknowledge my indebtedness
to him. One thing you may add to any baits of
this description if you like.
Get the paste to the right consistency by using
dry7 flour or bran, and then add a little clean white
cotton wool and mix thoroughlv. By this plan you
will find the bait remains longer on your hook and
is not so liable to flake off.
The only disadvantage of this plan is that, after
a time your hook becomes rather clogged with waste
wool ; so that you must settle for yourself, whether
or no you will use it. Other paste and ground-baits
are given in Chapter XV.
The Olive Carp is a fish that extends over most
of India, and may be occasionally taken with a fly,
 Plate XV.
  Plate XVI.
\    -
•'■   Vr-"-'y""5
■. - "R
out a worm or paste bait seems to suit him better.
The largest that I have caught or seen caught
weighed \ lb. though I believe that they do run
considerably bigger.
If float-fishing, watch for a few quick bobs and
then the disappearance of the float, the chances are
that it will be an Olive Carp, or our next friend the
Indian Gudgeon.
The Olive Carp (B. Chrysopoma) when small may
be recognised by a black spot on the body near the
tail. They are an excellent lure to use live-baiting
for other fish, being both tough and vigorous.
B. Sarana (N. India), L.l. 32—34 ;  D. 3/8 ; A. 3/5.
B. Chrysopoma (S. India), L.l. 28—30 ;  D. 4/8 ; A. 3/5.
He is a very ugly, yellowish, semi-transparent fish
with a flat head, and a mouth full of teeth. He
runs up to 3 lbs. in weight and is a bold biter.
He is not a fish that you will ever find yourself
fishing exclusively for, but he occasionally chips in
among his betters, and is  an ugly truculent little
ruffian and a fearful devourer of fry I should imagine.
Gobius Giurus, L.l.  26—34 ; D, 6 11/9 ; -v. 4/4.
This fine fish that runs up to 4 ft. in length may
be sometimes taken with a worm, though the best
way of fishing for him is with a small dead bait,
about 3 inches long on spinning tackle. . Spin fairly
deep, for though you w7ill see these fishes rolling
over on the surface, this is only play, and they feed
near the bottom.
They7 give magnificent play when hooked, their
shape giving them great power in the water, and
they occasionally spring clean out of water while
being played.
Do not spin too fast, as their mouths are very
small. These fish seem to be only found in Central
and Northern India !
He is a silvery fish, with very small scales, and
distinct lateral line. Sometimes marked with dark
crossbands on the back.
N. Chitala, L.l. 180 ; D. 8—10 ; A. no—125.
Is a fla»t-sided deep fish with a very small dorsal
fin, and a ventral, anal and caudal fin all in one.
He is silvery in colour with minute scales and runs
up to about 2 lbs. in weight. A small hook is necessary, as they have small mouths compared to their
size. Fish with a worm, or a dead prawn (without
its shell) and strike when your float bobs vigorously.
With all these fish, have your bait resting on the
He is rather a pretty fish when first taken from
the water, also he gives good play for his size, but
his mouth being small and very tender, you will lose
a certain number through the hook-hold giving way.
N. Kapirat, L.l. 225 ; D. 7-9 ; A. 100—no.
This  is  such a  jolly little  fish,  that  one cannot
help being fond  of him.    His  looks too  are  in  his
 Plate XVIII.
  Plate XIX.
favour, and when on the feed he is a more honest
biter than most Indian fish. He is a flat-sided fish
(with body elevated and compressed) with greenish
tranverse bands, and little white spots, and he has
a funny little mouth with prominent teeth, rather
like that of a small monkey. He feeds chiefly on
weeds, though will take a small worm. I believe
that they run up to 2 lbs., but I have never caught
them over f lb. myself. A 2 lb-er should give excellent sport, as their shape gives them great power in
the water, and they are game fish for their size.
In fishing for them I found that it was best not
to strike, but when your float signalled a bite, to
pull the line fairly slowly towards one, and generally
the fish seemed to hook themselves while making
grabs at the worm.
They are pretty little fish, and well worth transferring to an aquarium. In one bungalow we lived
in we had a small tank, size 6 ft. by 4 ft. and 2 ft.
deep made, in which we put any small fish we
caught, and we derived much amusement and a
good deal of instruction watching their habits.
In angling for this fish, do not have your bait
resting on the bottom, but about 1 to 2 ft. below
the surface.
E. Suratensis, L.l. 45 ; D 18-19/14 ; V. 1/5.
He has a smaller cousin, E. Maculatus, almost
prettier in colouring than his big relative, whom you
may sometimes catch. Though his mouth is tiny he
is a villainously greedy little beggar, grabbing at
worms  almost   the size  of himself.    His colour  is
usually canarv vellow, with horizontal rows of
golden spots, and 3 or more dark blotches along the
middle of the side.
E. Maculatus, L.l. 35 ; D. 18/10 ; V. 1/5.
This fish (belonging to the Siluridae family) is
commonly called cat-fish down South, or else by its
Tamil name of Kellete. In the North it is called
" Tengra. " It is a fairly common fish abounding in
most tanks, and also in some rivers. The big ones
are to be caught spinning a natural bait, and by live-
baiting, while the smaller ones will take prawn or
worm. They give very fair play for their size, have
large mouths and are bold biters. When handled
they give vent to a curious squawk. Their dorsal
and pectoral fins are armed with sharp strong spikes,
the one on the dorsal fin being especially formidable
and capable of inflicting a nasty wound. I do not
fancv that any other fish would care to tackle one,
though I have seen a snake about 4' long with a £ lb.
cat-fish in its mouth, trying for nearly half an hour
to kill it. After watching him for a good time I
lowered my hook under the snake and caught him
up. Once on the bank he let go the fish, which lay
there bleeding and apparently dead: but no sooner
did I touch it than it appeared lively enough, and on
being returned to the water swam gaily away as if
nothing had happened. The Tommies in. Madras
catch large numbers of these cat-fish in the fort
moat, using worms as bait.
M.  Punctatus,   A.  n ; D.   1/7 |o; about  10  black
spots along L.l.
M.  Cavasious,   A.   11; D.   1/7 Jo ; all fins except A.
dotted black.
M.   Tengara,     A.   10;  D.   1/7  o;    4    dark    bands
along side.
M.   Gulio. A.   14;   D.   1/7 |o;   (spine    strongly
All above 8 barbels, and long adipose fin.
/~VF the most important fish to be caught in
^^ estuaries, the Bamin and the Nair (or Cock-
up) are by far the best known, especially by those
who have been lucky7 enough to visit the Malabar
Coast of India. The style of fishing is much the
same for both, only with the Nair fish use stouter
tackle and a bigger bait, as they run large and are
extremely powerful fish. It is of no use trying for
these fish except when they are on the feed; at
least such is the axiom laid down, but like all other
rules it is not inviolable. Both the Bamin and the
Nair may be caught from boats, either in the
estuaries, or on the bars, or out at sea. Unless you
are a good sailor however this method, in the two
latter cases will by no means appeal to you. It is
on the West Coast of Southern India that these fish
seem to be best know;), though I have frequently seen
Bamin on the East Coast, notably at Ennur near
Madras, where the mouth of the Kusastala river
forms a fine backwater with the sea. On the West
Coast the fishermen put out two or three miles to
sea and catch them with nets, though they also
have hand lines, which are a clumsy imitation of
our spinning tackle, but which are nevertheless
extraordinarily effective, on occasions, in their
hands.    The line is wound in an ordinary ball,  to
Plate XX.
  the end of which is a short length of wire ending in
a large double or treble hook. Around the shank
of the hook, which is 4 or 5" long, is fastened a
piece of wood cut roughly in the shape of a fish and
round this is tied a piece of white rag. Then as
soon as the man sees that the fish are on the feed,
he slings in his rough spinner and pulls it rapidly in
hand over hand, repeating the process at intervals.
If taken by a fish, there is no question of play, but
the victim is hauled in as quickly as his struggles
will allow. Occasionally the fishermen will see by
the behaviour of the small fish, that a shoal of
Bamin are on the feed out at sea, and then surrounding them in their boats the fun is fast and
furious for a time, the men hauling in a fish on their
lines almost at every cast. But by far the pleasant-
est way to fish for both Bamin and Nair, is to spin
from one of the numerous bridges that span the backwaters near their mouths ; bridges such as the road
bridges near Tellicherry and Mahe, and the railway
bridges of Ellattur, Mahe, etc. Around the wooden
piles of some of the old road bridges, fish seem to
congregate at certain times of the tide, and besides
the advantage you have of being well over your fish
you have not the cramped and uncomfortable feeling
that a boat generally begets in most people. Now
as to the time to fish. You will be able to collect
simply tons of advice from all your friends, and
most of it you will find differ in some respects, so
that by the time that you have got the advice all
carefully sorted out, the conclusion you will probably arrive at,  will be—that a rod, reel and spinning
tackle are necessary, and that you can fish at all
or any times if the fish will take. And if you take
the advice of the native fishermen also, you will
feel inclined to tear out the few remaining grey
hairs left to you. For you go down at 8 a.m. and
spin, catching nothing, the native says "Ah wait
till 12 o'clock Sahib." You wait, and catch nothing
but a mild sunstroke and get an awful thirst. " Five
o'clock is the time, Sahib" is their next condoling
remark; and darkness falls on your unprintable
remarks to your mentor. " But Sahib, what can do,
this hot weather, you come 4, 5, 6 months then
catching plenty fish." And when you get home and
peruse your copious notes, you will find that one
friend has told you U I fished in cold weather, also
during rains—fair sport—but the native fishermen all
said " Ah vou coming hot weather Sahib, catching
plenty fish " ! ! ! But once you have had some luck
and begin to know the habits of the fish, then such
sorrows will more or less fall'from you. There is
no doubt that the fish do take better at certain
periods of the tide, indeed at some periods thev will
not take at all, not being there apparently. If you
have leisure, go down your first day and taking your
breakfast with you prepare to spend the day by the
water side. You may find it warm at midday, but
usually in the hot weather on the West Coast a
cool breeze off the sea tempers the heat and renders
it quite bearable. Generally as soon as the tide
commences to flow (i.e. from the sea) if you are
standing on the bridge, yrou will see shoals of small
fish—mullet—swimming about, and soon will come
 great splashings and plungings and you will awake
to the fact that the big fish are on the feed. Now
comes your time. Having got your tackle all ready
(I suppose that I should have started this chapter
with tackle required, anyhow now it must come
later) mount a small dead mullet about 4 to 6" long
on your spinner and cast it in wherever you may
have seen big fish on the move, and spin slowly,
letting the current swing your bait round—if you are
fishing on the side away from the sea—otherwise
pull your bait across letting it just swing under the
piers before lifting it out. And if you are taken,
look out, the fish are powerful and run out line at a
tremendous rate. Even if you cannot see your fish
you will not be in any doubt as to what has taken
you, the Bamin seizing your bait with a jerk and a
rush, something like a mahseer, while the Nair
takes it slowly and deliberately more after the Carnatic Carp style. It is rather fascinating if you can
see vour fish, to watch the different methods of the
two. I remember one day fishing from Mahe bridge,
and the water being fairly clear I could see wrhat
happened quite distinctly. Spinning slowly across
between the piles below, one would occasionally
see a Bamin dart at one's bait, and either swirl away
or there would be an answering scream from the
reel. The Nair on the other hand would come up
slowly, a great flash of silver, and mouth one's bait
turning down with it to the depths below. Then
tauten and you find a fish worthy of your skill, play
him carefully and hard, as both the Bamin and the
Nair,  though they will often rush  away  from   the
bridge at first, will try and get back under the piles
You will not as a rule catch Bamin of over 10 lbs.
weight. He has a mouth full of teeth, and gut
traces are useless ; his mouth also is hard and does
not afford the same hook-hold as a Mahseer's does,
so with these fish it is as well to add an extra treble.
The Nair fish also has a mouth full of teeth, and as
he runs to 50 or 60 lbs., good stout wire traces are
If the fish are not feeding freely, so that you
cannot keep casting your bait to a rising fish—and on
some days the fish never seem to come properly on
the feed at all—then try spinning between the piles
beneath your feet. Personally I have alvvavs found
it much better spinning on the side of the bridge
towards which the stream is flowing, lean over the
rails above one of the supports of the bridge, and
having cast your spinner out and away from the
bridge opposite the next support, draw in the line
letting your bait spin down with the current across
the opening between the two piers. Then try the
same tactics to the support on yyour other side.
Often although not a solitary fish is to be seen
moving, you will suddenly see a flash of silver, and
know that you have at last drawn a watching fish
from his lair among the piles. Now as to striking
for these fish, this is an exceeding difficult question,
both of them having such bony mouths, which afford
indifferent hook-hold. Of course if you can do so
stride as hard as possible. But when a fish takes
you suddenly and dashes off like an express train, it's
no easy matter to strike. To do so means that you
must lower your point for a second, and that momentary slackening of your line may be fatal if the fish
is but lightly hooked. And an additional danger
with these fish is that when being played.they will
frequently spring feet out of water. I have had. a
big Nair fish on that twice running sprang half the
height of the bridge up into the air. Therefore if
one must have a rule to go 03?, strike and that hard,
if opportunity offers, otherwise keep as taut a line
as possible on the chance of the fish's struggles
causing the hooks to work in. Next as to tackle.
Too big a rod is not necessary, especially when one
may be spinning during the hottest hours of the day,
on an unsheltered bridge. A 14' rod with a short
spinning top, is a nice length, a stiff top being necessary on account of the bait used being heavy. A
good-sized reel to hold at least 120 yards (160 yards
is better) of stout spinning line, wire traces and a
spinner for natural bait. As regards the traces,
there is a certain amount of bother with them, since
you must remember that yOu are fishing in water
more or less salt, considerably more than less
Personally I have always found the Hercules wire
traces all right, also some excellent traces made by
Hardy Bros, and called Punjaub wire traces. After
fishing both the line and trace should be soaked in
warm fresh water for a few minutes and then
allowed to dry ; when dry the traces should be
vaselined. As I said before, use as bait, small fish
of 4 to 6" long, these should be young mullet, which
there ought to be no difficulty in procuring as a rule,
since  they abound  in the backwaters,  forming the
chief food of the Bamin and Nair.    But in case you
cannot for any reason procure them, have one or two
phantoms ready for use.    But the fish are very canny,
I have had a  Nair fish come twice  at a  bait  that
was a trifle ragged, and turn away both times, and
then when I changed quickly to a new bait, come at
it again and take it without hesitation.    Then spinners.    Though I have had good  sport with  Archer
and Crocodile spinners, I have always thought that
I   have   had  more   runs   when   threading   the  bait
simply on a big single hook.    And if you adopt the
latter   method   it   is   an   improvement   to  make   a
mount   as  follows:—In   the  Chapter   on Tackle  I
have mentioned a mount of one big-eyed single hook.
Adopt this method,  only instead of binding wire to
eye of single hook take first a strong treble-not too
big—or better still a double hook if y7ou have one,
and bind wire to its eye, then lay wire up shank of
big hook,  pass  end  through eye  and  bind  tightly
with well waxed silk all up shank of big hook, letting
a space of half to one inch lie between bend of big
hook and eye of double hook.    Then thread bait as
usual till bend of single hook is well home in vent,
then sew up mouth through eye of single hook and
bind the double  neatly by  tail.    One thing I have
heard is, that one can fish all through the monsoon
for Nair and Bamin, which is a great advantage as
an  hour or  two a day with  one's rod,  would be  a
delightful change from the depressing monotony of
life  during a    West  Coast  monsoon.    One  of the
chief charms of fishing for Bamin and Nair on the
 West Coast, is the beauty of the surroundings,
whieh cannot fail to enchant all lovers of Nature
and there are few fishermen who are not to be
counted as such. The golden sands and glorious
azure of the sea, with the blue green water of the
estuary flowing swirling to meet it neath the wooden piers of the quaint old bridge ; while around the
brilliant green of the palms and mango trees is in
vivid contrast to the bright red soil of Malabar;
and behind, the great forest clad mountains of Coorg
and the Wynaad, tower above all, in a blue haze of
shimmering mist. And on the air tempered by the
cool sea breezes, lies the langourous scent of the
frangipani from the trees nestling here and there
among the palms and the quaint little huts.
Bamin, L.l. 75—85; D. 8 | 1/13—15 ( V. 1/5.
'    Nair, L.l. 52 ; D. 7—8 | 1/11—12 ; V. 1/5.
Under the heading "Estuary Fish " I must mention the Seer, though he is really entirely a sea fish.
Unfortunately he but seld&m leaves the blue water,
which may be anything from 3 to 8 miles out from
the shore, so that unless the heaving waves have no
terror for you, he is a fish that you will not be likely
to come across except on your dinner table. Should
you be a good sailor however, magnificent sport maybe had .from this, perhaps one. of the gamest fish in
the world.
Also in this chapter, just a few words about a fish
that you may meet—Lutianus Roseus, the red (rock)
perch. When the Bamin and the Nair are off their
feed, or at places where they are not, good sport may
sometimes be had at certain times of the tide, in
fishing for these perch. A live prawn is their special
delight, failing that any small live fish; but if live-
bait of any sort is quite unprocurable, or you do not
want to be bothered live-bait fishing, spin for them
just as for Nair fish. A float is no use for this
live-bait fishing, as the water is almost always too
rough ; swing in your bait keeping the line taut, and
at the slightest tug strike. In spinning for them
it is generally better I find, to spin the side of the
bridge towards which the water is flowing. Swing
out your bait so that it falls just in by the rocks at the
base of a pier and then spin slowly across, and if a
perch is at home he will generally dart out from
behind some rock and follow your bait across,
though if he really means business he will usually
take you pretty quick. Sometimes you will see a
shoal of them, but more often they seem to hunt on
their own. They are powerful fish and immediately
they feel the hook, will as a rule make straight for
the nearest rocks, so put on all the strain you dare,
but if despite you they reach the rocks, the only
thing is to get your boatman to go in quick and
dislodge the fish, otherwise he will soon, either rid
himself of the hooks or saw through your trace.
They have sharp teeth so use wire traces. The
third road bridge, Tellicherry, fishing up stream side,
is (or was when I was there last) an excellent spot
for perch.    Spinning for  these  fish I used to think
that  the  ebb  was the best tide, and about 3 horn's
before low water was my favourite time.
Whiting and other small fry of sorts may be
caught in the estuaries, but as—in the case of
whiting especially—you are entirely dependent on
your boatman for knowing where they lie, you may
as well be dependent on him as well for your bait
and "hints as to tackle. However I may as well
just mention that sand-worms are a good bait and
use a smallish hook, and stout trout gut.
Before closing this chapter I must just mention
that good fishing may be. had in some of the harbours of India, such as Madras, Karachi, etc.
Unfortunately my experience of such fishing is not
enough for me to write much about it, but should
you be stationed anywhere within close reach of a
harbour, it is worth your while trying to find out
all you can about such fishing. And if you are told
there is none, do not believe it till you have at least
had one or two tries. Go down by moonlight 7-9 p.m.
and try with live mullet, big chaps of ^-to f lb. if
you can get them, using strong tackle and fishing off
the harbour arm as near the mouth as possible.
Twice have I been taken by monsters—and broken
alas—fishing thus, and a friend of mine caught a
60-lb. turtle. And if fishing is slow, get a harpoon
made and try spearing turtles, they are occasionally
bagged like that off the arms of the harbour at
A memorandum on the introduction of trout into
Ceylon, with a brief history of the Ceylon
Fishing Club; by T. FARR, jEsq.
THE first experiments in this direction were made
in 1880 by Mr. Hugh L. Hubbard, a Planter in
Udapusellawa, to whose efforts is due the knowledge that trout can be reared in Ceylon waters.
He was assisted by Mr. C. LeMesurier, then of
the Ceylon Civil Service and by Mr. Hearne, but no
record of the. number of ov.a they imported was kept-
In 1882 about 20 brown trout (Salmo fario) were
turned into the Nuwara Eliya stream by Mr. Hubbard, and in 1904 a fish of 14 lbs. was captured in
the lake. This may have been one of the original
20, but trout are not supposed to live so long, and
it is a well-known fact that a brown trout placed in
the dam at Oliphant Estate attained the weight of
3 lbs. in 18 months. In 1882 and 1888 the European
planters and Civilians subscribed liberally, and from
that date upwards of Rs. 27,000 have been expended upon the introduction of brown trout (Salmo fario)
and rainbow* trout (Salmo iridens) into Ceylon,   In
1890 Mr. Wilson Wood imported fario ova, and in
1891 Andrews of Guildford sent out 3,000 ova as a
present to Mr. LeMesurier.
In 1892-93 Mr. George Fowler imported at his
own expense 22,000 fario ova and after that the
supply was kept up by public subscription. From
1886 up to 1890 and from 1892 up to the present
date the importation of ova has been regular and
continuous, and during the latter period thanks
to the keen and unflagging interest taken in the
matter by Mr. George Fowler of the Ceylon
Civil Service and to his care and attention in the
hatchery, the experiment was attended with considerable success. Messrs. Andrews of Guildford
supplied good and healthy ova, and packed them
with care and intelligence. They were well-looked
after on boardship, and for some years the outturn of fry was so satisfactory that* t^e Ceylon
Fishing Club was enabled to distribute large numbers amongst almost all the upland streams of
Ceylon above an elevation of 4,000 feet^ In 1899
it became very apparent that Salmo fario had not
bred in Ceylon waters, although female fish full of
ova and male fish in milt had been frequently observed. In view of this, and of some disappointing
consignments of fario ova, the Ceylon Fishing Club
decided to turn its attention almost exclusively to
the rainbow species, and the first consignment of
10,000 ova of Salmo iridens was imported. The
results of this consignment were very disappointing
only,  1,500 fry being available for distribution, but
in 1900 a further consignment of 20,000 ova was
received. This produced 4,335 healthy fry which
were turned down into most of the streams in
the neighbourhood of Nuwara Eliya and the Horton
plains. Amongst the streams then stocked- was a
small forest stream running through about 1^ miles
of plateau (grass land) at an elevation of about
6,400 feet. Into this in April 1900 were turned
down 200 fry after a rail and road journey of 10
hours. As no other species of fish inhabited this
stream and no rainbow trout had ever been put in,
these fry were watched with great interest. Their
growth was rapid and in less than 6 months after
their introduction upwards of 20 fish of from 6" to
8" were counted in the pool in which the fry had
been placed. Six months later or in April 1901 the
first country-bred trout were seen in Ceylon. These
were in parties of five and ten, of two sizes about
2" and 3" in length, distributed over about a mile of
water, and 3 months later shoals of 15 and 20 were
observed in all parts of the stream.
This established the fact of rainbow trout having
bred in Ceylon waters at the age of from 12 to 15
In 1902 larger numbers of country-bred fry and
fish of 4" to 6" in length were observed in the
Nuwara Eliya and Horton plains streams, and in 1903
it was quite apparent that the country-bred fish had
themselves propagated their species. It was however observable in this latter year that the shoals of
frv were smaller than in previous years, pointing to
the probability that the newly-hatched alevins were
 being preyed upon by7 their voracious predecessors.
Most of the Ceylon streams teem with crabs, fresh
water shrimps, snails and the larvae of numerous flies,
whilst the May fly at certain seasons may be seen
in thousands on the Horton plains. Frogs too are
numerous, and are much sought after by the larger
fish, whilst instances have been known of the large
green lizard having been taken by both brown and
rainbow trout. It is therefore not surprising that
given sufficient depth and volume of water their
growth is very rapid. Fish of 6'' in length, turned
down into a stream hitherto untouched at an elevation of 5,000 feet have been known to reach a weight
of 2 lbs. in 8 or 9 months.
The streams in which rainbow trout first bred
in Ceylon are at an elevation of about 6,400 feet,
and are very small with overhanging bushes on
their banks, often meeting over the stream and
affording complete protection from the rays of the
sun, though the temperature of the water could not
well have been above 55° fahr. at any time.
A movement is now on foot to take proper
advantage of the fecundity of Salmo iridens and
their adaptability to sub-tropical waters, by securing in England the services of an experienced
Pisiculturist to remodel and construct the hatchery
in Nuwara Eliya, and to conduct experiments in
artificial breeding as carried out in other countries.
This if successful would not only make the Ceylon
Fishing Club independent of foreign ova for restocking their streams, but would enable it to supply at
a moderate cost all the Hill stations of India and
Burma with a regular supply of ova. That annual
restocking is essential to meet the toll levied by
anglers on the finny population of Ceylon waters,
has become very evident, and when the ability to
do so is within reach of the Ceylon Fishing Club,
the sport to be obtained in some of our upland
streams will be of the best. The Horton plains
stream which resembles the upper reaches of the
Pykara on the Nilgiri plateau, contains many rainbow trout of 3 and 4 lbs. but fish of this size do not
rise to the fly as readily as those of from 12 oz. to
1^ lbs., but on specially favourable days the large
deep pools will yield to the angler many a fine fish.
The cause which has led to the non-reproduction of
brown trout in Ceylon, vis., the high temperature of
the water, which is seldom if ever below 50, evidently affects the strength and activity of these
fish, whilst the rainbow trout coming as he does
from the warmer waters of California, shows in
marked contrast remarkable power, activity and
gameness when hooked. Much has been written
in English Sporting papers of the " Vanishing
Rainbow" and in Ceylon the tendency of these
fish to drop down stream has been the subject
of much discussion. The general impression here
appears to be that in mountain streams the presence
of big waterfalls, acts in a great measure as a bar
to this tendency. The larger fish find a congenial
sanctuary in the large deep pools, where food is
more plentiful and solitude and shelter more attain-
able than in the shallow runs and reaches. In many
of the best pools on the Horton Plains 2, 3 and 4 lbs.
fish make their homes and of an evening when the
rise is on, or when the May fly rise occurs, their
presence is astonishingly conspicuous. The lakes
in Nuwara Eliyp. too, contain many large fish, and
here food being plentiful they find a sanctuary and
of an evening may be seen at the mouth of the
stream making their way up into the upper waters.
That they will descend considerable falls is undoubted but so far a descent of from 15 to 20 feet
seems to be all most of them care to attempt, and
they appear to have an equal tendency to work up
stream especially before they reach a pound in
weight. Pools at the foot of inaccessible falls
have been found teeming with young fish which
have been bred in adjacent waters, and it is presumable that they have worked up stream till they
could go no farther. Good fish too have been
taken in considerable numbers in waters unstocked
above small water-falls.   .
The Ceylon Fishing Club came into existence in
January 1896, succeeding the original " Trout Fund
Committee" and since that date excellent sport
has been obtained in most of the streams on the
upland plateaux adjacent to Nuwara Eliya. The
Club has a lease from Government of all waters
above 4,000 feet, at a rent of Rs. 100 per annum,
and all sums collected by the Government Stamp
Duty on licenses issued under ordinance No. 8 of
1893 are refunded to the Club. Membership involves
an annual subscription of Rs.   10, and  is obtained
without ballot but subject  to the approval of the
managing committee.
Licenses to members are issued at the following
rates :—
The whole season, Rs. 50.  To non-members, Rs. 120.
One month „   30.        ,, #  ,, ,,    75*
One.week ,,   15.       >> ,, %    25.
One day ,,     5*        » " >>    12-8.
All fish under 11 inches must be returned to the
water, and a limit of 50 fish is placed upon each rod
for the season. No fishing is allowed between 7 p.m.
and 6 a.m. The use of live or dead natural bait,
as well as all kind of artificial bait is prohibited in
all waters except the Nuwara Eliya lakes, and no
hook larger than No. 6 of the Redditch scale
is allowed with the fly. The close season is fixed
annually by the Ceylon Fishing Club and as the
rainbow trout would appear to be breeding during
nearly every month of the year, a definite period has
not yet been decided upon. All tributaries of the
larger streams are closed against fishing.
Also (and I am again indebted to Mr. Farr for
most of the information .that follows) there are
Mahseer in Ceylon, but for some reason fishing for
them seems to have been but little exploited.
There would appear to be two or three species of
the genus Barbus, in Ceylon streams, the " Leyla "
of the Singhalese, being " Barbus Tor." I should
imagine that one of the others was Barbus Carnati-
cus   or  Barbus   Malabaricus,   but  this   is   only  a
sttrmise. Mahseer were also introduced into the
island from India some years ago, to Nuwara
Eliya and also into a stream in Maskeliya, and
in both the above places are occasionally caught
now-a-days up to 2 or 3 lbs. with fly.
I can hear of no tank-angling worthy of the name
in Ceylon, but perhaps some kind reader would
rectify this matter.
The following notes are ail extracts from the
reports on " Trout Culture in Kashmir" for 1900-1-
2-3-4 » f°r permission to reproduce which I am indebted to Mr. F. J. Mitchell the Honorary Secretary,
who with the greatest courtesy and kindness has
given me his reports as above, with full permission
to take such cuttings therefrom as I may desire.
The paras, that follow, are actual extracts from
the reports themselves, the wording remaining
practically unaltered, though some paragraphs have
been omitted, and others slightly condensed.
Report on Trout Culture for season 1900-01.
Since the first report of the Kashmir Fishing Club last
year, we have made a very great advance and have
proved this year satisfactorily that trout ova can with
care be safely imported and hatched and the young trout
reared here.
We have also every reason to believe that they will
breed as the extracts from letters from Col. Unwin and
the late Capt. Kitcher of the 5th Goorkhas (Appendix B.)
give evidence of the fact that 356 yearling trout turned
down  in  the Kala Pani at Abbottabad in   1896 have
bred there. There is little doubt that the conditions for
trout life here are more favourable in many respects than
at Abbottabad.
This is a grand advance on experience in Ceylon and
the Nilgherries where the winters have not been found
sufficiently cold to enable the Salmo Fario to reproduce
its kind.
Our object in future must be to get our trout to spawn
under artificial conditions such as are adopted at all the
best trout farms in England and Scotland, as otherwise
the expense of getting out ova from home and the difficulty
of procuring steamer carriage for it in sufficient quantity
must make the stocking of the fine fishing waters of
Kashmir a long and costly affair.
So far the expenses incurred have been small, but
should we find that we can spawn trout successfully in
the course of the next 2 or 3 years, hatcherries on a
proper scale should be established so as to stock the
Kashmir waters within a-reasonable period of time.
The first lot of 10,000 ova kindly presented by the
Duke of Bedford arrived by the ..Caledonia and reached Srinagar under the care of Mr. J. S. MacDonell on
19th December of 1900. They were at once transferred
to the hatching boxes which were ready for them, all
dead ova being rejected. The hatching was slow owing
to the low temperature of the water, but by the 8th
January all the alevins had hatched out. By the 7th
February it was found necessary to commence feeding
the young fish, and from that dkte to 21st March rapid
progress was made.
On that and subsequent nights 6,000 healthy fry were
successfully transferred to Panchgam where suitable
water had been prepared for their reception.
A second lot of 10,000 ova, also presented by the Duke
of Bedford, arrived by the Egypt in March 1901, but
apparently owing to its having been exposed to the air
in Bombay for a short time, it was not in such good
condition, and only 1,800 healthy fry were obtained from
it, of these 1,000 were transferred successfully to Panch-
gam, and 800 were put into a fry tank at Dilawar Khan
The difficulty of having to employ practically coolies
to look after the young trout at Panchgam was considerable, but the funds would not admit of greater expense
and cooly labour was necessary to regulate the water
which at night came down from the snow melted at
Nagbehrin during the day. There was a certain amount
of friction with the smaller native officials at first and
afterwards with the Zemindars whose requirements of
water for irrigation had apparently expanded since the
previous year. These difficulties were all arranged, but
larger meshed nets had to be employed than were at first
intended, and the consequence was that a considerable
number of the young trout escaped into the open water,
where, however, we hope they are thriving. Two were
seen in a pool some distance above our upper screen as
late as November and one of them was caught and
brought back.
At both the hatching boxes and fry tank -at Dilawar
Khan Bagh considerable difficulty was experienced from
the water being cut off for repairs to leakages of the main
pipes.    This we hope will be obviated later *******
The fry tank proved most successful and would certainly encourage more extensive feeding of fry in the
coming season. Out of 800 fry put in, 302 fine yearlings
were in November successfully transferred to Panchgam,
the largest being 8| inches in length.
It is hoped that sanction will be given for two large
fry tanks at Panchgam for the coming season, as there
can be little doubt that fish of 4 to 9 inches long
have a much better chance of doing well, than fry of
under 1 inch, and the season of the year (November) is
also better to put them out, as the larger Kashmir fish
are all in winter quarters then. The position at Panchgam seems also peculiarly favourable for establishment
of artificial spawning beds.
 Mr. Dane the new Resident came out and saw
some of the trout at Panchgam on November 26th.
A grant of Rs. 2,500 was then made from State Funds,
and arrangements were at once completed for getting
out a new supply of ova. After consultation with Mr.
Burt of the Surrey Trout Farm by letter, with the approval
of the Resident, it was decided to order one case of
15,000 Salmo Fario ova and one case of 15,000 Salmo
Iridius ova, and these are expected to arrive in Bombay
by the P.  and 0. Steamer Victoria   about 21st  March.
The risk of carriage to the ova of rainbow trout is very
much greater than to that of common trout, as they
hatch so much more quickly, but the fish is so eminently
suited to the lakes of Kashmir that it has been determined
to take the extra risk to the extent of one case of the
Should these hatch successfully, an application will be
made to His Highness the Maharaja for the use of the
Ahan water at Sumble, where the young trout would be
transferred in the Autumn, should all go well. The
consent of the P. and 0. Coy. to carry our two cases
of ova in. the cool room of the Victoria was kindly
obtained for us bf the Duke of Bedford, to whom our
heartiest thanks^are due. Thanks are also due to Mr.
Dhanjibhoy for the great help he has given us in the
carriage of the ova,
 The .suggestion made by Mr. Dane on his visit, to
Panchgam that the length of the irrigation canal below
the tanks should be given up is being carried out, and
the small trout are being captured and carried up. into
the tanks as rapidly as possible, but they are exceedingly
difficult to find.
One day after the man in charge had declared that
there were only 3 left, the Honorary Secretary turned out
some 40 or 50 from one corner, and of these 11 were
caught in the course of an hour. The new Kashmir
Fishing Laws have now been published, and give sufficient protection to the English trout for the present
under rule 15.
The netting in the Tehlbul river, it is to be hoped will
also be stopped unddr these rules as the trout are certain
to find their way to the Dal-lake when they grow
Copy of a letter from United Service Club, Simla,
dated 28th August, 1901, to Mr. F. J. Mitchell.
I was talking to Barlow, 5th Goorkhas, about the
Abbottabad trout yesterday. They were first put as fry
into a tank at Tharmtant near Abbottabad, a vey suitable
place, in 95, and when big enough turned out in the
Kala Pani stream which runs through two of the higher
ranges and has a fairly cool climate in summer. Here
they have since been caught up to i| lbs. weight, which
seems to me small considering they have been in the
stream for 5 years.
Possibly  deficient suitable food may account for this.
Their having bred however since first turned out, seems
to be satisfactorily proved by the capture in the Kala
Pani stream of late, of fry smaller than the original ones
were when first put into the stream. This seems fairly
conclusive, and I think we may regard it as very encouraging for our experiment.
The Kala Pani is a fresh little river of about the same
volume as, or less than, the river at Panjigam, and its
elevation would be from about 5^500 in the highest part
to 3,500 to 4,000 feet in the lower.
Copy of a letter from S. D. Kitcher, Parachenar,
Kurram, dated 30th June, 1900.
At the beginning of this month I was at Abbottabad,
and, while I was there, nine fish were seen in part of our
water, of which five were caught and put back again. The
biggest was 14 inches long and must have weighed about
1^ lbs. These fish have bred (for two last years, I think).
I mention this as I have no doubt it will interest you.
10,000 ova Ex. " Calidonia."
Put in  Hatcherv  boxes  good ova   ...
Took out white ova and dead alevins
as follows:—
13th January inclusive
19th       „ „ alevins only
26th       „ „ „
2nd February      „ „
16th       „
23rd       „ „ „
2nd March „ „
16th    „
23rd    „ -    „
26th    „ „ „
Total fr
Water temperature.
January 25th              ...                 ...        36°
January 29th              ...                 ...         38°
10,000 ova Ex. " Egypt."
Put in Hatchery boxes good and doubtful ov;
i         5,246
Took out bad ova to 6th April inclusive ...
13th April inclusive ova              ...    1,119
-n        »»           >»         alevins
20th     „           „         ova.
„        „           „         alevins
27th April inclusive
4th May                     alevins
11th May...
Total fry    ...
Feeding commenced 30th April.
Temperature of Water.
7th April
..    46°
11th     „
..    46°
19th     „
..    47°
22nd    „
..    46°
24th     „
..    47°
28th    „
..    47^
2nd May
..    48°
Report on Trout Culture in Kashmir for
As no report has been issued since the end <
>f 1901, it is
necessary to take up the history of what ha
>4>een d(
from that time.    Trout only reach  their be
st stage
reproduction at three years old and as the &
irlier effc
. of those under observation were frustrated by unavoidable
causes afterwards explained, there was little till now to
report to the State or to the gentlemen who so kindly
came forward with subscriptions towards the scheme for
establishing the good old burn trout in Kashmir. After
repeated failures to induce trout to breed in Ceylon and
the Nilgherries there were few who believed in the possibility of his being established in the Shiney East and it
must be very satisfactory to those who did believe and
backed their opinion • to know that the scheme now
promises to be a complete success. There are no signs
that the yearlings bred from trout reared in this country
are in any way inferior in stamina to those hatched from
imported ova; and that being so there seems no reason
to fear that they will disappoint the hopes now formed
that they will continue to reproduce their species. The
Salmo Fario has come to stay.
In carrying out the Resident's suggestion of removing
trout from the irrigation canal in the spring of 1902
altogether 688 fine young yearlings were captured and
put into the ponds. It was found that they had spread
themselves over a length of some 3 miles of the canal
and that many must have gone down into the Reservoir.
On 27th March the consignment of ova Ex. " Victoria "
SS. arrived in Srinagar and was at once transferred to
the hatching boxes. Some of the Rainbow ova looked
all right on arrival, but very quickly turned white in the
water. None hatched out. It seems evident that this
ova is too delicate to stand the sea voyage plus the long
railway and tonga journey. S. Iridius must await his
introduction into Kashmir till ova can be obtained from
fish acclamatised in India, or till we have a railway into
Kashmir. As he-af>pears to be succeeding in Ceylon and
the Nilgherries, this   time   may  not   be so far off.    He
would be an ideal fish for Autumn sport in the larger
lakes. The box of Fario ova which came at the same
time gave very satisfactory results; 8,003 healthy fry
being transferred to fry ponds by 18th April. Misfortune
however came, in May when a cloud burst flooded the
lower pond containing 4,000 fry, and nearly all were
carried into the stream. No doubt many of them lived
and found their way into waters that suited them.
In the late Autumn of 1902 a nice lot of about 150 well
grown yearlings was put into the Liddar near Kotsoo.
None of these have been since heard of unless indeed the
trout reported to be caught in the Bringh this Summer by
Mr. Pike was one of them.
Another small lot of 30 were released in Ahan water
at Sumbal.
These last were all that remained of 1,200 fry put into
the fry pond at Delawar Khan Bagh, many pipe bursts
in July and August of that year having proved most
Of the rest some 600 were released in various parts of
the Dachigam stream. In May, 1903, 111 selected fish
were put into the stock ponds and 185 medium sized into
the lower fry ponds. Only 200 very small ones were left
in the spring-fed tank and of these there remained 122
on 26th August of this year which were taken out and
removed to the lowest of the new ponds at Harwan. In
the even temperature of the spring-fed pond these fish did
not develop their ovaries and it remains to be seen if
they will do so now in the varying temperature of their
new quarters. In Autumn of 1902 it was estimated that
there were about 1,000 trout in the large pond at Panchgam. They were fairly tame and showed in great
numbers at feeding time. As the spawning season
approached they seemed to be pairing.
Artificial spawning beds on the Ainsworth principle
were put down, from which it was hoped that fertile ova
might be collected. Arrangements were also made for
trapping ripe gravid fish with a view to dry impregnation. These plans, however, ultimately came to nothing.
During the absence of the Honorary Secretary at Kotsoo,
otters of which till then there had been neither report nor
indication found their way to the trout ponds. The
native in charge not understanding the signs did nothing
until the Honorary Secretary returned, with the result
that the trout were thoroughly frightened, pairs were
broken up and no doubt many trout were eaten by the
Ultimately a little ova was collected from the artificial
spawning beds but none of it proved fertile. On the
Honorary Secretary's return, traps were procured and set
in likely positions. In December and January eight bitch
otters were secured, and two other otters broke away from
the traps. In one case the trap being broken. In March a
dog otter was caught in two traps, after which no more
were seen and all signs of their presence disappeared.
• During 1903 and this year reports more or less authentic
have been made of trout being caught in different parts of
the valley by natives, but in most cases it has been impossible to obtain actual proof of the fact. The fish have
however in some cases been so accurately described by
fishermen who did not know the law on the subject as to
leave no room for doubt.
One report of this kind came from as far down river as
Ningel below the Woolar lake. Two cases have been
reported by eye witnesses who knew trout well and could
have made no mistajce. In the one case an English
Colonel actually saw the trout caught in a net at the
Dal-gate, but not knowing the law took no steps in the
matter. In the other case a watcher tried to seize a
trout he saw caught near Telbul, but was beaten off bv
the fishermen whose names he was unable to get as they
left at once. A trout of about i lb. weight was hooked
and pulled out of the water by a gentleman fishing at the
Dal-gate this Spring, but it dropped off the hook at the
edge of the boat. Another trout of about \ lb. was
actually caught in the Bringh above Bijbehara as already
The sizes of trout caught have been most irregular.
As early as May 1903, a trout of 2 lb. 14 oz. was taken -
out of the Harwan Reservoir in a dying condition. From
bruises on the head and pectoral fin it seemed probable
that a native had thrown a stone at it when crossing the
sill of the by-wash.
It was in most perfect condition and the flesh was as
red as that of a salmon.
No^ova was imported in 1903, as it was believed that
the fish in the.large ponds at Panchgam would probably
supply that was required that Autumn. This hope was
rudely upset by the floods which took place in July.
The water came down the Dachigam valley like a wall,
sweeping the ponds practically out of existence. The
Reservoir embankment at Harwan would probably have
burst had not the Malori river saved the situation Jby
wrecking the by-wash and giving the flood water an
exit. Such a flood was real joy to the trout, and they
took full advantage of it to settle into quarters that
suited them. Many went down with it to the Dal-lake,
and beyond in some cases, but very many also ran up the
rivers or settled into the new pools formed near the site
of their old ponds. All through the Wiriter following,
numbers were seen lying about in pools in the Dachigam
Nulla, but wet weather continuing till late in the Autumn
no fish could be taken out and examined till the spawning season was practically over.
At the earliest opportunity 22 trout were taken out one
day, and were all found to be spent fish. The natural
spawning conditions were as good as could be looked for
in Kashmir. The late floods had thoroughly cleaned the
redds and had also allowed fish to find their way easily
to suitable spawning grounds. It has only recently been
possible to. ascertain anything of the result of the spawning which took place, and it appears to have been most
Early in September one of the small irrigation canals
leading from the sluice • of the Harwan Reservoir was
closed, and Pundit Sodama being very much on the spot,
did not miss the opportunity to explore it, with the result
that he collected 32 fine little yearlings of i.\ to 4 inches
in length. Five of them were dead, but the rest were put
among the yearlings in the new ponds. On the' 26th
September one of the branches of the Dachigam stream
had to be closed preparatory to work on a new Regulator
for the Reservoir and 56 yearlings were taken out of the
drying bed and put back into another channel of the
same river. These were much better grown than the
ones found below the reservoir. They ranged from 4 to
d\ inches in length and were fine healthy little fish.
The difference in size between the yearlings found in
the two places is easily accounted for by the superior
feeding in^the river. The irrigation canal being generally
dry in Winter contains very little natural food.
Further explorations disclosed the fact that trout yearlings were thinly scattered through practically every
streamlet in the lower portion of the
NewZeafand Dachigam Nulla and also in the irrigation
canals   below   it.    By   the   advice   of   a
gentleman who introduced trout into one of our largest
colonies, steps will be taken to secure some of those and
carry them up to the head waters of the stream where
they will be both safer and more useful.
The conditions for the new spawning season do not
promise to be quite so favourable as last year. The
water in the stream is already very low and fish not now
in the neighbourhood of good gravely runs may have
difficulty in getting to these. On the other hand, the
spawning trout are more mature and fish for fish should
deposit more ova than last year. The pools where trout
are known to be will be watched and, if possible, some of
the spawners will be trapped when ripe. If fertile ova
can be obtained it will be safer in hatching boxes than
exposed to its many enemies in the open stream. Trout
however are nearly as cunning as birds about their nests
and with a small stock scattered over such an extent of
water the task may prove more difficult than would appear.
The'first essential to starting a hatchery on a scale
suitable to stocking other streams in Kashmir is to have
stock ponds from which the spawning fish can be taken
and stripped as they are found to be ripe. Now that it
has been clearly proved that trout can and will breed
freely in Kashmir, it is to be hoped that His Highness the
Maharajah in Council may see his way to providing
funds for this purpose and ultimately to building and
equipping a proper hatchery.
Three ponds were constructed this spring with funds
supplied by the State at a cost of Rs. 604-1-0.
Three more ponds of the same size would probably be
sufficient to allow of trout being properly sized and
arranged. The present hatching arrangements would
probably suffice for the first year after which the extension
required could be better gauged.
In the autumn of 1903 under arrangements made by
the Resident with the State Council a sum of money was
provided to import 30,000 more Fario ova and an indent
for that quantity was at once sent to the Surrey Trout
Farm. The good services of His Grace the Duke of
Bedford were again solicited and by his kind intermediation the P. & O. S. N. Co. were induced to carry this ova
by their steamer " Macedonia " which arrived in Bombay
on the 5th March of the present year. The ova was taken
delivery of in time to catch the afternoon mail train of
that day and arrived safely, in Srinagar on 9th March.
The hatching out was very irregular, one box of ova
yielding little more than half what the other did, a result
somewhat difficult to account for. There was some
little delay in getting the new fry ponds ready, but on the
9th, 10th, and 11th May about 8,000 healthy fry-were
transferred to these and were safely placed in the upper
pond. Almost immediately there were signs that the
puddling between the ponds had not been properly done
and by the third day fry began to appear in the third
pond, having worked their way twice through six feet of
dry masonry. A trap was immediately arranged below
the third pond and some 150 fry were taken in it in the
course of the next few days. Meantime the masonry
ducts between the ponds were taken up and clay
rammed in till all leakage was stopped. The fry
were then netted out of the third pond and did not find
their way back again. The fry have been twice sorted
in the two upper ponds; the larger ones being put in
the lower pond and the smaller, in the upper one. They
seem to be thriving*well.
This autumn or early next spring some of the biggest
fish might be turned out in any new stream, it may be
thought desirable to stock and reserve for fishing later on.
Early in 1903 at the suggestion of His Highness the
Maharajah, a site for trout ponds was selected in the
Sind, near Maingaum and approved by His Highness in
Council. The floods of July in that year proved however
that this site was liable to be flooded and it had to be
abandoned. Early in the present year a site was selected
below Harwan, and sanction having been obtained three
new ponds were excavated and lined with stone masonry.
The supply of water to these being partly from springs
and partly from canal is not liable to be cut off, and no
difficulty has so far been experienced. The plot of land
allotted has been fenced against vermin, and a hut has
been erected for the Pundit in charge at a moderate cost.
Arrangements are also being made for the spawning
in the lowest pond of any trout that may prove gravid.
Hatching arrangements are at present sufficient for any
quantity of ova likely to be collected this year.
S. Fario—From   wild   trout   and   from   hand-fed   trout
arrived Srinagar 27th March.
Put into hatchery boxes, hand-fed.
Trout ova .... .... .... .... 10,204
Bad ova taken out up to 12th April 2,960
17th     „
21st     „
28th     „
5th May
12th    „
26th    „
 i do
Put into hatchery boxes, wild.
Trout ova
Bad ova.taken out up.to 12th April
17th     „    alevins
21st     „
28th     „
3rd May
12th    „
26th    „
Total healthy fry turned out
Commenced feeding alevins 25th April
Water Temperature
25th April
•   47°
19th May
Box No. 1.    15,000 S. Fario ova.
Ova put into Hatchery boxes
Bad ova and dead alevins taken out up to
20th March
28th      „
3th April
11th      „
18th      „
. 25th     „
11th May
Healthy fry from Box No. 1
 Box No. 2.    15,000 S. Fario ova.
Ova put into hatchery boxes
Bad ova and dead alevins taken out up to
20th March
28th      „
4th April
11th      „
18th     „
25th     „
11th May
Healthy fry from Box No. 2
Grand total turned out
Being up at Ootacamund as I write this; I have
been enabled, by the courtesy of those concerned,
to have access to the " Annual Reports of the Nilgiri
Game Association " for the last 12 years or so>
As the paras, of the reports, which relate to " Fish,
imported and indigenous" are too long, to reproduce in extenso, I have gone carefully through
the different reports and have endeavoured to
make such extracts as will enable those who
may be interested in the Blue Mountains, to
gather some idea of what has been done in the
past, to stock with fish the streams and lakes of
these beautiful hills.
" 1892. TROUT.—Of the trout fry turned out into the
various rivers and ponds, those which were kept by
Dr. Ross in his small reservoir at Doddabetta were almost
all lost by the breaching of the dam during the heavy
rains of October last.
This was most unfortunate as the larger and older fish
were full of ova and ready to breed. One trout was seen
by Mr. Jamieson in the Emerald Valley stream. The
Forest Guard at Pykara reports that he saw several large
fish below the bungalow, but whether these were trout or
Carnatic carp introduced years ago, it is impossible to say.
It has been proposed and the proposal has been sanctioned by the Committee to import more trout and
perch ova next December.
Carnatic carp, Tench, Mahseer, etc.—The Carnatic carp
take kindly to the Hill waters, and those introduced into
the lake and Marlimund reservoir have grown to a fair
size ; but they will not breed as the water is too cold to
hatch the ova.
Tench and carp breed rapidly and grow to a fair size ;
but the continual netting and poaching that goes on at
night in the Lake and Marlimund reservoir is very detrimental to sport. The banks of the Marlimund reservoir
are covered by weeds dragged out by the roots, fish
scales and dead fish that have been dropped in the dark.
This may be seen at any time and shows the extent to
which poaching is carried on. Three persons were caught
fishing by night in the Marlimund reservoir by the Caretaker of the lake, and were convicted and fined Rs. 6, 4,
and 3 each, but such punishments are of little avail to
stop poaching. "
" 1893. TROtJT.—The four large fish at Doddabetta
were transferred to the Snowdon trout-ponds. The two
females spawned in February, but as the males were in
milt   in  November,   the   ova  could   not   be   fertilized,
40,000 ova were obtained from Mr. Silk (Marquis of
Exeter's Manager). They were put into the ice-house,
and were of course at once frozen to death. The money
spent and trouble taken about the matter were wasted.
A telegram was despatched to Mr. Silk to send out 20,000
more ova, and, instead of sending them at once on receipt
of the telegram, Mr. Silk delayed a whole month and
then sent out the ova. They arrived on the 4th of March,
the hottest time of the year. The high temperature of
the water destroyed the fry as fast as they were hatched
out and only 83 of the strongest survived. These were
put into the fry-pond at Snowdon and are now fine strong
young fish 3 inches in length. Out of the fry 10 were
retained in the large hatching box, of these 6 survived
and are quite equal in size to the fry put out in the
pond. All the fry have been daily fed with sheep's
brains and chopped earth worms and young white ants.
Two stock ponds have been excavated in Marlimund
plantation,  and a site has been chosen on the
banks of the Pykara river for a stock pond for breeding
fish} where a natural depression in the soil has lent itself
to the formation of an artificial dam.
Trout turned out into the Pykara and other rivers :—
The Association is indebted to Mr. Marsh for the first
successful attempt made to introduce trout ova and
hatch them out on these hills. Encouraged by the success
of Mr. Marsh's experiment, (which cost him some Rs. 200
and much personal trouble) the Association imported ova
which Mr. Edmiston kindly took charge of on the way
out and which proved a success. The fry were introduced into the Emerald Valley stream, the Pykara river, the
Ootacamund lake, Doddabetta and Marlimund reservoirs
and Dr. Ross's lake.
Mr. Wapshare also went to considerable private ex-
pense, amounting to several hundred rupees in importing
ova, which he placed in the Pykara river. Mr. M. A.
Lawson aided the Association with his personal assistance and a donation, and the Association is not a
little indebted to him for the results attained. Trout
have been seen in the Doddabetta reservoir, the Emerald
Valley stream and the Pykara river, but unless the Association systematically hatches out ova and turns the fry
into the streams and rivers, no real success can be hoped
for, as all the ova are devoured by the legions of crabs
infesting the rivers as soon as they are laid. Natural
reproduction is not therefore to he expected, but the fish
kept in the Association ponds must be annually stripped
and the ova artificially hatched in boxes and the fry
turned out. Three men have already been trained for
the work. The trout ponds at Pykara will probably cost
Rs. 1,200 when properly completed, but this will be very
cheap when compared to the cost of similar work at home.
Perch fry.—Mr. Silk has kindly promised to present
the Association with some perch fry, which Mr. H. P.
Hodgson will probably bring out with him on his
return shortly.
Carnatic carp, Tench, Mahseer, etc.—Though the Honorary Secretary proposed that some attention should be
devoted to the introduction of valuable indigenous fish,
more especially Mahseer, the Committee did not sanction
his proposals. There is no doubt however that some of
the reservoirs might be stocked with Barilius Bola (the
Indian trout), Barilius Bakeri, striped mountain carp,
Mahseer, Rosy perch, Labeos, Rbhus, etc., instead of being
as they are now full of the worthless golden carp, which
afford no sport and ar& worthless for food on account
of their numberless bones. The Honorary Secretary (at
his own expense) introduced during the year, 28 Mahseer,
2 mountain carp, i Labeo, 24 Carnatic carp, and 16
common barilius. All these fish are doing well and promise
to succeed, the Barilius which were only caught last year
have already increased to about 2 or 3,000 and the fry
are nearly full grown. Some mountain carp were
obtained from the Kollimalais by the Honorary Secretary
in 1872, and successfully brought-up to the hills, but an
otter managed to get into the pond where they were kept
and destroyed them all. These and other experiments
connected with pisciculture, cost the Honorary Secretary
nearly Rs. 900, and Mr. Wapshare and other gentlemen
have also spent money freely on similar experiments,
which on the whole have been sufficiently encouraging
to warrant further perseverance.
Enemies of fish.—Horned owls, water snakes, crabs,
otters, the larvae of the dragon-fly and Mildew (Supro-
ligneus ferox) are the most deadly enemies to fish on
these hills. The owls hook the fish out with their talons
when they come into shallow water at night and are exceedingly destructive. The Honorary Secretary trapped
several owls that had become confirmed depredators,
with gins. No doubt the two male trout which died,
were injured by owls seizing them. Water snakes are
fortunately not found above 6,000 feet, but they swarm
at lower elevations and it is impossible to keep fish in
any small pond, if they once obtain entrance.
Twenty-eight Black spots, which the Honorary Secretary brought all the way from Tellicherry were eaten in a
week by 5 snakes, all of which were shot as they appeared.
Each snake had 2 or 3 fish in it. They do not hesitate
to attack and even kill fish of half a lb. in weight.
Otters kill large quantities of Crabs, and Dragon-fly,
larvae, but very seldom kill fish unless they find them in
a confined  pond.    Crabs and  Dragon-fly larvae are so
destructive to fish ova, that it is hopeless to expect
trout to increase where these pests are abundant.
 Messrs. Crossley and MacTaggart on the Pul-
neys, have collected Rs. 700 already, and are making
active preparations to introduce trout into the pretty lake
at Kodikanal, in which spirited endeavour all must
heartily wish them success."
" 1894.—On the 21st May 1894, 390 strong trout fry were
put into the upper pond, and 78 into the small stock
pond in Maliamund Plantation. The largest of these fry
(which was captured) in the supply stream in Snowdon
was 4 inches in length. These fry consisted of S. Fario,
S. Levenensis, and S. Fontinalis, but how many of each
kind it is impossible to say, as they escaped when very
small through the meshes of the perforated zinc into the
hatching boxes' below, and thus got mixed up, but the
bulk of them are doubtless salmon trout.
The Association has now 4 large stock ponds capable
of holding more than 1,000 breeding trout, and eight fry
ponds capable of turning out 6,500 yearlings.
No trout have been seen in the Pykara as yet, but this
is not surprising if the fish hav» not bred.
Mr. Silk has promised the Association 20,000 ova next
November, to make up for the losses suffered this year,
and it has been arranged to get out four different species
of trout in-order to insure success.
If S. Levenensis will not breed, no doubt some of the
American trout will, and the most promising of these are
the Rainbow trout and the American Brook trout. "
Perch fry.—The perch fry sent out by Mr. Silk in the
care of Mi*. Hall all diecj! unfortunately.
Carnatic   carp,   Mahseer,   Tench,   etc.—The   common
Barilius introduced by the Honorary Secretary into a private tank have been a complete success. Two fish only
2 years old were weighed and found to be ?,\ and 2-| oz.
respectively though rarely found to exceed an oz. in
weight in the plains. Snakes were found to be terribly
destructive. Some 200 have been shot, and nearly every
snake contained 2 or 3 fry. Several mountain carp were
obtained from the Wynaad and turned out, but have not
been seen since.
The Honorary Secretary also introduced 103 Barilius
into the Billikal lake, 56 into the Alarliamund reservoir, 50
. into the Snowdon reservoir and 4 were taken to Pykara
and placed in fry pond No. 6.    Some Hope river carp (33)
were also introduced into the private pond referred to.
 Kodaikanal.—The   Palni  Association   imported
two lots of ova, but met with very poor success owing
principally to their water-supply having run short, which
caused the death of most of the fry. The small number
saved were turned into a small pond.
Appendix D.—Instructions were sent to Mr. Silk to dispatch 3 consignments of trout ova of 20,000 each in
December and January. On 6th December the first
consignment arrived by S.S. Manora, and consisted
of  40,000   ova, of   which   20,000   were   Rainbow   trout
and 20,000 (apparently) Loch Leven.     The ova
were found to be in very bad condition  on  arrival  at
Ootacamund with great trouble the good ova of
which there appeared to be about 10,000 were carefully
cleaned and separated. A few days subsequently there was
a sudden change in the weather. Heavy clouds banked
up and some rain fell, and the temperature of the water
rose from 530 to 6i°.    There was immediately serious loss
in the Loch Leven ova. On 20th December the smaller ova
(Rainbow trout) began to hatch out, and by the end of
the month the whole of the ova had hatched. Some
6,000 fry in all were obtained, of which only 572 were
Loch Levens.
The fry throve fairly well, as the weather again became
frosty till the 12th January, when the weather again
became cloudy and showery, and the temperature of the
water rose. This occasioned considerable mortality, from
20 to 50 fry dying daily. There was an improvement
again on the 15th when the temperature of the water fell
to 530. The remaining fry about 5,000 in number are in
very good order, and have commenced to feed on sheep's
brains, etc.
On the 14th January 1894 the " Golconda " arrived with
20,000  Salmo   Fario   ova About   12,000   ova
appeared to be in good order	
The young fry of last year which are now some 6" in
length will be transferred to the stock pond in a week.
The consignment of ova for the Pulneys which arrived
in December proved a total failure, the second consignment just received by the Golconda may turn out more
successful, at least it is to be hoped they will.
 Seven  fry  ponds  have   been   constructed   this
year.    The following is a description of the ponds.
(Here I omit description of 6 ponds, giving that of
No. 3 as typical of most of the others.)
 F"ry pond No. 3.—I took advantage of a small
shola to construct a capital fry pond touching it, so as to
obtain the advantage of the natural shade. The pond
is roughly shaped like a turnip, the tail running up into
the shola.    It is 12' deep at the dam and 4' at the upper
end, water lily seed and water cress have been sown in it,
and the dam is fringed with Royal fern and Calla lilies.
On the 26th January, 1*894 I stocked it with 4030 Fonti-
nalis fry raised from the ist batch of 4,000 ova received.
It was also stocked with 254 Gammari and 36 sand-fish
on the ist February 1894.
S. Fario fry.—The few fry that were hatched out are
still in the hatching boxes. There were only about 500
secured out of the last lot of 20,000, due to the ova not
being eyed when dispatched.    They took 28 days to hatch
out The  eyed  S.   Fontialis   ova  seem   much
hardier this species (The American brook trout) is
evidently much hardier than the other two species.
Stock ponds.—-The fry pond was emptied, and 30 yearlings obtained some of these being double the size of
others.    This is only 40 % of the fry put in.    Sir James
Maitland reckons  on  50
of strong h
y grc
yearlings, and accounts for the loss as due to some of the
fry outstripping otherb in growth and then devouring
them.    It is difficult to prevent such loss.
An attempt was made to find the trout put into the Marlimund and South Supply Reservoirs. I accordingly sent
for Kutti with his boat and nets. Both casting and drag
nets were thoroughly tried in Marlimund, with the result
that a number of undersized carp and tench, and some
murral were found, but no trout. The South Supply
Reservoir was next tried. There the water being very
clear, and no other fish but trout having been introduced,
there was no difficulty. The trout could be seen feeding,
and 5 were secured without much difficulty with the drag
net, and conveyed to the stock pond into which they were.
put.    These fish were all males but one No ova
were laid	
Mr. Silk has generously promised to present the Asso-
ciation with 20,000 rainbow trout ova next November as
some compensation for the loss we have suffered this
year.  —-   -
1895.—From Major C. J. GRANT, v.c. •
To Honorary Secretary.
 Last year 41,000 ova were ordered from Mr. Silk
of Burghley Park fishery, they were shipped on board the
B.I.S.N. Manora which arrived Madras  14th  December.
 This consignment unfortunately was a complete
Yearlings.—In Feburary 1894, 78 fry were put into the
small fry pond in Snowdon Shola, 300 fry were put into
the upper nond below Snowdon, 527 fry were put into
two of the fry ponds of Pykara, and J394 fry were turned
into the Pykara river near the Bungalow. In the spring
this year we drained all the fry ponds and found 40 in
the Shola pond, 120 to 130 in the upper Snowdon ponds,
and 7 in the two Pykara ponds. About 20 to 24 were
taken out of the Snowdon ponds with the fly. These
were all disposed of as follows :—Seven into the Pykara
river, 120 odd into the head waters of the Avalanche
river, and 46 into Burnfoot lake. Thirteen were killed
in transit.
Seven-year olds.—In 1888 some thousand fry were put
into the Pykara river, 80 into the Dodabetta reservoir
and some 300 into the head waters of the Khundah river.
Last spring we netted the Dobabetta reservoir and took
out 16 splendid trout from i| to 7 lbs. in weight. One
was killed by the net, she weighed 2 lbs. and was full of
ova, she has been preserved in spirits. The remainder
were turned into Burnfoot lake. There are about 60 fine
trout now in this lake, and I think that they will come
up the stream to breed, they can then be netted out and
 Khundah river.—The trout placed in the Khundah
river in 1888  have bred.    In May I searched from the
source of the river at Kingodar In all the small
pools trout were darting about. The water was so clear
that it was almost impossible to get a fly over them, but
when it- was almost dark I got two. They rose freely
and fought well for their 3 or 4 oz. weight.    I put them
back   unhurt Fishing   lower "down   a   heavy  fish
broke me, and I landed one over a pound, a female full
of almost ripe ova.
■    Pykara river.—I am sorry to say that no signs of fish
have been seen in this river The mountain carp
in.it are doing very well indeed and give good sport with
the fly "
" 1896.—On the 30th November 1895, the Howie Town
Fishery Coy. shipped 60,000 odd trout ova on board the
Clan Grant, at Birkenhead for Madras. The ova were
stripped on the 24th, 30th and 31st October from 5, 6 and
7-year old trout, 20,000 Levens and 40,000 Fario	
The box of Levenensis ova—spawned on 24th October
was first opened ; these ova were in splendid condition	
The two other boxes each containing 20,000 odd Fario
were then opened and also were found in almost perfect
condition In  the beginning of February a  few
hundred fry were turned down* in the different streams
near Ooty, and on the 10th 14,000 were taken out by
night to the head waters of the Khundah and Kroormund
rivers. I wrote home last year for the latest pattern of
fry carrier, but was told on the best authority that the
best thing was a chatty. So the fry were carried out in
12 chatties slung in pairs on sticks (this to prevent the
heat of the men's heads hurting the ova) and in 4-tin bait
cans.    Chatties are very bad fry carriers and nearly 2,000
 fry  died   in  them,  while hardly   any  died   in  the  bait
On the 14th the remaining fry, about 5,000, were
taken by night in bait cans and a foot bath, with hardly
any loss at all, to the head waters of the Avalanche river...
A few hundred were also taken by Mr. Edmiston and
Mr. Turpin to the Kotagiri side of the plateau. A few
hundred were put into the shaded stream which flows
into the Burnfoot lake "
"1897.—On 24th March there were over 13,000 fry
in the boxes which it was intended to distribute (in
bait cans or zinc tubs, not chatties), but owing to an
unfortunate accident a large number were killed and only
3,000 remained. Of the 3,000 fry surviving, the following distribution was effected.
(1) Billihalla Khundahs.—500.
(2) Sigur Tributary.—Capt. Beadnell, 300.    Most of
which were killed by the carelessness of men
who took them out.
(3) Burnfoot lake.—600, all put out in good health.
(4) Fairlawns stream.—500, ditto.
(5) Lovedale stream.—500, ditto.
 With the approval of the Committee there were
ordered   from  the   Director,   German State   Fish   Farm,
Huningen, a consignment of 20,000 Rainbow trout;	
owing to misunderstandings the ova were not despatched
this season.
 Major Grant tried to net, in February last, some
3-year old trout for spawn, but failed. He saw over 30
country-bred 3-year olds in the Khundah river.
They were very\ heathly and smart and have any
extent of good natural redds near by. He also saw 6
imported 3-year olds in the Avalanche river ; one a Leven
over 4 lbs., and he is not the biggest fish in the river.
Major Grant considers that fishing in the Khundah river
from the Avalanche bridge downwards should be opened
for the following reasons. The country-bred fish are
nearly all above the bridge. The imported trout were
turned down in 1888 and he does not think that they
have bred since the winter of 1893-94, and are better
In order that no country-bred fish should be taken,
Major Grant would impose a limit of 3 lbs. under which
all fish should be returned to the water ...Licenses
should be issued, and sportsmen should only fish with
the fly and use a landing net "
" 1898.—The Report of this year is practically a blank
as regards fishing."
" 1899.—In Major Grant who has left the District, the
Association has lost an enthusiastic fisherman, and one to
whose labours the present measure of success is largely
due It  is   satisfactory to report that   a   successor
in   every  way worthy has  been found in Major T. N.
• The following are his notes for the season "
11 regret to say that the whole of the Salmo Irridens
ova received this year was worthless    It was clearly
the fault of the people on boardship Herr Taffe of
Germany has behaved very well in the matter ; he has
expressed his regret and has promised a fresh consignment
to arrive next March free of charge.
I have tried my best to find out all I could about the
existence and habits of the trout here Burnfoot lake
unquestionably contains trout They are probably in
the other lakes, but trout in lakes containing the large
amount of food that the lakes do here, seldom come to
the top and rarely if ever take a fly.
Avalanche   river.—The   watchers   reported   to   me   in
April that they had seen a large trout killed by an otter
 I have fished this river several times but saw no
Emerald Valley river.—On the 23rd June, I caught a
Fario (male) weighing 4 lbs., he fought well and was in
good condition. I was broken by a large fish the same
Early in July Mr. Wapshare caught a female fish weighing 2\ lbs., he was moreover broken by a large fish, and
he saw 3 more feeding (one took a frog near the bank).
On July 26th, I caught a fine fish of 3^ lbs., a female fish
with developed ova	
Pykara river.—There is no  certain evidence  of  trout
having been seen here The carp seem to be thriving
well. Capt. Beadnell has had most success, he caught
15 lbs. weight of fish in 3 hours One day "
1900.—Trout culture.—During the year under report,
Major Bagnall the worthy successor of Major Grant has
been in charge of everything connected with trout culture,
and his assistance and advice in this good object have
been as invaluable as ever. The information for the year
falls naturally under 3 heads :—
(a) Our attempts to procure ova from England ;
(b) The existence of trout on these hills ; and
(c) The existence of other fish in this district.
(a) Two consignments of ova were sent by Andrews
and Andrews of the Surrey Trout Farm, the first consisting of S. Fario, by the Golconda, the second of the
American rainbow trout or S. Irridens by the Manora.
Every precaution was taken this side of Madras, but
owing to the apathy and utter want of appreciation on
the part of the individuals into whose custody they were
. delivered on boardship, both the consignments arrived in
a hopeless condition.
 The following notes for the  season   have   been
kindly furnished by Major Bagnall.
(b) The only trout I have seen caught during the year,
were during our netting operations in Snowdon ponds.
Three were caught, unwholesome looking fish of about
2J lbs. each I have heard of fish being caught in
Burnfoot lake, and have seen the bones of one killed by
an otter.
The Pykara Stock pond—Which should have contained
19 large trout was emptied after great labour. It contained no trout, but one small fish of the Mahseer species,
the care-taker beyond remarking that he was a poor man,
had no information to offer, but there seems room for
further information.
Emerald Valley River, Avalanche and Kundah rivers.—
I have frequently hunted all along these rivers, and have
seen three large trout in the Emerald valley river, but no
sign of fish life elsewhere. Nowhere have I seen a fish as
long as a little finger, and I cannot find any watcher who
Pykara river.—I heard a friend say he rose a trout in
the Pykara river, and I hope he was not mistaken, but
those who have fished there will remember how red the
Mahseer look in the water	
Our present position seems to be.—That we know of
the existence of trout in the Emerald valley river only,
and in Snowdon ponds, in the Dodabetta reservoir, and in
Burnfoot lake, they probably exist also in the Marlimund
Regarding other fish.—There are swarms of fish of the
Mahseer species in the Pykara river which afford excellent sport with the fly or " puchi." The largest I have
heard of has been 4 lbs	
Mr. Boesinger of Coonoor kindly sent me a photo of a
4-lb. fish which he had caught in the Wellington lake,
and those who know unhesitatingly name it a Mahseer.
Heaps of English tench and carp are caught in the
Ooty lake, and some Barilli, but I cannot get definite
evidence of trout.
" 1901.—Major Bagnall has little to note this year.
No ova were received.
I am aware of capture of one trout only, a female of
5-^ lbs. in spawn. existence of any small trout has
not been reported.
Netting carp in the Pykara with a view to stocking
other places was successfully carried out last ,May,
and fish were put into the Chemmangooly stream,
Krurmund river, Sandynulla stream and the Ootacamund
It will be interesting if sportsmen will kindly report
anything regarding fish they observe in these places in
"1902.—Fish.—Through the kind assistance of Mr. C.G.
Douglas, the Association was able to secure a consignment of 6,000 fario ova and 4,000 Iridens in March last.
It was received in good condition at Bombay, and Mr.
Van Ingen the local taxidermist was deputed to bring it
to   Ootacamund The  ova   hatched   fairly  well.
Owing to the muddy water supply to the hatchery the
result was not so satisfactory as it otherwise wTould have
been. By the settlement of silt on the ova many were
spoiled. It was only owing to the extreme carefulness
on the part of Major Bagnall that about 200 to 300 fry
were saved. When sufficiently, big these fry were put
into the Pykara pond. Unfortunately the dam of the
pond was breached by a big flood, and it is not known
what became of the trout.
There is every evidence of trout in the Snowdon pond
and Emerald valley river. Major Bagnall himself caught
a 7-lb. trout in the Emerald valley river, and the Honorary
Secretary himself saw five trout in the same river, all large,
weighing between 4 and 5 lbs. Capt. Wilson of the 44th
Goorkha regiment, who is at Ooty on leave, and who is
undoubtedly an expert on matters connected with fish,
asserts that trout will breed when they are well
acclimatised. He, when out at Maclvor's bund, noticed a
fish of about \ lb. in weight at the junction-of Emerald
valley and Avalanche rivers. As no other fish except
trout were ever put into these rivers, • we cannot but
conclude that it was a small trout.
If this surmise is correct it follows that the trout are
" 1903.—During the year under report, no ova was
indented for, and hence there seems little to record that
is of any special interest under this heading. No reports
were received from anybody to the effect of having seen
any trout in any of the waters, except that Mr. Van
lngen saw one in the Pykaraf while fishing there in
November last."
"1904.—Fish.—Two consignments of 10,000 each of
rainbow trout ova, were imported during the year by the
Association at a total cost of Rs. 1,621-6-5. The first
consignment of 10,000 ova were hatching out when they
arrived, and we only succeeded in getting 741 fry, which
have however been successfully turned out in Parsons
valley stream and are doing well. The second consignment was even worse than the first and we only got 124
fry out of it. These have also been turned out in the
same stream. The fry have been seen from time to time
and are thriving well.
The Committee have again resolved to import 20,000
more, ova in the coming season, and Major Bagnall will
be asked to make the necessary arrangements to carry
out the resolution."
" 1905.—As regards this year the report is not yet out,
but as far as I can ascertain there are no reports of trout
caught or fry seen. Unfortunately in this year, Anno
Domini 1905 the trout fishing on the Nilgiris may still
be represented by the word Nil. However there is no
lack of energy or enterprise up here, and it is to be hoped
that the rainbow trout will really be a success now, and
in another few years these hills with their lakes and
rivers, and their innumerable small streams and burns
(all within the easiest of distances from the centre of
Ooty itself) should be a veritable fisherman's paradise.
As regards Carp fishing in the Pykara, one can get
quite good sport, but reference this river see under the
heading of Pykara in the chapter on localities."
By Major  W. MOLESWORTH,  I.M.S.
'T*HE Andaman seas are, to the keen fisherman,
* a perfect paradise. Any follower of the gentle
craft may consider himself fortunate if his lot be
cast for a longer or shorter time in these beautiful
isles of exile. And before he leaves India let his
stock of rods and tackle be replete, for many will be
his " smash up " and loss of gear. The chief fishing
grounds are to be found in the harbour of Port Blair
itself, to the east of Ross Island in the open sea, and
in any of the numerous bays or creeks which indent
the coast of the Islands. If a small steamer or
yacht be available, the fisherman who ventures still
further a field is certain of heavy fish and large bags.
As to fresh water fishing ; there are a few tanks on
the Islands, which have been artificially stocked
with murral, and one small stream which contains
a fish of the herring tribe (Megalops Cyprinoides)
in fairly large numbers. The fish are small, rarely
over 8 oz. in weight, but at times they rise freely to
any trout fly—especially a black spider—and they are
excellent eating. However as the sea fishing is so
good, this small stream is almost neglected of fishermen. Of the varieties of sea fish to be caught—their
name is legion; so only a few of the chief kinds need
 be mentioned, and those only which afford good
sport. First and foremost as the sporting fish of the
Andamans, stands the "Khokari." Scientifically
he is known as "Caranx" and has innumerable
relations of the same tribe. The fish is a handsome
fellow something like a perch—full and deep-bodied—
oblong and more or less compressed, scales small
and resplendent, head small and shapely, high
shoulders and a very powerful tail and fins. The
pictoral fins are long and scythe shaped, and when
the fish is newlv come into the harbour from the
open sea and is in good condition, the fins look as
if they were of beaten gold. The colour of the
body varies from a bluish silvery sheen on the back,
to a golden white below. The largest run to 70 or
80 lbs.—and they can be caught weighing but a few
ounces. These fish run in shoals of 20 or 30, and
each shoal averages much about the same weight
individually. The usual run of ordinary fish being
from 15 to 25 lbs. They are excellent eating especially the smaller ones, and can be cooked in many
ways. The larger ones are best when smoked like
salmon. Their appearance in the harbour of Port
Blair is regulated mainly by the appearance of the
shoals of sardines, and these shoals they follow with
persistence, so that no other bait is of much use at
these times. The Khokari is a magnificent fighter
and the first rush of a 30 lber. is not easily forgotten. If on the. feed, he rushes madly at the baited
sardine ^and takes him cross-wise, and, as a rule, is
firmly hooked. The strike should not be made
until a little line has run off, and then the fish must
 be  struck firmly   and not   too quickly.    Beware   of
his rush and the line—see that  the reel is in good
working  order, for  if  checked  he   will  snap stout
salmon line like thread—and look out for fingers, for
if the line comes in contact, they  will be cut and
burnt  to the bone in a second.    His first run may
be   anything  up  to 60 or 70  yards,  always  away
and downwards  from   the  boat—and   then  after a
couple more bolts  he settles down to an absolutely
dogged fight—and weight for weight no fish is more
powerful.    But   fortune  being   against   him,   he   is
slowly reeled in and before long his silvery gleaming side will be seen glimmering in the blue water.
As  soon  as  he   catches   sight  of his captor he will
once again make a splendid and desperate rush for
freedom—but without avail,  and  exhausted to the
death, will be slowly reeled in to the gunwale, when
the gaff, or better still the three-pronged fishing spear
of the Nicobars ends his gallant life and lifts him
into the boat, to be duly admired by a happy and
exhausted sportsman.   The winter time—so called—
and  the  early hot weather are the best times—the
heavy  rains   of  the Andamans  muddy the  sea for
miles—and render  Khokari fishing useless.    As  to
tackle—a verv powerful rod   is required—for boat
work nothing is better than a 14 feet stout ringal
mounted   with snake  rings ; 200 yards of best Manchester cotton line—or native tussore silk—preserved salmon line rots quickly in the climate and is expensive.    Steel  wire traces  with swivels, or double
twisted salmon gut.    Reel Mlrf brass—Luscombe
or  Manton of Allahabad and Calcutta can always
supply the necessary tackle—if applied to—with details. The best hooks are bronzed plated limerick
3/0 to 6/0. The best bait is of course the ordinary
so called sardine. Quantities can usually be obtained in the early morning from the local convict
fishermen for a few annas. These are captured in
throw nets, and the fish" must be immediately placed
in a wicker basket and hung over the side of the
boat in the water, for the livelier they are the more
likely are they to attract the Khokari. Having
rowed out about 100 vards or so from the shore,
throw 3 or 4 of the sardines as far as possible from
the boat into the sea, and if the fish are about, the
sardines will be seen to make desperate attempts to
escape in all directions—but a mighty swirl and
they are no more. Select a lively bait and carefully insert the hook just behind the dorsal fin and
above the spinal bone, taking care not to injure
either the fish or its backbone in the handling.
Swing out as far as possible letting the free line
coiled up on the thwart or gunwale run out. As
soon as the fish touches the water reel in any slack
left, and let the fish swim about freely and as
naturally as possible. It is sometimes useful to
throw in a few more sardines beside the bait as an
extra attraction. Another method is to hook the
sardine through the lips% but this is not such a good
way as Khokari invariably seize sideways. Trolling in a sailing boat is at times successful and here
again the best bait is a sardine. Use an Archer's
spinner, the triangles should be of extra stout make,
as a Khokari can, as a rule, chew up the ordinary
tackle without much effort. Not more than 3 or 4
knots an hour is about the best trolling pace. They
will also take a spoon bait, or even a bit of white
rag tied to the hook and towed behind the boat.
Ground fishing with pieces of dead fish, half-boiled
potato or pieces of meat are in vogue with the
native fishermen who often kill heavy fish in this
The fish next in order of sport in Andaman
waters, is the seer or surmi (Cybium). This fish is
long and narrow, something like a mackeral, and
has a very formidable set of teeth. They follow
the shoals of sardines along the coast, but are also
frequently taken far out at sea, where they attain a
large size—up to 60 lbs.—and run up to 5 or 6 feet
in length. Closer in shore they are generally smaller,
about 10 lbs. or so, and, of course, are much better
eating than the coarser fleshed big fellows. As they
are usually captured when trolling for Khokari, the
same tackle answers, but owing to the somewhat
savage armature in their mouths they frequently cut
the trace—so a single steel wire trace is preferable
for their capture. The hook should be a No. 8/0
limerick, and the sardine is best threaded on to the
shank, the barb passing through the ventral orifice
and the head of the hook can be lashed to the
mouth of the sardine with a bit of thread; ordinary
triangles they crush easily. When struck they go
off with a terrific rush, mostly along the surface,
and repeatedly leap high out of the water shaking
their heads vigorously. Once firmly hooked they
are seldom lost—as after the first brilliant rush they7
have little staying power. Spoon baits, rag and
rubber eels can also be used as for Khokari.
Other sporting fish found in Port Blair and captured as above are—Barracuda, Tunny, Bonito, Gar
fish and Sharks.
Another form of fishing is that of ground fishing
from the jetty or from the rocks of the various
islands. The fishes caught are small Khokari,
bream, gobra or rock cod and innumerable other
'varieties of parti-coloured fish generally of most
gaudy7 raiment. The rod may be an ordinary ringal
or an old trout rod, and the sport often whiles away
a tropical evening. The best bait to use are prawns,
of which great quantities can easily be obtained in
the bazaar, limpets, soft shelled crabs or almost
anything edible.
The wealth of marine life as viewed from Ross
Island jetty is absolutely marvellous, and on a clear
evening the waters below one's feet look like a
well crammed aquarium—full of hungry fish often
ready to seize the morsels lowered to them. Sardines crammed in their thousands—every now and
again riven by voracious seer or Khokari; they in
turn to be bitten in half by an ugly hugp headed
monster of a gobra lurking behind the jetty piles—
but then Nature to us always appears red in tooth
and claw—and perhaps most of us delight in taking
part in the never ending struggle.
 Plate XXI.
¥ ONCE took a Jesuit priest out shooting with me,
* and we started in a little boat on the backwaters. He did not appear to be happy so I asked
him what was worrying him. He said, "I am big,
the boat is small, if we upset, the little crocodiles
will eat us."
So we landed—and he shot me in the leg with a
charge of No. 8. Then I thought the crocodiles
were the lesser risk.
And I do not think that you need fear crocodiles
much either, even when you wade in fairly deep.
I remember one day, bathing in a delightful pool
in the Tunga Bhadra, I barked my toe on what I
thought was a rock, and cussed it accordingly. But
when I was drying on the bank, the rock came to
the surface, and started off down stream; so I shot
it, an 8 feet crocodile, which was rather returning
evil for good. And, the difficulty we had to get
him out, he wasn't quite dead, and what little life
he had left in him he made most excellent use of.
My shikarri shoved a large stick in his mouth, while
I hauled him out by the tail, and if you want to
know the power of a Saurian's tail, just try catching
hold of a wounded one by that appendage, but don't
omit the precaution of the stick applied at the
business end.
I know when first I came out I used to cut open
every crocodile I shot, in the hopes of finding gold
bangles and turquoise rings, and a few other such
trifles, but I never found anything but bits of brick
and such like. Once though I did find something—
3° eg§s—and I tried blowing them !!! Let us draw
a veil over the fate of eight and twenty!! One of
the two left, I believe a lady has still in her drawing room, the other which got cracked, I gave to
one of the girls I loved, and she broke it up later,
when my. fickle fancy wandered. Why do people
sometimes call them alligators ? I believe that
there are no 'gator in India, or out of America for
that matter.
How to tell them apart. Watch them smile, and
then if the lower canines fit into grooves in the
upper jaw, he's a 'gator, and if into holes a crocodile
(or mugger).
You can shoot or fish for crocodiles if you like.
If the former—aim just where the head joins the
body and break his spinal column. If hit in the
right spot he will spread out, as if galvanised, and
never move. Or you can try for his heart—if you
think a crocodile has one—just behind the forelegs.
But if you do not kill them outright you will lose
19 out of every 20 you hit, as they have a marvellous faculty of regaining the water.
Perhaps the best way to fish for them and the
way which gives most sport, is to take a long hollow
bamboo, say 8 or 10 feet, and to one end, 6 inches
from the end, tie a stout piece of cord about 2 feet
long, with a large hook fastened to it.    Take the
precaution to open out the strands of your cord near
the hook, or the crocodile will promptly bite through
it. Then fasten a large chunk of meat on the hook,
and set the bamboo adrift in any large pool, in which
you know there are mugger, and get away well out
of sight. If a mugger takes the bait, the buoyancy
of the bamboo drives the hook into him and then
when he sinks to the bottom, as his instinct is to do,
up goes the free end of the bamboo. Then you can
finish him as you think best. Get into a boat and
" ride him' with hog spears, this gives the best fun.
But go canny, as there is generally room enough
left in his mouth for your leg, if available.
Before leaving crocodiles let me quote from an
article that I wrote some time ago, on the different
kinds to be found -in India. 1 remember one dear
young lady, hailing from the States, if I err not—
saying " My, ain't he just the cutest little alligator ! " And He mind you wasn't even a crocodile,
only an iguana (or monitor, I should say). In
India there are no such things as alligators, in
fact the true alligator is found nowhere out of
America. Crocodiles differ but slightly from alligators, the chief points wherein they vary being, that
the latter has a broader and shorter head, with
snout more obtuse, and the toes of the hind feet onlv
partially webbed. But should you meet one in a
hurry and be at a loss how to address him. notice
this point; the two large canine teeth of under jaw7
fit into pits in upper jaw in case of an alligator, and
in furrows in case of a crocodile. Now our friend,
the   crocodile, or   mugger  as  he  is  often familiarly
 called in this country, is interesting in this, that he
shows an approach to warm-blooded animals, in
having a four-chambered heart, quite different from
the fish tribe, with the exception of the Cetacea or
whales, and the dolphins. His limbs, being short,
are unable to bear his heavy weight, therefore he
drags his body somewhat, though for all that he is
capable of making very fair time across countrv.
The crocodile lias manv vices, but no virtues, at
least up to the present not one has been discovered,
though certain ones have been claimed for him byT
good kind people, who cannot bear to hurt the feelings even of a dormouse, but none of these virtues
will bear the cold hard light of day. He has a
pleasant habit of floating down stream with only
just the tip of his snout showing above water, till
he sees some unfortunate animal drinking unsuspiciously, then comes a splash and a rush ; and if your
money is on the mugger, you get home most every
time, as the Yankees say. He never, or very
seldom, attempts to kill his prey with his powerful
jaws, but drags it down under the water, holding it
there to drown ; then proceeds to carefully bury it
on some island till the meat shall suit his refined
palate. The jackals and hyaenas know of this little
peculiarity of his, burying his food, and go round
hunting for the mugger's larders like so many tramps
hunting for a Tit-Bits treasure.
The crocodile also eats fish, but not so many as
are^generally attributed to him, since he is distinctly
lazv and does not care to hustle round for his dinner
like the vulgar crowd,    Now to survey him again
from a naturalist's point of view. His dentition is
peculiar, consisting of one single row of formidable
teeth, each one of these is hollow and contains the
germ of a larger tooth, which grows till it ousts the
worn-out tooth, so that the fortunate mugger has
alwaj's a mouthful of nice sharp teeth. But when
he gets toothache, he gets it in two teeth instead oL
one. Hence his vile temper ! There are three distinct families of crocodiles. First come the Garials ;
secondly the true crocodile; and thirdly the alligators. The latter, as I mentioned before, are only
found in America. The Garials, who mav be known
by their very long and narrow snouts, frequent only
the larger Indian rivers, such as the Ganges and
Brahmaputra, in both of which they run to some
17 feet in length. There are altogether about 11
species of true crocodile, of which only four are
found in Asia, three hailing from Africa, and four
from America.
It is interesting to remember that some cities—
notably Memphis—in ancient Egypt, looked on
Crocodiles.as Gods.
However it was not all peace and joy for the
mugger. If some cities worshipped them it was the
reverse with others. Apollinopolis, in particular,
gave them a real bad time, the inhabitants holding
that they were incarnations of " Typho," the genus
of evil, and the city got up a yearly crocodile hunt,
in which thousands of the animals were slaughtered,
and everyone had a slap up good time, with the exception of the crocodiles, who voted the whole show
a relic of barbarism.
The mugger loves to bask in the sun, on a sandbank or rock, and lying there he looks exactly like
a log. He never seems to sleep ; no matter how
wilily you may approach him, immediately he perceives your attentions are directed to him personally, there is a splash, and he is non est. Should the
crocodile be taken unaware he feigns death, and
does it so realistically, that failing any lethal
weapon such as a good sized hatchet, you concede
the palm of victory to the mugger and leave him in
peace. In dry seasons they have the power of burying
themselves in the mud, and activating for long
periods, an accomplishment shared by the murral fish
also. (The alligator does not do this, but hibernates
in a hole in the ground during the winter.) The t
mugger lays eggs, each batch numbering from 20 to
60 ; these the female usually buries in the sand to be
hatched out by the heat of the sun. On the appearance of the young, Mrs. Crocodile looks after them,
feeding them with food which she disgorges herself.
She has to guard them, too, or their fond papa
would have them as an entree for dinner were he
given half a chance. The eggs, which are about
the size of goose's eggs, are eaten by some natives,
though their flavour is distinctly musty and unpleasant. The flesh of the crocodile is very seldom
eaten, though the negroes of Central America
consider the tail of the alligator to be a delicacy.
The crocodile has five toes behind and four in front,
all more or less webbed. Only the centre three have
claws. His eyes, nose &nd ears have lids or valves
which enable them to be closed at will,—hence his
uncanny smile. The valve in his nose is of immense
use to the mugger, enabling him to hold his prey
under water for a sufficient time to drown it,
without, himself being suffocated. But the mugger
is of a shy and retiring disposition, so let us leave
him now, to return to that oblivion which his soul
Eels I hate, both to look at, to catch, and to eat.
If you really want them for food for yourself or
servants, the best way to catch them is to set night
lines or give y7our servants lines and let them fish
for them with worm, prawn or bits of fish. An
excellent bait for eels, is eel. Cut up the first you
catch and bait with small bits, and all his brothers
and sisters will be eager for mementos of the dear
He is a hateful brute an eel, the nasty way in which
he takes your bait, and then curls his tail round a
weed, deluding you into unholy and boisterous glee
under the impression that you have got a 4-lb. fish
on at least. And then when he comes up, he isn't
a bit apologetic. He ties your cast into knots,
makes your landing net into a horrid mess, if you
are foolish enough to use it, and when you do get
him on the bank, you find that he has got your hook
so far down into his internal anatomy, that you
generally leave it to him to digest at his leisure.
No, my advice is that unless yrou can at once swing
him clear to your henchman behind, out with your
knife, and let him go hook and all,    No, on second
 thoughts always slay them,  as thev are
and spawn eaters.
A turtle I have never caught, mv only acquaintance with them is a bowing one, when one comes
up, winks at one, and having successfully dodged
the unerring half-brick, sinks to the bottom to
continue his nefarious practises of hunting fry, and
biting through angler's gut. I have also vague
recollections of wildly chasing turtles on the West
Coast, and trying to turn them on their backs,
before they reached the water.
Really I could pity frogs, if only they had not
such raucous voices and such a total absence of
shame in using them.
Every man's hand seems to be against the frog.
When he sits on the bank and sings merrily, the
paddy and other birds eat him. When he betakes
himself to the water for refuge he is immediately
pounced on by Murral and various other fishes.
And he is a friendly little animal. In Madras
especially the little house-frogs make themselves
quite at home. They sit on your pillow, in your
tooth glass, and even in your straw hat, and when
you indignantly oust them, tlrey jump with a flop on
to the floor or into your boots, all spots are alike to
It is a curious fact that the lower class natives,
whose tastes their staunchest advocate cannot call
refined—never seem to eaj: frogs,    The Chinese do,
and it's most amusing to watch them catching them,
or take a hand at it oneself. Their methods are
primitive but effectual.
They go out in pairs. One of the pair, usually a
diminutive boy, holds in his hands a pair of grandfather's trousers, each leg tied at the bottom with a
thinnish piece of string. He doesn't take father's
nether garments, as father is probably too active,
and would catch him.
This is the creel. No. 2 has a 6 feet bamboo, with
a piece of string 6 or 7 feet long tied at one end. At
the end of the string by way of bait, is tied—
simply—a dirty piece of rag, no hook or anything.
Then the fun begins; the rag is dangled down a
bank, into a paddy field, swamp or canal, and pulled
slowly up the bank. The rag seems to annoy
froggie, as he jumps at it, and grabs hold, being
swung up and deposited into the waiting trousers,
before he has the.presence of mind to let go.
I never could understand why the frogs took the
rag, but it always seemed a sure bait with them,
and I used to spend hours watching the Chinaman
catching them after any heavy fall of rain. The
only skill in the game lay in swinging the frog
instantly into the trousers, as immediately froggie's
astonishment was overcome he let go promptly,
often with the result that he went happily flying
into the water on the opposite side of the bund.
And one more thing concerning frogs, and that is
the tadpoles. Really they are rather fascinating to
watch sometimes, quaint little creatures all head
and tail and no body, and then  the utterly aimless
way they crowd together, heads in, for all the world
just like a scrum at Rugby. And the varieties there
are : Big black chaps, pale vellow ones, and bright
orange hued little fellows, ail wriggling happily
about in the shallow water at the river's edge.
And though to you they appear to be ugly shapeless
little animals, this is by no means the case ; catch
one and examine it, and really the marking and
colour though weird", has a distinct beauty of its
own, and shows that Dame Nature's artistic touch
extends even to the least among her myriad
And just a few words as to a method of fishing
much in vogue in parts of Japan. Unfortunately
when there I could not find an opportunity to see it,
though I should much have liked to. The fishing is
carried on by means of cormorants, large numbers of
which are captured every year round the coasts of
Japan. The birds when caught are handed over to
trainers whose first act is to place a ring round their
necks, which permits the birds swallowing any
small fish they may catch, but effectually precludes
their bolting the larger ones. The fishing always
takes place at night and is carried out as follows.
Each boat starts out with a cofhplement of 3 or more
men according to size. No. 1 manages the boat
entirely. N9/2 holds a bamboo with which he continually strikes the water to keep the birds excited,
whilst he also attends to a torch hung in the bows
of the boat,    Nos. 3, etc., look after the birds, one
 man managing 4, 6 or even 10 birds. To the leg ol
each bird a string is attached, though some birds
become so well trained that this precaution can be
omitted in their cases. As soon as the fishing
grounds are reached, the birds are lowered into the
water and the torch kindled. The reflection of
the latter in the water attracts the fish towards the
surface, and down go the cormorants time after time,
after each dive bird and fish are pulled back into the
boat, when the fish is added to the basket, the bird
being replaced for another dive.
And these delightful little animals you will probably meet with, anyhow you are sure to if you fish
the western ghaut streams after the monsoon.
They are hateful pests as you will discover to your
vcost. Even in the most thrilling moments when
close on the trail of an old solitary bison, your
trackers will stop with exasperating nonchalance to
calmly pick off the leeches with their knives. If
vou are in good health you have not much to fear
from their bites, only do not scratch them ; good
advice, easily given but almost impossible to carrv
out. It you are not particularly fit the bites are apt
to fester rather nastily, this being the case it is as
well to wear leech drawers made of calico and tied
above the waist. They should be made like wading
trousers, feet and all with no openings. Even then
you must look out for the little brutes getting doWn
vour neck and up your sleeves.    If firmly stuck on
do not try and pull them off, but touch them with a
drop of salt or gunpowder and they will fall off.
And these you may catch occasionally. 1 caught
a monster once, fishing in an old moat known to
contain large fish, but fish that could not be tempted
anyhow. It was just at dusk; we. were trying
bottom-fishing:-with'lumps of raw meat, when my
float started slowly to move away.
I struck and up came a huge thing all legs and
claws. He was not hooked at all, but was only
hanging on to the meat, wrhich he let go of just as
he was successfully steered into the landing net.
And then the joyous time we had trying to secure
him, made more difficult bv the gathering gloom.
But we tied him up at last,.and handed him over to
our servants to eat ; they were anxious that we
should try him as soup, but we decided not.
Here we have another^enizen of the deep wHftm
I cannot abide. If you are float-fishing, and there are
many of them about, thev will nearly drive y7ou to
distraction. Down goes ^our float, slowly, slowly.,
varied occasionally byfe^ j&fjc* .bob, and time after
time you will j$$riker#{with n$ result, except that
your temper wears ffiin.
The natiyekjlike fishing for them though, as they
grow to 6 or .8 inches^iong. They use a small hook,
and give the prawn plenty of time to gorge the bait.
All the slow pulling of your float   at first   is the
 prawn   drawing   your   bait   down,   with   his   long
Prawns are said to be good as bait, but you must
shell them first. However I do not think any bait
is so good as a small red worm, unless you are
fishing for Labeo or Carps, when paste is the bait
to use.
Now with justice you will say ; " what are these
paragraphs doing in a book of hints to beginners on
Indian fishing ? " and may be you are quite right.
Neither dolphins or whales are fishes, if one calls
them anything they come under the head of Mammalia ; but they look like fish and ought to be fish,
anyhow as you may7 possibly meet the former someday in India, disporting themselves in one of the
larger rivers, they ma}- as well have just a passing
notice here. You will not catch unless by an extraordinary accident—a dolphin with rod and line, but
you may see them caught occasionally by fishermen
in their nets in the Ganges or Hooghly. I will
quote here briefly from Sterndale's excellent notes
on the subject. There are three species of dolphin
found in the rivers of India and Burma. They are
as follows:
(i)  Platanista Gangetica.
(2) Orcella Breviostris.
(3) Orcella Fluminalis.
No. (1)  is the porpoise of the Ganges, commonly
called Soosoo in Hindi, and is found in the Ganges,
Brahmaputra    and   Indus     rivers.      This    dolphin
confines itself entirely to the fresh water and never
goes near the sea. It runs from 6 to 8 feet in length
and has a formidable mouth full of teeth. It is
only in evidence as a rule during the cold season,
the rest of the year it appears to confine itself to
the deeper waters of the river. It has to come up
to breathe about once a minute.
No. (2) the round-headed river dolphin inhabits
the estuaries of the Ganges and Brahmaputra.
No. (3) also round-headed river dolphin, is only
found in the Irrawaddy in Burma, and like the
Gangetic porpoise confines itself entirely to fresh
water. It runs to about 7 or 7^ feet in length, and
can stay under water from 1 to i|- minutes. It
lives" exclusively on fish, and the Burmans have a
quaint idea that each river village has its guardian
dolphin who drives the fish into their waiting nets.
In fact so strong is this belief that lawsuits even
have been instituted by one village against another,
to recover a share of the fish, which one dolphin
has driven into the rivals' nets.
I will only touch upon the marine dolphins, just
to mention that there are several different sorts
round the coasts of India; for instance,
The Black Dolphin—is found in the Bay of Bengal.
The Lead-coloured Dolphin—on the Malabar Coast.
The Freckled Dolphin—on the Madras Coast.
The Spot-bellied Dolphin— Do.
The Spindle-shaped Dojphin— Do.
And one or two other sorts are also found on the
Madras Coast. The Long-snouted Dolphin is found
off the Coasts of Ceylon and in the Indian ocean.
Then whales (Snub-nosed Cachalots) exist in the
Bay of Bengal; but this is too big a matter altogether for so small a book.
Murral may often be shot, though this is rather
a poaching dodge. Still you may be out shooting
with your rifle and come on a tank in which they
abound. If in the heat of the day you will probably
see the fish basking on the surface, or a few inches
below. If under water remember to allow for
refraction, i.e., aim below your mark. The head is
usually the best spot to aim at. If the fish are
under water, you will only stun them, so have a
man ready to go in and retrieve.
Another poaching dodge, but justifiable occasionally, is as follows : If you are fishing in a fair-sized
tank which you know holds big fish, get an ordinary
country bladder and blow it out tight, tying the
mouth up with string. Tie also to the string a
small stick like a pencil, about 6 inches long. On
to this stick tie tightly the end of a piece of line
and then wind some 6 feet round it. Then make a
small slit at the bottom, and pass the line through,
to prevent it unwinding. Leave I foot hanging
clear. To the end of this tie a piece of stout gut,
about a foot long, with a hook attached. On the
hook put a dead frog. Then send it adrift so that
it will float across the tank with the wind. If a fish
takes your bait, the line is jerked from the slit and
unwinds, and the fish plays  itself.    You meanwhile
watch from afar, and think out the best way to get
at the bladder.
" And this is your boasted British jurisprudence,"
as the Babu said when the transport mule kicked
him. So, a word in season, be careful when making
an extra fine cast, to see that the country is all
clear behind. I remember once fishing on the steps
of a temple tank and meaning to daintily* drop my
fly over a rising fish. But all that happened, was a
venerable old native gentleman's spotless puggarie
came bounding down the steps, to his intense
indignation and disgust. As I could not extract the
fly, I broke, so perhaps he remembered me again,
one day when pressing it more firmly on his head.
Again, three men were fishing a rapid for
Mahseer. The scream of a reel brought two
excited men to the third, but where was the big
fish dashing madly hither and thither ?
No, a moment's calm investigation revealed all.
.Away across country sped an unfortunate pariah
dog, giving tongue, in a manner that would have
caused half the Peshawar pack to die of envy, and
out rushed the line, and the reel screamed merrily,
80 yards, 100 yards, 120 yards, only five more yards,
what will happen, and on the air, pregnant with
the breathless suspense of three watching men,
came back a weird howl, and slack line, as the
unfortunate pye made tracks for the eternal snows
with the hooks of a 2-inch spoon buried deep in his
And be careful of one thing. It is best to kill
any fish of over 2-lb. weight before trying to
extract your hooks, especially if they are treble
ones, as very nasty accidents have occurred through
the fish plunging, and the hooker becoming the
There are more, ways than one of killing a fish.
If a few smart blows on the head have no effect,
thump the fish vigorously with your fist in the
middle, having first laid him out flat. This will
burst his bladder. With small fish squeeze them in
the middle, or flip on the head with your finger.
And now there will be some I'm sure who will
say, "But he never tells us whether the fish are
good to eat or not "! Well, one doesn't go tiger
shooting or pigsticking with a view to a meal in
one's head, nor ought one to go fishing in such a
manner. But certainly it is a great thing to feel
that one's captures are some use after death. You
don't get a skin or a pair of tushes as trophies off
a fish.
Well, first you can rest assured that your servants
and camp followers will eat all and any fish you
may give them.
Mahomedans will eat fish too, without the necessity of "halal karoing" it. They say Allah has
already " halal kiya" fish, referring to their gill
As regards the fish for one's own table, so much
depends on (i) the species of fish; (ii) their size*
(iii)  the water you catch them in ; (iv) their condi-
tion ; (v) their cooking, and last, but not least, what
sauce in the way of hunger you can bring to bear
on them.
Personally I do not think the Indian fish (excluding Seer, Pomfret, and one or two other sea fish)
come up to their confreres at home, like the Salmon,
Trout, Sole, etc.
Batchwa are very good to eat, so are Barilius
Bola; and Chilwa, if caught in running water. The
Indian Gudgeon is said to be nice : he doesn'tlook it!
Mahseer depend very much on the river, they are
best to eat when weighing between 3 and 8 lbs.,
below 3 they are too bony, and above 8 they7 get
coarse. Some turtles are good to eat, some are not.
Experientia docet.
Megalops are too bony to be good. Carnatic
carp are not good to eat—nowise—they are absolutely crammed with bones and their flesh is about as
tasty as paper. Then the murral, he perhaps is one
of the nicest fish of all to eat, especially if he is
caught in a river (if caught in a tank he is improved
by being kept in clear fresh water, running for
choice, for a day or two). Take out his bones
however before serving him for table. Mahomedans
like murral particularly, and the presence of these
fish in fort-moats and isolated tanks is often said
to be due to the old Mussalman conquerors of India.
The siluroids mostly are good to eat, at least
Goonch and Wallago Attu are, the latter perhaps
being the nicer of the two, the smaller they are the
better the eating, since when they grow big their
flesh   becomes coarse.    With all   the   siluroids the
large central bone should be removed entire. When
my larder has been running low, I have occasionally
in the jungle poached some small stream with my
mosquito net and eaten the fry thus caught, trying
to think they were white-bait but failing lamentably
in the attempt.
Bamin and Nair, like most estuary fish, are good
to eat; the Red Perch is also very excellent if well
For such of my readers who may be absolute
novices, I may mention that most fishes are possessed of five fins, or pairs of fins, i.e., Dorsal fin (on
back), Caudal (or tail fin), Pectoral fins (on breast),
and Ventral and Anal (nearest the tail) fins underneath. In some fishes, such as Wallago Attu, the
two latter fins are merged in one.
NiB.—It should be noted here that the tail of a fish is
understood to be that part of the body between the Anal
and Caudal fins ; it being a mistake to call the latter fin
itself the tail.
Then most fishes have a lateral line running from
the gills to the tail, on each side of their bodies ; in
some fish, especially scaleless ones, this line is much
more clearly defined than in others.
Now some definition of remarks used at the end
of description of fishes is required.
LI. signifies lateral line,  and  LI.  24-26 means
that there  are 24 to 26 scales intersected by
the lateral line.
D signifies dorsal fin, and D3/9 means that the
fin is composed of twro different kinds of rays,
i.e., the first three are probably spines, the
remaining nine being branched rays. A
horizontal line signifies variation in number,
an oblique line distinction into two different
kinds of rays, and a vertical line implies that
there are two distinct dorsal fins. Thus
D7-8 I 1/10-12 means that there are two dorsal
fins, the first consisting of seven or eight ray7s
all of one kind, the second of one ray—probably a spine, followed by 10 to 12 probably
branched rays. D may be replaced by V.
A. P. or C denoting the other fins.
2\ scales—signifies that there are two-and-a-
half rows of scales between the LI. and the
ventral fin.
Then barbels—these may be variously placed.
If belonging to the nostril--they are termed nasal.
If at end of snout, rostral; under chin, mandibular ;
and at corners of upper jaw7, maxillary.
And let me say a word here against selfishness in
fishermen, I mean in the matter of keeping pet
places dark. This, I think, is quite legitimate in
the way of shooting, where perhaps your place if
made public is visited just before your leave, by
two or three so-called sportsmen who slaughter
every thing they see, and ruin that place for the
year, or perhaps for several years. But fishing is
different, new fish come up every y7ear; and out
here there are not pearly enough anglers to overcrowd the good waters. " Do unto others as you
would be   done by."    Tell about the   good places
you know, and then when you are transferred, others
will tell vou of good spots near your new station.
Occasionally it will happen that though you have
fished patiently from 4 p.m. till dusk, no luck will
reward you ; till, just as darkness falls the fish seem
to start feeding. Then you will find it rather good
fun sometimes to try fishing with a lamp I also
tried by moonlight, but never seemed to have as
good sport as on the darker nights. The best lamp
you can use is an ordinary acetylene bicycle or
motor lamp, and if you paint your float with
luminous paint you will find it a great improvement. The luminous paint bv itself seems useless,
but with a light shining on it shows up very much
better than ordinary white paint. I have really
only tried this night fishing seriously with Megalops,
and have had one or two excellent hour's sport.
There is a certain fascination in playing a fish
in the dark, the brilliant flash of silver as the
light is reflected from his gleaming side, then the
rush out into the inky darkness beyond the pale
of light, all lends a charm to the sport which is
lacking in the clear light of da v. One thing, do
not have the light too near you, because of the
thousands of mosquitoes and midges that collect
round it. Train one of y7our servants to sit with the
lamp near the water's edge and to keep your float
in the centre of the circle of light.
Dress and Outfit.—On neither of these headings
have I anything to say ; men out here very soon get
to know what's what   in the camp furniture line ;
and as regards shikar dress, if a man is going to
wear a white coat and blue breeches,—then a Cook's
tourist guide is the book for him—as it is no use
writing words of wisdom about shades of shikar
cloth for such as he. Only one thing I would add ;
excellent shikar cloth can be got and at very reasonable cost, from any of the Basel Mission stations at
Calicut, Cannanore, etc.
And a few words about marking fish ; this is much
done at home, and if only a few more sportsmen
would try it out here, some interesting data might
eventually be obtained about Mahseer and other
Indian fish, which would add very materially to the
general knowledge on the subject. Of course out
here, the enormous size and length of rivers, the few
English anglers, and the great number of Aryan
brothers who fish by fair means and foul, are all
considerations, and would probably mean that not
one in 500 marked fish (and that is taking a sanguine
view of the case) would ever be re-caught by any
intelligent observer. Still one here and there might
be so caught, and every -little helps in the way of
information on such a subject. Anyhow this miuht
well be tried in tanks, especially where they are
more or less private and preserved from netting by
natives, and here data might fairly easily be collected concerning Rohu, Labeo, Murral, Wallago Attu,
Megalops and other such fish.
By the courtesy of the Arigling Editor of the
Field, and the Secretary to the Fishery Board of
Scotland, I was enabled to get some plates made up
similar to those in use at home, and am trying them
out here. So might I make an appeal to readers :—
should any one catch a marked fish (bearing one of
my plates) would they kindly note the following
particulars for communication to me. (Also, if possible, they might once more return the fish to the
water) :—(i) Species. (2) Where caught. (3) Weight.
(4) Length—tip of nose to centre of fork in tail-fin.
(5) Girth, by-a tape passed round body just in front
of dorsal fin. (6) Plate, whether brass or silver.
The plates, either silver or brass are marked with
L and a number (i.e., L 1, L 16) and are fastened to
base of dorsal fin. In England silver plates are
used, this being done as most other metals would
corrode from the action of the salt water when the
salmon migrated to the sea ; in India however there
is no danger of this latter with the
Mahseer ; anyway personally I am
experimenting with both brass and
silver. The plate is as per diagram, f—-
and is fastened by the wires being
driven   through base of   dorsal fin,
;L 3:-
then twisted together and ends cut off.
I may here remark \ en passant', that it is no easy
job to mark a fish on a real hot day, by a rocky7
river. Two hints—Play and land any fish to be
marked as quick as possible. While marking,
measuring, etc., occasionally hold fish in water right
way up, and do not let them turn on their sides or
belly up. Particularly do this when you have
finished marking them, and see that fish is pretty
strong before leaving go of him.
A ND now a few words as to tackle. Of course
** opinion is bound to differ a great deal on
many points. A man who has killed lots of fish on
a 2-inch spoon will swear by that; amother man
may say he has always found a i-inch best.
The size of the river, nature and weight of the
fish, rapidity of current; various things may all help
to determine the tackle you will use. And remember, too, in this little book I am not talking of fish
over io or 12 lbs. as a rule. Not many beginners
in Indian fishing are likely to start their fishing with
catching 30 or 40-pounders; should they, however,
be so lucky as to get the chance, they would be
pretty certain to have a mentor with them, whose
presence would enable them to dispense with the
services of this humble volume.
Of course some men after they have fished and
made bags of the smaller fish, will aspire to visit
the haunts of the large fish, and catch them likewise,
but by the time they start to tackle xtie monsters
they will have pretty fixed ideas of their own about
rods, lines, etc.    And so to business.
Your first consideration will be your rod. If you
are lucky enough to be blessed with the goods .of
this world, more than most of us exiles are, go to a
good maker and get a steel-centred rod with lockfast joints.
Anyway get the best rod that you can afford,
remember that on it may depend to a great extent
whether your trip is a success or a ghastly failure.
Lock-fast joints you will find are well worth the
extra that you may pay for them.
As to length—please yourself as to a 14 or 16-foot
rod. I would not recommend heavier than that.
Remember that in India you are often fishing in the
heat of the day, and to be able to wield one's rod
with comfort is a great consideration. And then
on a lighter rod one can use so much lighter tackle.
Personally I would far rather take 15 minutes to
land a game 10-pounder with light tackle on a
14-foot rod, than I would to land the same fish in 10
minutes on a 16-foot rod. Always have a spare top
to your rod, and also get a short stiff spinning-top
as well, for use when fishing for Goonch or other
such fish. Whenever possible, though, use the fly
top to your rod ; you put less strain on your trace
and collar, and you will find it far pleasanter. for
playing the fish. And a pliant top acts as a sort of
cushion to any jerks or plunges the fish ma)7 make.
And remember that a stiff powerful rod will not
cast a fine line well, whereas a whippy pliable one
is not suitable for casting heavy lines. If you can
afford to set yourself up well in rods; get—(1) .a 16j
with two fly tops—a rod bordering on the stiff
rather than the whippy side ; (2) a 14' with two fly
tops, and also a spare short top for spinning for
goonch, nair, bamin., etc.; (3) a 12 ' for a single handed
fly rod, and possessing a short top making it a 10'
one for bottom fishing and tank-angling; and (4)
and lastly a little 10' fly rod. For this latter you
might well get one of those small ones, called either
portmanteau or cyclists' rods. They are most excellent little rods, a small ten-footer is a good size,
each joint 21 long. Mine has an extra short top
making it a very powerful little nine-footer, and it
will comfortably go in any portmanteau or uniform .
case, and is also a convenient size to fasten on a
cycle. Your rods mav be either split cane—with
or without steel centre—or greenheart. The former
are of course far more expensive, a good steel-centred
split cane costing perhaps three times what a green-
heart rod of the same style would. And a green-
heart rod will fulfil all the conditions one wants out
here, and if gut from a good maker thev are delightful to use. If you only wish to get one rod for all
round fishing, i.e., for Mahseer, estuary fishing, etc.—
since for tank-angling and the smaller flv-takers you
must have separate rods—getX good 14' with two
fly and one shorter top. My 14 greenheart, which
is quite my favourite rod, has* three tops. With
No. 1 it is 14 and does for all fly-fishing and light
spoons. No. 2 makes a 13!' rod, much more powerful and suitable for all spoons, natural bait, etc.;
while the short top makes a 12' rod, excellent for
trolling for goonch,  or fishing for bamin and nair.
And if one casts from the reel one can get out an
astonishingly long line  with  a  short powerful  rod.
Why I advocate the two fly tops for use in Mahseer
fishing, instead of short stiff tops, is for two reasons.
One is that one's pleasure is much enhanced by the
greater play the rod gives, and by the lighter tackle
one   can    thereby   use;    and   the   other   reason   is
because   of the   tremendous wrench  a   Mahseer so
often gives one's rod top, and  which  a  pliant  top
humours   lpv  instantly  giving   to,   but  which   with
a stiff top sometimes spells disaster to rod or tackle.
Below   are   given   a   few   Mahseer   rods,   by   good
makers, with their prices, in case any reader has no
tackle   maker and  possesses an   open mind on the
subject.     1 have  purposely omitted here rods made
or sold by shops in  this country, as I have no wish
to make distinctions  between firms  out   here,  and
also it is easy for intending purchasers to write for
and get catalogues in a short space of time.
Hardy Bros.—"Hi  Regan"  i6' double   cane   built,
steel   centre,    3   pieces,    2    tops,.
lock-fast  joints,   pigskin   or   cork
handle,     bridge     rings,     weight
38 ozs.—£10.
,, f Cholmondeley    Pennells"     general
rod;  14' cane built, steel centre,
lock-joints, etc.    Has 2 full-length
fly tops,  also  a  spinning top frd
length  of  fly  tops,   and    another
shorter   top   for   heavy   trolling.
Price    £9-5-0,    or   same   rod    in
greenheart £4-5-6,
Hardy Bros.—Alnwick greenheart rods, with lockfast joints, universal winch fittings,
cork handles, two tops. i6' first
quality, £3-14-0. Second quality,
£2. 14' first quality, £3-1-0 2nd
Cedar handle and plain joints,
Farlows.— Split cane salmon rods, steel-centred,
lock-fast fittings, snake rings, cork
grips, 3 pieces, 2 tops, 16' £9-0-0.
14' £7-0-0.
,, Greenheart salmon rods, cork handle,
suction joints, 2  tops, best finish,
3 pieces.    16' £3-5-0.
,, Greenheart trout rods, 3 pieces, 2 tops,
extra finish.    14; £2-10-0.
Little's.—       " Balmoral" split cane rods, fitted cork
handles, snake rings, rubber button
and plain bronzed fittings, 3 joints.
,, 9 " Haymarket "   salmon   rods,   green
heart,    universal   winch   fittings,
snake rings, plain joints,   2 tops,
best quality.     16' £2-17-6.
,, Grilse Balmoral  rods as  above
,, Grilse greenheart rods as above
Army c£ Navy Co. Soc, Ltld.—"Army & Navy"
split cane \ salmon rods, double
build, steel centre, 3 joints. 16'
Army & Navy Co. Soc, Ltd.—Greenheart    salmon
rods,   2  tops,  3 joints,  cork grip
very superior.    i6' £2-3-0.
,, Split cane double   handed fly rods, 3
pieces, suction joints, snake rings,
india-rubber   button,   2   tops   and
steel centre.     13' or 14' £5-2-0.
,, A. & N. S. Mahseer rods, greenheart,
3 joints, 3 tops.    14'£2-4-6.     16i
Carter's.—       Tubular steel centre  cane built rods,
with      pneumatic     button      and
i^lij 2 tops.     16' £8-8-0.    14' £6-6-0.
,, Cane   built   rods,   steel   centre,   cork
handles,    lock-fast   joints,   snake
rings, 3 pieces, 2 tops.   16' £6-6-0.
H1 £4"I5-o.
,, Greenheart fly rods, best quality, cork
handles, snake rings,  lock joints,
3   pieces,   2   tops.      16(   £1-15-6.
14' £1-11-0.
Also Foster Bros, of Ashbourne make a speciality
of steel-ribbed rods,  but  of  these  I  regret  that I
have no particulars.
Now as to reel or winch. Most of the reels that
one gets from home are rather narrow between the
plates, and therefore too small for the length of line
that one requires out here. This is a point to remember, so generally order your reel \ or \ an inch
bigger than you would otherwise get for your rod
if you only intended it for fishing, at home. With a
rod of 14' or over you will want a reel of at least 4"
diameter for mahseer fishing, or say a reel capable
of holding 80 or 100 yards of stout or medium
salmon line ; this will mean that it will hold half as
much again, if you use a good percentage of backing
line upon your reel. This for spinning with; for
fly fishing of course a smaller reel will suffice, a 3
or 3^ inch being a convenient size. There are so
many good reels on the market, and each tackle
maker has his own speciality, that it is hard to
advise concerning any particular kinds, a winch
made by Messrs. Little & Co., with Mr. Thomas'
brake attachment is an excellent one for heavy fish,
while the silex reel made by Hardy Bros, is as perfect a winch as one could desire both for casting
from the reel direct or for ordinarv use in flv fishing.
One thing I would advise, and that is do not
economise over your reel, a good one is far more
essential out here than it is at home where you
are within a day's reach of a tackle maker always.
Besides with Mahseer a reel is subjected to tremendous strains, and a cheap one will suddenly go
to pieces sometimes in the middle of a run, or worse
still jamb, when your tackle if not your rod top goes
as the result. Wooden reels will not stand this
country; winches should be metal throughout,
either gun-metal or aluminium. Also the handle
or handles should be revolving ones and let into the
winch plate direct, without cranks. The check
should be strong, but not too stiff. Personally I am
rather enamoured of an adjustable che<?k, has brought
to great perfection in the silex reel mentioned
above, but some men do not care about ^fiem,
holding that the simpler the construction of the
reel the better. A few specialities in reels are
noted below, for the- convenience of those who may
have no makers' catalogues to hand. Prices quoted
are all for 4|-inch reels, of course the smaller ones
are cheaper—
The " Perfect reel " made by Hardy Bros, has
a regulating^ check, which can be adjusted to a
nicety. Other advantages claimed by the makers
are—Lightness, smooth running and greater line
carrying capacity than most reels, also easily taken
to pieces to clean.    Price £2-10-0.
The "Silex" reel, Hardy Bros. This is a most
beautiful piece of workmanship, possesses great
strength combined with lightness, has an adjustable
check, also a lever by pressing on which with the
finger the drum runs free and it is possible to make
very long casts from the reel with the minimum of
exertion. Also it is the easiest of matters to take
the reel to pieces—with one's fingers only—to clean.
It has a large drum and is very quick winding.
Apropos of this it struck me that it hardly held
sufficient line for Mahseer fishing, but Messrs. Hardy
Bros, very kindly made me up a reel broader between
the plates, for no extra charge, and now the reel is
I think quite perfect.    Price £2-10-0
" Patent lever" salmon winch, made by Fallow,
designed to effect an adjustable check upon the
revolving plate, so that power can be applied at
will.    The regulating screw being on the outside of
the winch plate, can be easily turned by the fingers.
Price £3.
Also made in aluminium, very light. Price £4.
The "Duplex Casting" reel, made by Little & Co.,
can be used either as an ordinary check winch, or
by giving a metal collet a half turn converted into
a casting reel with free running spool. To check
spool, either push on check or press hand plate
inwards towards reel.    Price £1-15-0.
Then there is "Thomas' Mahseer" reel, also
made by Little & Co. It is a strong gun-metal reel
made purposely to hold the long lines used in India,
and the revolving plate has a V-shaped groove in
edge. The brake is a V-shaped wedge, with a
thumb piece, and is fastened to the reel plate by
a steel spring, the wedge being just clear of groove
in revolving plate. By pressure on the thumb piece
any power can be applied at will, by taking pressure
off thumb piece brake immediately7 disengages.
4^".    Price £2.
The " Coxon Aerial" reel, sold bv A. & N. S.,
Carter, Little and probably other makers. It is
exceedingly light, and has an optional check.
Price £1-7-6 (Little).    £0-17-6, Stores and Carter.
" Mallochs" Improved Patent Casting reels,
with reversible drum and optional check. Sold by
Stores, Carter, etc.    Price £i-]4>6.
" Army and Navy " bronzed revolving plate
winches, ordinary pattern but with variable check.
The check is regulated by a small screw sunk into
plate, turning to right reduces, to left increases,
amount of check.    Price £1-7-0.
" Slater's" Combination Nottingham Pattern reels,
with optional check action, made in alloyed
aluminium, very light.    Store's price £1-13-0.
Then the " Moscrop" patent reel, sold by Stores,
Carter and probably others. Advantages claimed.
No screws, taken to pieces by fingers alone in
10 seconds; is ventilated, has adjustable drag;
strength and simplicity. Price £1-7-0 (Stores^.
£1-4-6 (Carter). Weight 22 ozs. The weight has
always struck me as being the disadvantage of
this reel.
As regards " Winch Fittings" perhaps the two
best are,—" Warner's wedge fast" and " Hardy's
Universal" winch fittings.
As to line. There are such a large number of
good lines on the market, that it is hard to advise
any particular kind. Deal with a good maker, and
get your line?" equal in thickness to light or medium
salmon in the case of fly line, and medium to stout
in the case of spinning. The Manchester spinning
line sign 64 is good and strong enough for any fish,
also it is very fairly cheap and lasts well. I have
always however found the Manchester Spinning Co.
very difficult people to get anything out of, but your
tackle makers at home should manage it for you.
You will hardly ever want more than 100 yards,
and 150 yards ought to be ample even for the biggest fish ; and if expense is a consideration, have
only 40 yards of running line, and the rest good,
strong, backing line.
Always—the following is most important—dry
vour line before putting it away, unreel all the wet
^portion, and stretch it out across two chairs, or in
any other way convenient. If you do not do this
your line will quickly rot, and the first good-sized
fish you get on will promptly break you.
For the smaller fly-takers get fine or stout trout
line, depending on which fish you may expect to go
after. For bottom fishing, tussa line is much recommended, personally I do not care about it as it
has such, a passion for kinking. Any good waterproofed line, stout trout or light salmon will do you
all right. For the fly-takers, 30 yards should suffice
you. For bottom fishing, 40—80 yards dependent
on the sizes of fish expected and waters fished.
Casts for use fly fishing; use stout salmon gut for
Mahseer, light salmon for Carnatic Carp, arni trout
casts of varying thickness for the smaller fly-takers,
For small fish like the barils and chilwa use the very
finest gut procurable. Three yards is a good
ordinary length for casts. Now as to traces. Since
such great strides have been made in perfecting
wire for this purpose, double and treble gut traces
are hardly ever seen now in* this country, gimp also
has been ousted by twisted and rust-proof wire.
Still where the water is fairly dear from snags and
the fish do not run very big, some men prefer to
stick to stout gut. Of the different wires on the
inarket, two of the best known are undoubtedly the
" Hercules" rust-proof and the " Killin " wire.   The
former is made of innumerable strands of bronzed
steel wire twisted together, and is beautifully
pliable and exceedingly strong. The Killin wire is
a plain blued single steel wire something like the
wires used on a zither. Whichever you use it is
better to buy it by the reel, and make up vour
traces yoarself, unless of course expense is no object
then buy them ready made by all means. The
Hercules wire, which personally I always use, is
made in varying thicknesses, Nos. i/o and 2/0, are
useful sizes and the ones you will most generally
want. Traces should be about two yards in length,
though you can make them as short as 1 yard if the
water is very heavy, or as long as 3 yards if verv
fine fishing is required ; but 5 to 6 feet is a <*ood
useful length. Put on your swivels' according to
fancy, you should have at least two on a 2-yard
trace. Put a swivel one foot away from each end
of trace leaving a clear 4 feet between ; or put a
buckle swivel at bait end of trace, a second swivel
3' up and a third at 6" from the end next your
running line. But please yourself regarding swivels,
there is no fixed rule regarding such, except to
remember that the fewer the better, but th^re must
be enough to save your wire from twisting and
kinking, the latter the fatal foe of all wire traces.
Have a small loop at the end to which you mean
to fasten your running line, at the other end have
either a buckle swivel or else a loop large enough
for a 3" spoon or a natural bait to pass through. If
you are making up your own traces, put the end of
your wire twice through the eye of each swivel, then
twist end neatly round the other wire (twisting one
way you will find that it will amalgamate perfectly,
the other way not), bind tightly with well waxed
silk and put a good coating of shellac varnish over
it. Always test your casts and traces—-after
soaking if gut—before using, it is better to break on
the bank where you can repair them, than to see
the fish of the day going off with a pet spoon and
half your trace.
German silver swivels are perhaps the best, or
else steel swivels very heavily silvered over.
Always have a certain number of double swivels,
and a few buckle swivels are useful. These latter
are very handy for the end of one's trace, as they
obviate the trouble of passing the spoon through a
loop on the trace, or, if using dead bait, they enable
one to change to a new flight rapidly. Some men
however, are very down on them, still they are
good enough for small fish. You do not want many
different sizes among your assortment of swivels,
Nos. 4 and 5, especially the latter, are the most
generally useful, while No. 6 is a good size for live-
baiting for Megalops, Murral, etc. A good thing to
remember when you get new swivels, is to treat
each one to. a drop of oil and a pinch of emery
powder, and then revolve both ends sharply with
the fingers a few times. This improves swivels
greatlv and gives them a chance to start fair by
removing any stickiness,
 Plate XXII
Split rings are things to be avoided; they appear
to be made only for ornament, not use. If you buy
your spoons and phantoms ready-made see that they
are mounted on solid rings.
If you make up your own, use brass wire to fasten
your swivels and hooks to the spoons or phantoms.
It is a little difficult to mount them neatly at first,
but a little practice and a pair of pliers will make
you pretty handy at it soon. And do not worry
about being too neat. I know this sounds heresy,
but when your spoon or phantom is spinning in a
rapid, and making a small race of its own, and fish
are hungry, they won't, as a rule, detect the difference between a bit of brass wire and a split ring!
The old fashioned loose rings have now been
entirely superseded by firm rings, which are of
various sorts, such as Snake, Upright, Bridge rings,
etc. These are all good. For the top ring (and
also the butt ring of bigger rods) it is as well to
have a revolving ring of phosphor bronze ; i.e., the
jring itself is firm but it has an inside moveable rim,
which by occasionally shifting brings a different
surface round for the line to run over, thus prolonging both its own life and that of the line.
Of spoons there  are various shapes, please yourself.    Plate XXII, Figs, i and 2 show two different
spoons; the   former mounted   with head   and   tail
hooks,  and  the   latter   with   the   flying mount, so
popular in the Punjab. For my own part, I
generally mount all my spoons up to 2" with the
flying mount, over two inch with head and tail
triangles, (though I have some 3" spoons with
flying mounts for use in slack water).
The flying mount can be varied with 2 single
hooks, or a good combination is a single hook at
the top and a triangle at bottom. The two spoons
are simply drawn different shapes to show varia-
. tions, both spin well if properly mounted. And
now a word as to mounting ; be careful if making
up your own spoons not to use too big and too
heavy hooks. If you find that your spoon does not
spin true, the chances will be that your hooks are
too heavy for it.
For mounting spoons the following sizes of hooks
and swivels may be taken as a rough guide : For
large spoons, sav over 3", use No. 4 swivels, for all
others No. 5 should suffice, and use a double swivel
if the spoon is of fair size and weight.
As regards triangles, for a 1" spoon use, say,
No. 12 as your top hook and No. 11 at bottom.
For a 2" spoon No. 6 at top and No. 5 at bottom,
and for a 3" spoon No. 3 at top and No. 2 at bottom!
And remember always the finer you fish the better.
A spoon is a very slippery bait, and once a fish
dashes at a spoon, the chances are he hooks himself.
Avoid, with all baits, using*formidable arrays of
hooks. Indian waters are very bright and clear,
remember ; and also the bigger Carps, like Mahseer,
have leathery mouths giving\excellent hook-hold.
With   others of the  predacious   fishes  which  have
mouths full of teeth, you can generally add an extra
treble to phantoms and dead baits.
Spoons are expensive things to buy7, so I always
make up my own. Buy a sheet of brass in the
bazaar (you can get a large enough piece for 4 annas
to make about 20 1-inch spoons). Give any blacksmith a pattern and he will cut you out two or three
dozen in an hour. Go to any big shop that does
silver-plating or nickel-plating and ask if they will
plate them for you. I get mine done for about
Re. 1 per dozen, one side bright and the other
dulled. The dull side you can leave as it is, or have
burnished up, or paint with gold paint and varnish.
There you have your spoon. Mount it with solid
trebles and a good swivel. Fasten your treble and
swivel on with brass wire. The whole spoon (according to size) can be made for from 6 to 12 annas.
And personally I have found them just as effective
as shop-made ones. In one pool in which I caught
over 10 Mahseer in a day, I tried, as an experiment,
.using different spoons—(i) a shop one beautiful to
look at—gilt and silver, (ii) a shop one all silver,
(iii) a silvered one of my own, (iv) one cut out of
the lid of a biscuit tin, and iv) a plain brass one
polished bright, and as far as catching fish was
concerned, there seemed not the slightest difference
in any of them, though I must admit that the
biscuit tin one never came up to the scratch in the
second round.
About flies I have practically nothing more to
add here, the various ones recommended are men-
tioned in the different chapters on Mahseer, Carnatic
carp, etc. But it might be of help if I put in here a
few illustrations and hints on the tieing of flies,
which was taught me in times gone by, by a keen
Indian angler, as a day may come when in the jungles
ycu run completely out of flies, and then a rough
home made $y is much better than none at all ; and
some may prefer to tie their own flies always. For
the crudeness of my drawings I must apologise.
Fig.  1.—Two pieces of feather of equal size to
form wings.
Fig. 2.—Jungle cock hackle or any like feather.
Fig. 3.—Lay the 2 wings in position and then with
a piece of well waxed silk, take 3 or 4
turns round their ends near eye of hook.
Then place hackle in position and take
another couple of turns round it with
the silk. Cut off short ends of wings
and hackle outside binding.
Fig. 4.—Having brought your waxed silk, wound
round shank of hook, and cutting down
a small piece of wing feathers to make
tail of fly, make a loop in binding
opposite point of hook, and pull tight;
then on your silk which by the way
should be well waxed, stick some pigs-
wool (or other material for making
bodies of flies) and wind this round and
round till body is of required thickness.
Fig. 5.—Take hackle and twist twice behind and
under wings, and then once round in
front, and having cleaned your silk of
 Plate XXIII.
  any pigswool left on it, take 3 turns
over hackle, make a loop and pull tight.
Cut off ends and varnish silk well
wherever exposed.
N.B.—If you want to put any tinsel on the body, you
can do this after.
Then as regards hooks. Get good stout treble
hooks. Most makers at home know now what
Mahseer hooks are. They may strike you as clumsy
at first, but wait till you get a spoon back all
crumpled up, with the hooks gone to glory, then
you realize the enormous powers of compression
that a Mahseer's jaws have. Use eyed hooks
whenever possible in India. The binding on hooks
mounted to gut dries very quickly in this country,
and you will find you lose many fish in this way.
Remember in writing for hooks, always draw a
sample hook to show size wanted. There are
different scales of hooks, and trouble and disappointment are liable to occur if you do not carefully
specify exactly what you want. The scales I give
you (Plate XXIII) are the same as laid down in
" The Rod in India." I choose those scales purposely as they are probably better known to Indian
anglers than any other scales. If fishing with float
and worm, eyed hooks are not so good, as the worm
will not pass over the eye without tearing.
As regards floats. For live-baiting for Murral,
use   an ordinary egg-shaped  float, as one uses for
Pike at home, or else one made up as laid down in
the chapter on Megalops. For any other float
fishing in tanks, let me commend to your notice the
excellent little floats evolved by Mr Thomas, and
called " Detective " or " Labeo " floats. They are
very easy to make. Take one of a peacock's tail
feathers—you can buy them in any bazaar—and cut
off the last 4 inches of thick quill. Then take off
the next 6 inches and carefully snip the harl away
from this. Here is the float. To make it up for
use—varnish it, paint 3 bands of red, \ an inch
broad each, alternating with | inch bands of natural
colour, starting from one end. At the other end
bind on with waxed silk a small loop of stout
running line,   and your   float is   complete.     (Plate
XXIV, Fig. 1.)
To fix it on your line. Make a loop in your
running line, and pass it through loop on float, pull
sufficient through to pass-over top of float, and then
pull the running line taut again, and your float is on.
A little persuasion is all that is necessary to slip it
up or down till you have it at the right depth.
The great advantage of these floats is that your
running line is only fastened to one end, so that
they are much more sensitive to the smallest bite.
Also you can put them on or take them off easily,
no untying of collar, or bothering with small float
For float fishing in rivers, perhaps the best floats
one  can   use,  ar/e   the  Nottingham floats.    (Plate
XXV, Fig. 3.) To explain their use. The
Nottingham   float   is   curved    instead   of   straight,
and the bottom ring is at right angles to the
shaft. Instead of a cap up above there is another
ring identical with the bottom one. The line
being passed through these two rings, the float
is not fixed and so can travel up and down at
will. On your cast or line, at the depth you wish to
fish, a small stick or piece or wire is fastened, above
the float. The advantage of this is, that in casting
your bait the float is down near it, and owing to the
additional weight you can get out a longer cast.
Then on reaching the water the line runs through
the float rings till checked by the small stick and
wherever you strike the float sli£>s down and is not
jerked out of water each time.
Next as to weighting your line. If you simply
want a sinker for live-baiting use a conical 12-bore
bullet, as you cannot have anything better than
that. If for trolling, —there are various kinds made.
Look up in any maker's catalogue and choose for
yourself. The Fishing Gazette leads are - very good
For ordinary spinning or float-fishing very7 useful
leads are the Simplex leads made in assorted sizes
by Hardy Bros, and which are easily put on or
taken off your trace or cast. And if going on a
fishing trip, I should advise you to take some soft
lead wire, as this is excellent for making up weights,
either after approved patterns, or to suit your own
Devons, minnows, phantoms, etc. You will want
a certain number of these ; 3 or 4 inches are
good sizes, as you can use these without straining
your fly top. Personally I always remove one
treble hook from each, you do not need more than
2 trebles ; at any rate not for Mahseer, though, as
I mentioned before, if you are after any fish whose
mouths are full of teeth, you can leave the extra
treble on.
With regard to colours, of course this is largely
a matter of choice, but personally 1 alwavs lean to
as silvery a one as possible, especially7 blue or green
and silver. A very excellent imitation fish, is the
" wagtail" made by two or three makers, they
spin most beautifully, last well and are cheaper
than the ordinary phantoms.
To mount dead or live-bait. There are many
and various devices for the former all of which
have tfre advantage of enabling you to mount your
bait quickly. The worst of most spinners is that
they are too formidable, and if you are using a small
fish as bait there is too much frame-work and too
little fish. Still that cannot be helped, and after
all the fish do not appear to t*ake notice of the fans.
Plate XXII, Fig. 4 shows perhaps one of the
neatest spinrfers—the Coxon. The figure explains
itself, except that the leaded spike is of soft metal
and after insertion the bait can be bent to take any
curve required.    But there are such a vast number
 Plate XXIV.
  Plate XXV.
of spinners made, that most people have their own
favourites, however if a beginner wants recommending to any especially, I think that I may safely say
that none of the three following will in any way
disappoint him. (1) The Crocodile JPlate XXV,
Fig. 1). (2) The Chapman. (3) The Archer. When
ordering your spinners out from home, remember to
specify that they shall be especially mounted for
Mahseer, since if sent out as ordinarily mounted, the
hooks will be utterly useless for most Indian fish.
If you will be content to take a little time
mounting your bait, a neat and effective way
is as follows (Fig. 3, Plate XXIV) : Take a
good-sized treble hook and mount it by binding
without knots—on a snood of stout gut or
Hercules wire of 1 foot in length. Make the
usual loop at the other end, also by binding. Then
ship the loop through the eye of a baiting needle, so
that you have your snood threaded on the needle.
Pass the needle in at the anus and out through the
mouth of your bait, and draw the collar through
carefully till you have the shank and one point of
the treble hook embedded in the fish. Then remove
the needle and with a needle and black cotton,
which you should have handy, sew up ' the bait's
mouth. And when the fish are very shy and canny,
I often use a large single hook with a small eye.
Mount this neatly with a single strand of Killin
wire. Then having laid the shank of your hook
along the small fish to measure so that the eye
of hook shall come in bait's mouth, mark just
where the baiting needle  is to enter.    Then thread
the fish on to your mount, you will find that
the hook goes in easily enough with a little
humouring. Now the eye of hook should be in
the bait's mouth. Sew up the mouth passing the
thread through eye of hook at the same time. Then
tie a piece of stout white cotton round the body
just where the bend of hook emerges; cut off all
ends, and you have a small bait mounted about as
neatly as it is possible to mount one. And while
on the subject of mounts, Messrs. Luscombe of
Allahabad have patented an exceedingly neat
Chilwa tackle, full particulars of which can be
found in their catalogue.
ff you want to fish deep you must weight your
bait. The best way of doing this is to use a minnow
mouth lead. Failing one of these, put as much
lead as possible in the bait's mouth, and sew it up.
If more weight than this is necessary, you must lead
your line at 18 inches or 2 feet away from the bait,
but the disadvantage of this is that it makes it more
difficult to cast neatly and effectively. When using
a bait mounted like this it-is an advantage to have
a buckle swivel at the end of one's trace.
A good live-bait flight, a rough imitation of
Parsons' (as mentioned in the Chapter on Mahseer),
is made as follows (Fig. 3, Plate XXII) : mount a
single hook on a stout collar of gut 2 feet long.
Then prepare your lip hook. Take an. eyed hook
and bind with waxed silk a very small loop of wire
or .gut on the shank, so fixed as to lie on the back of
the shank, away from and opposite the bait.
Then take  your collar with  the  mounted  hook
and pass the free end through the loop on (ip-hook;.
take two turns round the shank of lip4iook and
then pass out through the eye. Finish off your
collar with a loop as in an ordinary collar. Now
you will find by a little manipulation you can move
the lipnhook up or down, though it will not slip
from any direct strain. Fix your body-hook first,
as per illustration, and then having adjusted your
lip-hook so that the bait will not be curved, pass
the bait gently through the upper lip of your bait.
And your flight is ready for use.
This way of mounting is however only suitable
for baits of *air size, for small fish a hook passed
through the skin of hack—as laid down for Megalops
--"-is better. The Jardine Patent live^bait tackle, if
especially7 mounted for Mahseer is excellent in every
wayr and is perhaps the simplest of all to use. The
illustration, Fig. 3, Plate XXV, sufficiently explains
itself, and also its use is explained in Chapter III
under liverbaiting for Mahseer.
Now a gaff is not very often needed in India.
For renjiarks, on the use of one, see also the next
Chapter. However if you have one you will often
find it useful as a stick when wading* or when
walking over rocky ground. In that case have ft
good solid shaft 5 or ° feet long, and either have
a protector or a fair sized cork over the point. Also
a gaff occasionally comes in useful if your spoon
gets caught in a snag in fairly shallow water.
There   are numberless   gaffs  on the  market, teles-
copic and otherwise, but in this country a good
stout shaft with a sharp strong hook is all you
want. The handle can be made hollow to hold a
spare top ; this is useful sometimes, but with much
wading the spare top stands a chance of becoming
warped; while the shaft cannot be so strong as if
made of solid bamboo.
One does not see landing nets used in this country
as much as they might be. There is no doubt
that they are exceeding useful things, and many a
fish that gets away might have been saved if one
had used a good strong landing net. If you get a
landing net, it is best to get a large and powerful
one, the biggest salmon net, since it is better to
have too big a net for your small fish, than too
small a net for your big one. Certainly it is better
with a Mahseer to run him on to a shelving beach
if one is handy, but often one is fishing from a boat
or a rocky bank, and'there are no real facilities for
bringing your fish into shallow water, and then a
net is useful. And there must be few men who
can say they have never lost a fish through a bungle
in landing him. I remember one nice Mahseer of
about 30 lbs., that was hooked and brought right up
to the bank, at the only place possible which was a
small rocky bay with about 8 inches of water; on
he came with his head right out of water on to the
bank, then the shikarri made a bungle in landing him,
and he gave p. piunge, the trace catching a sharp
corner of rock parted, and then a large fish splash-
ing furiously, and three frantic men grabbing a
slippery side, the end—a vision of a gleaming silvery
flank slowly and wearily rolling away out into the
stream. One's feelings on such an occasion are
indescribable. With regard to how a net should be
used I must refer you to the next Chapter.
Now a special kettle for one's live-bait is really
rather an unnecessary luxury in this country, since
the common chatty fulfils all requirements so well.
Still a nice bait kettle has good points which the
chatty lacks, so that if you can afford it get one by
all means. There are numerous kinds on the
market; a very nice one is the " Field " bait kettle
which has a small bellows in the handle to enable
one to aerate water at will. Also inner perforated
can takes out and can be placed in the stream or
tank. Three advantages a good bait kettle possesses over the humble yet homely chatty, (i) It is
more portable and less breakable. (2) The water
can be better aerated. And (3) you can select
and pick out the little fish you want easily, also can
see and throw away the dead ones, without an
attendant having to grope about with his hand in
hidden depths, only to inform you suddenly that
there are no more live-fish left!!
And a casting net is sometimes a useful thing to
have with one, only if you do carry one about it is
as well to know how to throw it oneself.    Since if
you want bait in any spot so out of the way, that
local fisjjermen with nets are not to be met with,
then you Can hardly expect to find skilled casters
there either. A net can usually be picked up from
some native fisherman for a couple of Rupees or so,
and you should get him to give vou a Tew lessons.
They7 look so delightfully easy to throw, but for all
that you will find that you will tie yourself and the
net into some awful knots hefore you are. much
good at it. It was many a long day before I made
my first capture, and that was only a frog, who
croaked derisively at my look of disgust, as I strove
to disentangle him from the wet and slimy meshes.
This is a most useful implement, in fact it is
almost a necessity, especially when one wishes to
extract a hook, well fixed in the mouth of one of
the siluridae. A good one can be bought separate,
the best idea however is to have a disgorger in
one's knife. -
Perhaps the most generally useful knot for fastening the running line to traca or cast is as shown in
Fig. 2, Plate XXIV. Still some prefer the plain
knot without the bow, this however generally means
cutting the line to undo after fishing.
An4 w>w as to what outfit may be recojwmepd£ii
to  a  beginner.    This  is   a   most, difficult  question
since so many factors come into play. The beginner may be a soldier who will probably travel al
over India, getting all sorts and conditions of fishing ;
or he may be a business man tied to one of the
great cities like Bombay or Madras ; in any case
I will assume*^ that he is not a rich man, since if a
man has money enough to set himself up regardless of expense, you may be sure that he has been
able to buy his experience long.before this humble
volume would fall in his way. Still again to the
poor man I would say—Buy good tackle, the best
that you can afford, as cheap articles in fishing spell
disaster more surely, than in almost any other form
of sport. The prices I will take from a well-known
English tackle maker's catalogue—Messrs. Hardy
Bros.—I hold no brief for them, biit in common
fairness I take from their list ; as, though I have
dealt with them for a long time, never yet have
they disappointed me, nor have one of their articles
failed me in use, and that is a testimonial that one
can seldom give now-a-days unfortunately, in this
age of haste and bustle. I only give a small estimate, enough to commence with, as nothing grows
with experience so quick as a man's stock of
fishing tackle.
1. One 14 feet greenheart rod, 2 fly tops and
1 shorter top for Mahseer, Carnatic Carp,
etc.    Best quality, about    ...
2. One 10 feet greenheart fly rod,  2 tops, for
lesser flytakers
3. One   10-11  feet   rod, for bottom fishing,
£ 0-15-0 to
£  s. d.
A. One 4^ inches metal reel (a Silex costing
45/- is a perfect joy if one can afford it),
for rod No. 1     ... ... ...       1 10    0
B. One 2| inches metal reel, for rods 2 and 3.      0 12    6
40 yards Manchester spinning line, sign 64,
spliced to 80—100 yards strong backing
line, for reel A, about    ...       0 15    0
40 yards trout line, for reel B, „ ...       0    6    0
40 yards" Manchester line, sign 84, or
40 yards Tussa line, for bottom fishing,
about      0    6    0
4 two   inches   gilt   and   silver   spoons,
■with flying mounts ... each      0    2    3
4 one-and-a-half-inch    gilt    and    silver
spoons, with  flying   mounts    ... each      0    19
4 one inch - '   ditto „ 0    16
N.B.—These could be made up according to directions
given elsewhere in this book, for considerably less than
one half the above prices.
4 traces (No. 2) Hercules wire, or 4
medium Punjab wire traces, each      0    16
2 medium     salmon    gut     traces,-   each
£0-2-0 to      0    3    0
3 „ „ „        casts, ditto
3 fine trout   gut   casts, each   £0-0-6 to      0    1    0
6 Blackamoor  flies,   on  Nos.   5   and   6
Limerick hooks, dozen £0-5-0 to      0    8    0
1 dozen    assorted   midget     flies,     dark
colours dozen      0    16
4 crocodile spinners, assorted sizes, for
spinning natural baits, mounted for
tylasheer, each £0-2-0 to      0    2    9
£   s. d.
1 dozen eyed treble hooks, assorted sizes,
say— 6, 8, 10's
1 dozen   eyed   Limericks,  assorted sizes.
1 dozen swivels,  German  silver,  mostly
No. 5's
1 good  fisherman's knife with disgorger,
£0-5-0 to
1 pair pliers with wire cutter, say
1 spring balance, weighing up to 30 lbs.,
1 dozen assorted Simplex leads, „
2 Nottingham floats ... „
2 Detective floats                  ...               „
1 good stout gaff ...    £0-5-0 to
1 good collapsible salmon net, £0-10-6 to
1 fly book ... ...    £0-5-0 to
1 tin box for tackle ...   £0-7-0 to
0    1    0
Now of the articles mentioned above, some
could be cut out altogether by the beginner, such as
net and gaff; others could be got cheaper if desired ;
second quality goods if got from a reliable maker,
will generally quite suffice for the beginner, only
that if a man is keen on fishing he may as well start
with the best if he can afford it, since if careful of
his tackle it will last and satisfy him when he is no
longer a novice; whereas if he had not got the best
at first, he would soon begin to hanker after the
more perfect articles, as his experience becomes
enlarged. Needless to say, every novice has to buy
his experience, sometimes dearly, if no kind mentor
is at hand to help and advise. He may arrive with
his stock of tackle at some river where the Carnatic
carp are taking freely, and lose all his six flies in
one afternoon, and then how he will bemoan his
fate that he had not brought two dozen; or again
he may commence in one of those extra snaggy
little rivers of the Western Ghauts, and lose all his
traces in two days. These things do happen.
But-perseverance is necessary, festina lente, buy
here, make up there, and the day will come when
you may sally forth for a 2 months' fishing trip,
assured that you can tackle all and every fish you
may meet, and that your supply of tackle will equal
the demand.
If going on a trip, or anywhere away from the
shops, you will find all or any of the following
things useful:— \
Cobbler's wax.
Thin silk for fine work in whipping and binding.
Stout silk for repairs to rods, etc.
Some copper wire.
A bottle of shellac varnish  (thin).
One  or   two  good pairs  of  pliers (with  wire
cutter combined).
A good pair of scissors.
A small tube (oil) of red paint for floats, etc.
A piece of emery paper.
Some brass wire  (one or two  coils of varying
A good knife  with  disgorger,  fly tying pliers,
scissors, etc.
Several spare hooks of assorted sizes.
Several swivels.
Several   snake rings, or best of all   "Bridge"
Spare baiting needles.
Some ordinary needles.
A reel of cotton.
A small quantity of mercury, and a  couple  of
lemons (for use as mentioned later on).
Did I mention how much line you should have on
your reel ?    I believe I-did. anyhow here it is again.
Generally,   if   you   do  not   expect   fish  of   over
10    lbs.,   75   yards   should   be   enough,  but   have
100 yards   to    be   safe.    This   allows  of   spinning
from   a   boat with  50   yards   out,  and   plenty   to
spare if the fish rushes down the pool.    In any case
150 yards should  be enough for any fish.    He must
be a monster, or the water very much against you,
if you cannot stop or turn a fish with that amount
on your reel.
Should he run out all your line lower your point
and hold on, its the final tug; he may break you,
if he doesn't the probability is then that he will be
Personally I would advise you to order your
tackle out from home, as it comes far cheaper in
the end. Deal with some good shop and stick to it.
It is perhaps invidious to say any are better than
others. One whom I deal with and have • always
found satisfactory is—
Hardy Bros., of Alnwick.
Fallow, The Strand, j
Carter & Co., Islington.
Little, of Haymarket.
Alcock, of Redditch.
Mallock, of Perth.
A. & N. Co. Society, Limited,
are all well known shops.
Out in this country there are several shops who
supply tackle ; notably—
Luscombe, of Allahabad.
Manton, of Calcutta.
Oakes & Co., Ld., of Madras.
Scott, of Pindi.
Biswas, of Calcutta (now  called Calcutta
Armoury Company).
Rodda, of Calcutta.
Murray, of Naini Tal.
Treacher, of Bombay, and
A. & N. Co. Society, Ld., Bombay.
And remember always   buy good tackle, it does
not pay  buying cheap hooks,   swivels, gut, etc.    If
you really fish to catch fish, it is worth doing the
thing well.
And a useful thing to have is a good box, made'
up according to any design that you may lancy,
to hold all your tackle—in fact everything you
possess in the fishing line, except of course your
rods—and for them you should have a separate
box made of wood, or of canvas or leather like a
gun case. Have your tackle box made amply big,
with divisions for reels, flights, spoons, casts,
phantoms, leads, floats, repairing outfit, etc., have
a place for everything a&& everything in its place;
 and you will find that a small initial cost and trouble
will well repay you after, in saving your tackle
from the inevitable deterioration that sets in, when
tackle is all bunched up together, here, there and
everywhere in odd places. It is so useful too on a
trip, you know exactly where everything is, and
can lay your hand on anything at a minute's notice.
An excellent tip of Mr. Thomas' which I always
follow, is to have a compartment labelled " Sick,*'
and into this goes every spoon, fly, cast or other
tackle, that shows the least sign of wear, all to be
tinkered up again at leisure when the trip is over.
And a last piece of advice I would impress on
you. It is good advice, not the sort you listen to
and agree with and mean to ignore all the time
No you will fully intend to carry out this advice,
but at first you will find it very hard despite the
best intentions. It is to see at home that all your
tackle is quite up to the mark. Test everything;
line, traces, casts and snoods on spoons and flies.
How often after a good soaking, I have tested a
nice looking gut cast, and it has broken then I
mended it and it has gone again somewhere ; once
more mended and tested and passed as fit. After
each mend you will find yourself testing it more
gently, kinder sorter praying that it will hold this
time, but you must test it fairly, it's better to go on
breaking, breaking at home though it breaks your
heart, than to see perhaps your one rise of the afternoon, taking away one of your best salmon flies to
its lair, to say nothing of his warning all the other
fishesy that fly diet is unwholesome for the day.
 CriAPf ER XV.
A MAKESHIFT running ring for the top of your
**• rod can be made of a good stout piece of brass
wire. Take two turns round a pencil, and cut off
the ends level, and there you have your ring.
Occasionally if you have had bad luck you may
find yourself running out of spoons, and will then
have to make up some as best you can out of
materials available. Do not use all the spoons out
of your tiffin basket, as one man did. He caught
something besides fish when he got home, and his
wife found out. Hammer them out of any piece of
tin or brass available, and then silver them over.
This you can do very well for temporary use by
means of the quicksilver and lemon mentioned
before. You can buy the former in most bazaars in
India; it is generally sold in a small nut shell, the
hole stopped up with wax
Squeeze a few drops of lemon into a- saucer and
then pour in a small amount of mercury. Wet the
spoon with lemon juice, and rub in mercury7 with
your finger till it " takes." Make as thick a
coating as you like, and then dry the spoon on a
piece of rag and polish with chamois leather. This
is an excellent makeshift in the way of silverplating,
only it tarnishes and wears off after a time.
Remember when you are using mercury to remove
any gold ring you may be wearing, as mercury
tarnishes gold.
To prevent hooks, etc., rusting, a good plan is to
dip them into thin shellac varnish, and then hang
them on a string to dry.
To preserve flies, when put by; keep in a
tin box with napthaline, camphor or other strong
To keep gut, when put by; wrap in wash-
leather and put in a tin box. When taking it into
use again, if the gut has been put bv a long time,
do not suddenly plunge it into water to soak it, but
let it get soft gradually between the folds of a damp
Always hang your rods up on a dry wall in their
covers in preference to leaving them about leaning
in corners.    Do not tie the covers up too tightly.
See that your reel runs freely, and that the screws
are all tight before starting fishing.
To use your landing net, place a small stone in
it to sink the bag, and when you have -got the fish
in it do not try to lift him out or you will strain
your ring. Pull him up with the handle more or
less perpendicular,
The Gaff.—How to use a gaff ? is a question
some novices may ask. You will very seldom
want a gaff with Mahseer. It is much better if
you can play your fish into shallow water, to let
one of your attendants get behind the fish and lift
him out by the gills. But there may be occasions,
such as playing a big fish from a boat, when you
must use a gaff. In a case of this sort remember
that a Mahseer's scales make him like an armour-
plated cruiser, and that if you try to gaff him in
the side, in nine cases out of ten the point will
fail to penetrate. Get the gaff well below and
under him (in the case of a Mahseer) and with a
sharp jerk, pull it into the fish's belly. In the case
of other fish—-not carps—put the gaff over (or under)
as preferred and jerk it into him. If put over in the
case of the carps, the point is more likely to catch
a scale than if put under.
In walking with your rod put together remember
always to have the butt to the front (except going
through jungle), if you then trip and fall, your rod
may escape damage. If carrying it the other way,
your top is almost certain to go to glory.
Should you find that your rod joints have stuck,
when you come to take the rod apart, do not try
to force them; generally by warming oyer a flame
for a minute or two, they will come apart. And
remember that the joints should always be kept
greased—tallow or common suet is a good things
vaseline has a tendency to oxidise.    ^^^^
If you catch a tree, or a rock in the river, lower
your rod and pull from the reel; if something has
to go, better a hook or your collar than the rod top.
Don't try switching with the rod, the strain put on
the top is immense.
And occasionally when you have on a good-
sized fish, he will adopt.the exceedingly annoying
manoeuvre of sulking. Then the question is, what's
to be done ? Should the water be shallow enough
and the current not too swift, it is sometimes
possible for your attendant—if clever—to wade in
and dislodge the fish with the gaff handle. But
generally this plan is not leasable, and vou must
fall back on heaving in rocks, cussing and the following dodge. Take any stone weighing a few ounces,
and tie a piece of cord tightly round it (a conical
bullet is a good thing to use if you have one with
you) leaving the two ends of your cord fairly long.
Then get some one to hold your rod and keep the
strain on, while you tie the ends of the cord in a
loop round the running line, and start the weight off
so that it runs down the line and trace on to the
fish's nose.    Very often this will rouse him.
Splicing Lines.—Many men think that if they
break or cut their running line they have spoilt it
altogether. But you can splice it just as strong as it
was before, as follows : Carefully unpick with a pin
the last ^--inch of both ends. Brush the strands out
fine. Then wet and roll the strands with your -
finger so that there are two ^-inch points to each
end. Place the 4 points together—the illustration
(Fig. 3, Plasfee XXIV) will explain feetter than
words—roll neatly, anal then bind tightly with well-
waxed silk, and finally put a coat of varnish on.
Line Dressing.—Take 2 pints linseed oil, \ lb.
of beeswax and 2 oz. of India-rubber cut vep fine.
Boil this mixture, stir .well, and allow to cool
slightly. It smells !! When still warm, place your
line in it to soak for some time. Then take out and
pull it through your fingers, carefully taking off all
surplus oil. Them hang out to dry. This drying
5viiif take at least a fortnight, so you must dress
your lines at some time when you will not need to
use them. Keep the mixture for future use in a
tightly-stoppered bottle. This mixture is also very
useful for touching up canvas boats if they leak.
Brush it on well with a fair-sized brush If there is
any hurry for your line or boat, you can add a
certain proportion of "litharge" (say 12 ozs.) to
the above mixture ; this makes it dry very quicklv.
Another line dressing is as follows :—Take half
a pint boiled linseed oil, and half a pint Copal
varnish. Mix well, then soak line thoroughly.
Take out and remove surplus dressing with a dry
cloth.    When quite dry repeat the operation.
Now you will find that passing the line through
your fingers to take off the surplus dressing is an
exceeding messy job, so here is a plan you may
find worth adopting. Take a fair-sized tin, say
a big jam tin, and put your line to be waterproofed
in this nicely arranged in coils. Near the top of
the tin make neatly a small round hole, just large
enough for the line to pass through and no larger.
Now pull through about one foot of line. Then
pour in your mixture, taking care not to let it reach
quite up to the hole. After it has soaked sufficiently
make one of your servants hold the tin tightly with
one hand, and with the other let him humour the
line immersed in the mixture so that it uncoils
evenly. Yourself take hold of the one foot of clean
line and start drawing the line from the tin, its
passage through the small hole will take off all
surplus dressing far more neatly than you could yourself do it with your fingers. Then fasten the line
between two trees, or on a large wooden framework to dry.
If float-fishing, you will very often find that
there is too much wind for you to see your float.
The natives have a very neat way of getting over
^his difficulty, and one which we can adapt to our
rods and lines as follows : Take a very thin length
of bamboo 3 feet long, and at. the thicker end bind
on a sma>ll snake ring, or a loop, as on the detective
Then fix up your rod and line as for ordinary-
fishing and lay it beside you on the bank. Before
fas-teniiig the gut cast to running line, however,
pass the end through the loop on bamboo, and then
tie as usual. Leave your rod lying on the bank,
and take the thin bamboo as if it was a small rod,
and having plumbed the depth carefully so that the
 bait just rests on the bottom, take two turns of the
gut round the very fine end of bamboo, and with
your finger hold the gut steady where it passes
through the loop at the thicker end. You are now
holding your float,—or rather its equivalent—in
y7our hand.
Watch the very fine point of the bamboo, and by
any7 jerks or twitches it receives you will know of
bites below. Strike hard, and with the whole arm.
The fine bamboo will only bend not break. If you
get into a fish, let go your bamboo, and take up
your rod to play him. The two turns which you
took with the gut round the bamboo point will
unwind themselves, and the loop on the other end
being large enough for the gut to pass through
freely the bamboo will slip down and not interfere
with the reeling in of the fish. This method of
fishing is only recommended when the waves are
such as to make float-fishing quite hopeless.
Paste-baits—not mentioned in Chapter IX. For
larger Carps; Atta (flour) well mixed up with Huldi
(Turmeric) ; or Atta well mixed with grated cheese.
Or again as follows:—Take some rice with the
husks on and pound up fine, then stir in a saucepan
with one tablespoonful of ghee, and heat; when
nicely scented take out and miji with some groundnut, which should have been first roasted and well
pounded up.
And another paste-bait, which I think is almost
my favourite for Mahseer or any kind of Carp in
coloured  water.     It   was  taught  me   by   a  most
 sporting Lance-Corporal, and is simple, clean and
smells all powerfully. Flour and bran well pounded
together into a paste and strongly scented with
aniseed.    Cotton wool or not according to taste.
Ground-bait.—In all float-fishing one of the simplest and best ground-baits to use is "Bran." Soak
a little till thoroughly wet, and .then throw it around
your float. It will sink immediately. Another good
bait is as follows : — Fry some khulli or oil-cake till
nicely scented, and then mix with bran. In rainy
season, when using worms as bait, use chopped up
worms and bran as ground bait.
If you are hard up for gut; buy some of the
Bainy fibre (called Tungoos in South India) which
the native fishermen use. It is very cheap and
very strong, and seems less easilv cut through
than gut. It is extremely brittle, however, when
dry, and wants to be soaked for several hours
before knotting or bending it.
To preserve dead baits; there are times that
you may require to do this, knowing that at the
place you intend to visit, there is generally a
difficulty in procuring natural baits. For this
purpose the following solutions are recommended:
(i) Strong salt and water; (2) Methylated spirits;
(3) Acetic acid—1 part acid, 2 parts water; (4)
Formalin—a 2 % solution, i.e., 1 part formalin, 49
parts water. Now of the above; as far as my
experience goes,  (4) is quite the best.    No. (1) is
only temporarily effective; while No. (3) utterly
disatppLoiritedme. But for those wifchia reach of a
Chemist, I will give an excellent ippeparation.
Formalin—1 oz. Glycerine—5 oz. Rectifiedsphlkt
—5 oz. Distilled water—9 oz. The above was kindly
i worked out for me by an interested doctor, and is
quite the best preserving solution that I ha-xie come
across. It keeps the baits tough .and not too hard,
preserves the colours and has not too sJfcsong an
By the way the 2 % solution of formalin is a good
thing'to use   to keep   meat  fresh  in  hot weather*.
Just brush the raw meat over with solution, and k
will remain fresh for a  much  longer  period  than
Some .men say that it is a pity rfi&lafes .don't give
trophies, like horns, claws, etc. Well, you .can get
one or .two trophies from big fish.
The gill plates of a large Mahseer can be made
up into Menu-cards, or memo, tablets, as penjcjdi
marks on them will wash off quite easily.
Then the scales. Take several, immerse in boiling water, and ciean well. They make excellent
"name cards" for a dinner party ; if slightly stained
with red ink, the^re^ult is rather like a piece of pink
mother-o'-pearl. The natives ako use the scales of
big Mahseer, as playing cards, in some part of India.
The large teeth in the ithroats- of bigger 'Carp
make quaint paper-weights.-etc*
Cut off the tails of big fish, pin out till dry,
varnish well a»d rrtoont on a boarrl, and threy make
qeite nice trophies to remind you of by-gone battles.
This sounds all right, but you'll find you'll never
do it!
Or stuff a fish. This is rather a business, and I
would refer you to the instructions laid down in
that excellent book " The Rod in India."
To clean the teeth and gill plates,—boil them in
And keep a diiiry on your trips, both fishing and
shooting. It is always interesting to refer to, and
it is a pleasure to write up after a real good day ;
while, after a real bad day, well, there is nothing
to write.    The following form is recommended :—
Jungoo ! Mahseer.
Reach   Mahseer.   39
above    j
bungalow        „ 8
2" gilt spoon    Weather cloudy,
natural   bait, river  fairly  high.
Natural bait. | River low & clear,
had no boat so
fished from bank
and by wading.
G.S. Spoon 2"
2 miles up Carnatic
stream.       carp.
4  Alexandra Fly:
Live grasshopper.
On 18th a heavy
the river became
till 23rd.
In the Remarks column enter any details that
may be of interest, such as weather, state of water,
time he took to land, male or female, etc., etc.
At the end of the book are a few pages ruled for
diary, etc., which may be'found, useful.
And if you are a keen sportsman may I recommend you one more form of diary to keep ? To
save you trouble there are a few ruled pages at the
end of this book. The form is as given below, and
is for the purpose of noting down any information
one may hear about different spots. It often comes
in useful, not only to remind oneself, of good places,
but to tell one's friends that are going to new.
stations that such and such a place is worth trying ;
and it also helps to improve one's knowledge of the
geography of India ! !
How got at
On whose
. had. •
Mysore station
by road.
to Chettanhalli,
B. 10 Miles.
Hbt weather
to Hampapur,
B. 9  Miles. ^
Sambhnr; &
Mahseer in
B. 16 Miles.
for fishing.
to Kakankota,
B. i3 Miles.
Total 48 Miles.
For weighing fish a Salter's spring balance is useful, and some fishing knives have spring balances
weighing up to 20 lbs. fitted in them. Sa)7, you
catch a 30-lb. fish and have a balance only weighing
to 20 lbs. Take the handle of your gaff or landing
net, and having passed a stout cord through the gills
of your fish, hang him exactly in the middle of the
stick. Make two loo,ps of string, and fasten at each
end of stick, make an attendant hold up one loop,
and lift other with your balance. Double what it
shows. In this case with a 30-lb. fish, it would read
15 lbs.
Say that you get a 50-lb. fish, and have only
a 20-lb. spring balance or a 20-lb. fish with a 7-lb.
balance ; I have known men rack their brains over
what they would do in such a case. There is a
way of surmounting the difficulty. Cut the fish in
half, and weigh the two halves! ! You must
calculate what weight you lose in loss of blood.
Also one last method that is generally fairly
accurate with Mahseer. If you have absolutely
no means of weighing your fish, use the following
Length plus  1/3 length X by girth squared -=- by
1,000 = weight lbs., i.e., a fish 30" long, with girth
of 20" would weigh   as follows:—30  + 10   X 202
40 X 400 *  ,,
-r- 1,000 = 2 2    . =   16 lbs.
And a word as to packing fish.    It may occasionally happen   that  your   fishing  grounds   lie within
fairly easy reach by rail or road of your station, and
you may like to send in your fish to friends, or the
mess. As soon as the fish is caught, it should be
killed and then disembowelled and cleaned out
with dry grass (water should not be used). Then
sprinkle charcoal and salt inside and pack the fish
carefully in long grass, keeping it in the shade till
it can be sent off.
As to the time of year to fish. This so much
depends on the river, its locality, etc. In the North
one may take it that October, November; and then
March and April are the best general months,
though some rivers give good sport in January,
February and December.
In South India from the end of September to the
end of April. All these months are good for fishing,
except just during December or January rains, but
these are uncertain, so you must chance them; also
it is a curious fact that in several South Indian
rivers, the fish will not take, during the middle of the
cold weather, especially is this noticeable when the
wind is from the East. I have heard of places good
for Mahseer in South India even in July and August,
but they are difficult to get at and you must make
up your mind to continuous rain. But as I said
before so much dependVon the locality of the river.
Some of the big Southern rivers, like the Cauvery are
not fishable sometimes till after Christmas ;—1903
was a year for instance when the Cauvery, Cubbany
and many other eastward flowing rivers never
cleared properly till well on in January 1904. Then
the rivers of  South  India  flowing westward down
the Ghauts are in good condition very soon after
the cessation of the monsoon, some of them early
in September, though they are frequently temporarily discoloured by thunderstorms among the hills.
By Christmas time some of them are so low, as to
be hardly worth fishing except in the pools. As
regards tank-angling the best time is supposed to
be the hot weather and the rains, though fish like
murral and lots of the smaller fry appear to take
impartially at &«y time of year.
A good idea is to cut in a scale as follows on
your gaff or landing net handle. It comes in useful
for measuring fish.
2   ft.
And just a word as to your boots. If you get
them very wet do not let your servants put them in
the sun to dry, just as they are, or they will get
hard and crack. But have mutton fat or other
grease well rubbed in, and then put in the sun,
when they will dry nice and soft. Crude castor oil
is also a good thing to use, and it is cheap and
generally procurable in this country.
Also if cheap boots are required for shooting or
fishing, very good patterns are the "Sepoy's" or
"Sowar's" boots, turned out-by two or three
firms in this country. A good plan to adopt with
these  boots,  and  one   that  I  have   always  found
answer well, is when new to soak them for two
days in water, then removing them rub in crude
castor oil freely till the boots are well saturated,
after which put in the sun to dry. This makes the
leather soft and pliable, a great consideration if one
does much wading.
When buying shikar cloth, or flannel for shirting,
to be made up by a dirzi ; it is a good plan before
handing the material to him, to soak it well for a
couple of days in water. This allows the unavoidable shrinking to take place, before and not after
the garments have been made.
Remember if you get your hands very stained
with cobbler's wax or water-proofing mixture ;
ordinary kerosine oil will take it off quite easily7.
Also some of the soaps sold now under the
heading of " Motor sundries" are excellent for
removing grease, etc., from one's hands. "Lasso"
soap is a good article.
To dye gut; often anglers have preferences in the
colour of their gut. It can be dyed as follows:
To make it a blue colour,—moisten the gut in warm
water, and then soak m-arrhixture of blue-black ink
and water. To get a brown tinge,—soak in coffee
lees or strong tea. The depth of colour required in
either case may be obtained both by strength of
mixture, or time given for soaking.
When fishing occasionally examine your gut or
wire snood carefully.    Especially do so in the latter
case if using Hercules wire, as sometimes the
strands will give just above the binding on to the
spoon swivel, and if you continue to use that amount,
the spoon suddenly disappears.
To start and finish off any binding, In starting
lay one end of the waxed thread (or silk) along the
object to be bound, and take half-a-dozen turns
over it Then cut off end. To finish binding,
take a piece of brass or copper wire, and form a
small loop which lay alongside the object to be
bound, and. take the last half-dozen turns over this,
then put free end through loop, pull the two ends
of wire till loop and free end come through, draw
tight and cut off neatly. The illustration, Fig. 4,
Plate XXV, explains both these methods better
than words can do.
Most men know how to splice a broken rod I
fancy anyhow here is a hint or two for the novice.
Cut and smooth the two broken ends till they lie
flat against each other;
If the break is a clean one, and the broken pieces
fit, do not think of cutting them in that case.
Then get some strong fish glue and stick the two
pieces together, binding them roughly but tightly
with a piece of cord. Leave till dry. Then carefully remove the cord a little at a time and bind
the fracture tightly with well-waxed thread,
giving a good margin on both sides of the break.
Finish off neatly and give a thick coat of varnish
over all.
I have before laid stress on the great importance
of drying one's line before putting it away.
Occasionally, however, one may fish on till late,
and then having a long ride or drive home, may
not find it feasable to dry the line before starting.
In that case a good idea is to have an old woollen
sock or flannel bag in which to put one's reel ; drop
the reel in, and drawing off all the wet line, wind
it round and round over the cloth cover.
To twist wire or gut. Take your two or three
pieces of wire according as to whether you want
trace double or treble and proceed as follows—(gut
may be twisted the same way, but must be
thoroughly soaked first). Say vou wish to twist 3
strands of wire. Tie the 3 strands to 3 separate
nails, the nails should stand well out from the wall.
Take a piece of cardboard and cut 3 equidistant
holes in it. Pass the 3 cfree ends of wire through
the holes, and then tie the 3 loose ends together
and fasten to them a fairly heavy weight. Now
you are ready to begin. Get someone to twist the
weight rapidly round, keeping it always moving the
same way, and you yourself gradually raise your
piece of cardboard (which should have been near
the weight to commence) as the wires beneath
it become twisted. This all sounds complicated,
but let anyone try, and its simplicity will at once
become apparent.
In most cases.if you tell them to anneal your wire
in the bazaar before sending it up they will do so,
but often you may buy some in a hurry7, or you find
what you have is not sufficiently pliable; in that
case you can anneal it yourself as follows : Take
your wire, whether brass or steel, and put in a hot
fire, placing the coil so that the heat will be as
uniform as possible over it. When the wire is
thoroughly heated, take out and plunge into a basin
of cold water. I have been told that the wire
should be gradually cooled in ashes or earth ; but I
have tried both ways and the water-cooled wire
has always seemed as strong, besides being if anything more pliable. Care must be taken that the
wire does not get burnt away, as this will happen
if the heat becomes too intense.
And just one last hint ; nothing to do with
fishing you'll say, but still it has to do with fishing
trips, and it is such a useful tip that I must give
it anyway. If going on a 10 days' trip, and you
want to take fresh butter with you, do as follows :
Soak clean muslin in a solution of borax and water,
(roughly say 2 tablespoonfuls of borax to a tea-
cupful of water) and then wrap up each pound
of butter in a moist rag. Even in the hottest
climate it keeps the butter beautifully fresh and
I TNFORTUNATELY this chapter is not as com-
**-^ prehensive as I could wish, but we'll hope
that it is better than nothing. Anyhow it gives the
names of a certain number of places where there are
fish, and should anyone decide to visit a localitv
mentioned herein, he will have a basis to start upon;
and if he makes enquiries among his friends and
acquaintances, will be sure to find someone who
knows the spot personally, and who will be able to
fill in any details he may wish to know. I hardly
touch here on any places in Northern India, since
anyone who intends fishing in those parts, could ask
for no better guide than the Punjab Anglers' handbook. Perhaps the simplest method of giving localities for fishing will be to take rivers in turn, and
starting at their sources to work down towards the
mouth. Of course the places mentioned are not
all, probablv not one half, of the good places for
fishing on the different rivers, they are only the
places known to the—author* or told him by kind
friends ; and if any brother fishermen would supplement the list, it would be a kindly act and much
appreciated. And one last word, on a matter tha't
I approach with some diffidence. I know that I
shall be blamed by some men for giving away pet
places, and to them I would offer my best apologies.
 But I will say this, that I have given away no other
man's pet place that he has told me of, without
leave ; nor have I given away other men's pet places,
that I have heard about, unless I have been to those
spots, and they also have become pet places of mine.
And I have honestly told of every place that I know
of, and have not kept even one single pool back. So
again I ask forgiveness. I do not think that any
really good sportsman will blame me over much ;
fishing is so olfferent from shooting; and while I
would be the last to give away promiscuously any
good jungle or forest reserve, rivers are hardly the
same thing, seeing that after every monsoon the pools
are almost entirely re-populated. Then the easily got
at waters are already well known, and I do not think"
that the less accessible places will be hurt by a few
more keen anglers knowing of them. (And it is only
the keen sportsmen who would make pilgrimages to
such places.) Their very inaccessibility will prevent
their being overcrowded. And one more plea I
would advance. The more fishermen there are out
here and the more good waters become known, then
so much the more will interest be aroused in Indian
fisheries, and one more step will be advanced towards
some sort of adequate protection for the rivers.
For there is ample room in India for every rod angler,
it is not the European sportsman who is to blame for
the rapid diminution of fish in this country, but the
poacher with nets, poison and dynamite who has had
it for too long his own way. And then the more
interest is aroused in fishing, the more chances of
clubs being formed near big stations, and good fishing
assured within easy reach of large centres. But for
the man who hates restrictions and wants to wander
at will far from the haunts of man, fishing where he
listeth, there will remain innumerable places in this
vast peninsula, streams far away in the jungle and
too ungetatable to be controlled by any clubs ; and
with such a man I must say that I am at one ; it is one
of the greatest charms of fishing in this country, the
absolute sense of freedom that comes to one when
wandering by some brawling torrent with the vast
solitude of the jungle surrounding one. But all this
is for one's leave, those delightful periods when one
can get away to the right place at the right t'me ;
but also it is nice to think that when one's leave is
up, one can still get a day or two occasionally with
a rod somewhere in the vicinity of the station you
are quartered in. Well I fear that I have been
unnecessarily prolix. So to commence. Some of
the places noted below, are also mentioned in the
Punjab handbook and Rod in India ; mv reasons for
again mentioning them (those that I do not know
personally) is that my informants tell me that they
are still good for fish; a guarantee that cannot
unfortunately be given to all places at the present
date, however excellent they were, even so short a
time as 2 years ago.
Rises in Coorg and flows into the sea through the
Tanjore District. The Huttur river, a tributary
stream rising near  Mercara joins the Cauvery close
to its source.    Some  very big fish have been taken
out of this stream.
Fraserpet (bungalow) on the Cauvery, some good
water here and lots of Carnatic Carp.
Dindanad, good for Carnatic Carp, is about 56.
miles from Mysore, via Yelwall (B)*9 miles, Bilikere
(B) 16 miles, Hunsur (B) 28 miles, Periypatna (B)
41 miles.
Ramnathpoor, 17 miles above Chinchincuttay (see
below) good road. Fish Mahseer and Carp, there is
a temple here where the fish are fed; fishing is
not allowed in the vicinity of the temple itself, but
no objection is made to fishing some distance either
up or down stream.
Chinchincuttay, 29 miles along a good road from
Mysore. Bullock carts available. There are bungalows at Yelwall 9 miles, Sagarkatte 15 miles, and
Yedatore 21 miles from Mysore. At Chinchincuttay
there is a very nice little 3rd class T. B. right on
the hill overlooking the river. The Cauvery here is
Some i mile above the bungalow it runs a placid
broad stream, then comes a bund, and for one mile
follows a most perfect succession of rapids and pools,
till lower down, the river again settles into the same
broad stream. Just below the bungalow is an old
templej opposite which is a waterfall some 50 ft. high,
with a grand pool and rapid below it, the most
perfect looking water for Mahseer. Unfortunately
when I went there, I had only 3 days' leave, and
found   the  river  hopelessly   coloured  by  a  heavy
* B—Bungalow of sorts.
thunderstorm. But I have heard of good bags having
been made there and the natives assured me that
there were big fish, which must be the case, since
the Cauvery is full of fish both above and below this
place, and such perfect water could hardly lack
tenants. Chinchincuttay is also a practically deserted village, so is not likely to be much poached.
Hardly any supplies to be got except from Yedatore
8 miles distant.
Some 12 miles below Chinchincuttay the Hema-
vutti joins the Cauvery from the north, and another
4 miles down the Lahtsmanthirtha runs in from the
south. At Hunsur (T. B.) 28 miles from Mysore,
on this latter stream. I have heard of Carnatic Carp
being caught, but do not know that the fishing is
much good.
Seringapatam.—There is a convenient waiting
room at the station, also a T. B. some 2 or 3 miles
away. The station itself lies inside the fort, the
Cauvery dividing into two channels here, and sweeping round on each side. The fishing seems indifferent
though the water itself looks excellent in places. I
have never heard of Mahseer being caught here, but
have, heard of good bags of carp being made, and
have myself caught Carp up to 4 lbs. The river is I
fancy very much poached to provide fish for the
Mysore market, only some 10 miles away. There is
a good run opposite a temple and below the railway
bridge spanning the east branch of the river, and there
are one or two goooTruns below the road bridge over
the west branch and down near a house known I
believe as   " Scott's bungalow."    Coracles   can   be
obtained here to fish from, and are necessary to reach
the better rapids near the bungalow above mentioned.
Sivasamudram.—About 20 miles from Maddiar
station. Here are the Cauvery falls and some excellent Mahseer water. The difficulty is I am told to
find the water clear. There are I believe some
enormous fish below the falls. D. P. W. inspection
bungalow here well fitted with furniture, crockery,
servants, etc.; permission to occupy it must however
be got from the Engineer-in-Charge of the Power
Works. About 5 miles below the falls the Shamsha
river runs in from the north, at the junction the
water should be worth trying, and also the Shamsha
river itself to where there is a waterfall some 3 miles
Then there are some falls that I should much like
to try, or hear of some sportsman trying, but about
the place I can get absolutely no information. The
falls lie 12 miles down from Sivasamudram, and one
mile below them the Arkavati river joins from the
north. The best way to these falls would appear
to be from Closapet railway station, to Kankan-
halli (T. B.) 15 miles, thence to Kodihalli village 10
miles, and another 6 miles to Uyamballi village.
This latter place is 6 miles again from the river, but
whether falls are accessible from here I know not.
Hoginakal, better known by the name of Smoking
Rock from the spray caused by 5 waterfalls made by
the Cauvery here, where it runs through a gorge in
the hills. It lies 46 miles from Morappur station on
the Madras Railway. At Dharmapuri, 17 miles is a
T. B.—-in a chronic state of untidiness-^and at Pen-
nagaram is a Forest hut, to occupy which permission
should first be obtained from the D. F. O., Salem. Up
to Fennagaram there is a good made road, from there
onwards only a cart track, down the ghaut 10 miles
to the river. At Hoginakal there is a chattram for
Hindus and an old temple, nothing else; so that tents
and all supplies must be taken with one. About a
quarter oi a mile down stream through the jungle, a
rough track leads one to a clearing with some big
trees, which forms a good spot for a camp. The
scenery here is very fine, as the surrounding hills
are all covered with jungle, and the whole Cauvery
river runs—in the dry season—through a gorge some
12 ft. across and immensely deep. The fish are Mahseer, Carnatic and Malabar Carp, Goonch, Wallago
Attu,-Murral and others; but at some seasons of the
year the Mahseer seem to vanish entirely. The river
is only fishable after January (when the waters
have subsided sufficiently to clear) till the middle
of April, after which date, thunderstorms in Mysore
cause the river. to colour so much as to render it
unfishable. Being . in a hollow the place is
tremendously hot in March and April. The whole
country is jungle, in which 0 are a number of
pea-fowl, jungle-fowl and partridges; also sambhur
and small deer higher up the river. A license
to shoot however is necessary and can be obtained
on payment of a fee of Rs. 10 from the D. F. O.,
Salem. For the opposite side of the river a second
license is required from the D. F. O., N. Coimbatore.
There is a small colony of fishermen living here,
who catch enormous  numbers of Chilwa and small
fry ; also certain number of Goonch and freshwater
Shark by live-baiting. These they salt. They own
2 or 3 coracles, but the river here is not wide
enough to make a boat necessary.
Sholapadi, 28 miles from Salem station. To
Womalur (T. B.) 8 miles is a good made road, from
here onwards however the road is nothing but a
cart track of the worst description, up hills, through
streams and marshes and generally very rocky. A
large Village—Maichary—lies halfway, the inhabitants are very obliging and will help one all they
can. No accommodation or supplies at Sholapadi;
there are some nice rapids here and good water for
Mahseer and C?rp. The Topoor stream joins the
Cauvery here from the east.
Some miles north of Erode the Bhavani river joins
the Cauvery from the west. At the foot of the
Nilgiris the Bhavani is joined by the Moyar river
which runs along the base of the northern slope of
the Hills, while the Bhavani sweeps round from the
south. The fishing in the Moyar river is from al
I can hear very indifferent, at least it is so the latter
part of its course. Before leaving the hills, by some
falls of great height, it goes by the name of the
"Pykara" river; under which heading an account of
the fishing therein will be . found later on. The
Bhavani also falls far short now-a-days of the
splendid reputation given it by Mr. Thomas.
Whether it is the poaching or some other cause,
the river hardly appears worth making a pilgrimage
to now, unless you should be stationed in Ootacamund or Wellington, whence  you  can drop down
to the higher reaches. At Metapollium is a D. P. W.
bungalow, and at the station a refreshment room.
Coracles too may be hired at Rs. 1-4 per diem.
There are a certain number of Carp near Metapollium
itself, but it is better to push on up the river. There
is a cart road for a few miles, but after that only
a jungle track. The following two places were
recommended to me to camp at, Manaar (the old
fibre works) 18 miles, and Soondaputty7 22 miles
above Metapollium ; and coracles should be taken
up with one from the last named place.
From Ootacamund one can drop down to a good
stretch of water below Manaar; by driving to
Kullakombay (some 10 miles) ; from here, however,
it is a climb of some 3,000 ft. in 7 miles down to the
river. All kit must go by coolies or pack ponies.
After January very hot and feverish.
Then at Attapadi; higher up the river there is
some nice water, only the place is very ungetable.
From Palghat station you can go to Mannarghat
about 28 miles by bullock carts. Here is a T. B.
Then to Attapadi is 12 miles, only foot-path, no
accommodation of any sort and practically no
supplies. There is fair big game shooting also, but
permission to shoot must be got from the owner of
the land, who resides near Mannarghat.
Before leaving this river, I should like to quote
extracts from a report framed by a Sub-Committee
and forwarded to the Committee of the NilgirJ
Game and Fish Preservation Association, in the
yea? 1895*    The report speaks for itself !
We have made careful enquiries as to the necessity
of preserving the fish of these rivers (Bhavani and
Moyar) from a reliable source. Kutti, an old inhabitant of Metapollium, who has for many years
lived on the proceeds of fishing in the Bhavani, and
all of whose sons are now fishermen, states that
the fish are annually decreasing in number and size,
and the wholesale destruction of fish during the hot
weather months, when the river is low and all the
fish are congregated in the pools, is yearly increasing. Troops of men travel up and down the river
taking with them nets of all kinds and descriptions
which they work in conjunction with fixed engines
in the shape of weirs, and they clear out the river
of all kinds and si^.es of fish keeping only the larger
and better ones, and with the indifference of their
class throwing the rest away.
The necessity of preservation is further proved by
the experience of sportsmen who have known the
river for years and who can speak to the fact, that
whereas some 10 years ago grand sport could be
had with the rod the river is now not worth fishing
owing to the scarcity of fish.
  ...The most practical means of effecting
preservation would probably be the imposition of
licenses, but this has been objected to by the Collector of Coimbatore, as interfering with the business
of professional fishermen.
The only other means which suggests itself to us,
is to provide sanctuaries to which some of the fish
could retire during the periods of extreme low
water, and in which fishing of anv sort should be
  In urging the necessity of adopting some
means of preservation to prevent the entire destruction of fish in these rivers, we would like it to be
understood that we are not actuated by any wish to
preserve the fishing of these waters for European
sportsmen, but with the bondr-fide desire to see a
valuable food-supply protected, and in the direct
interest of those who should be chiefly7 interested in
its preservation, but who are as a matter of fact the
chief delinquents. As a matter of fact there are
but few European sportsmen who ever visit these
rivers owing to the difficulty of access and the fever
which prevails all the year round.
Pykara river:—In this river excellent sport may7
be had fly-fishing for Carp. The river is easily got
at from Ooty, the main road to Gudalur and Calicut
crossing it by a large wooden bridge at the 12th
milestone. A good stretch of river mav also be
reached by going to the forest hut just beyond the
8th milestone, whence a 2-mile walk across the
downs brings one to the junction of the Yemekal
stream with the bigger river. Just above the junction is a good run, in a pool below which big fish
are known to lie, and occasionally fishing this pool
one is gratified by a sudden tug and a rush finishing
up with a slack line^and much cussing.
The fish are Carp (Barbus Rosipinnis) and are
handsome fish, red, gold in colour with reddish fins.
As a rule they seem to average about f lb.—this in
hot weather 1905, oftener less than more, but
occasionally fish  of  2 lbs,  and  over   are caught,
I have heard so-called keen fishermen saying that it
was not worth going out to catch such small
fish, but this was the scorn of ignorance, for most
men with whom I have discussed the subject, agree
that it requires almost more skill to make a good
bag of these Carp, than it would to obtain an
equivalent number of trout. They are exceedingly
shy, and it is very little use hammering away on
the chuck and chance its style,—I speak mainly of
the river when it is clear and low, in the rains I am
told that whenever the water clears a bit, they are
much bolder biters. As they generally swim in
shoals, the most successful method is to move
quietly along the bank, and once a shoal is located
to stalk it and drop your flies as daintily as possible
in their midst.
If lucky one or more fish will reward you, but
it is imperative if the shoal is not to be disturbed to
draw away the hooked fish and land him some distance from his fellows. A 10 or n ft. rod is a nice
length, and light tackle is required, trout flies will
answer, dark coloured being the best, though as a
matter of fact all flies seem acceptable to the fish
when on the feed.
However, if I had to pin my faith to a trio, it
would be an Alexandra as tail fly, and a March
brown and Cock - y - bondhu as droppers. Two
excellent natural baits there are for these fish : No. I
a small brown toad found in the swampy spots
where small streams run in, and No. 2 a brilliant
green beetle found generally on rose trees in the
gardens of Ootacamund.    At the  12th milestone is
 a well-fitted travellers' bungalow, furnished with
beds, crockery, sodawater, etc. Just above and
below the bridge fish often lie, and from the bridge
downwards about I mile to some small falls, is all
good water. A few miles further down the river
hurls itself off the Nilgiri plateau, to become the
Moyar river at the base of the hills.
And not the least charm about fishing in this
river, is the scenery along the banks, green turf
with bracken and wild roses, sweet scented
privet, deep colour rodedendrons and less ethereal,
but quite nice—wild raspberries.
In this river I have replaced several marked fish,
and should any reader chance to catch one of these
I should be very grateful if he would note particulars
—vide end of Chapter XIII.
Now to hark back up the Cauvery river into
Mysore. At Narsipur the Cauvery is joined by
the Cubbany which rises in the Wynaad, and flows
through dense jungles for a good deal of its course.
It is a most perfect river to look at, and must
contain some enormous fish, but like all other
rivers that run through Mysore is fearfully poached.
The best place to fish it is at Kakankotta 48 miles
from Mysore, via Chettanhalli (B) 10 miles, Hampa-
pur (B) 19 miles, andxAntesunte (B) 35 miles. Good
road all the way, caps being easily procured at
Mysore. The worst of the Cubbany river is that it
never seems to clear satisfactorily, however some
very good bags have been made in past years at
Kakankotta;  in  1902  two   men  catching   200 lbs.
 weight of Mahseer in one day, biggest fish 60 lbs.;
and a Mr. Van Ingen caught a 64-lb. Mahseer
there a few years ago. A boat is exceedingly
useful there, as the banks are so overhung with
jungle; however a fair amount of fishing can be
done by wading. There are good rapids just above
and just below the bungalow. The Bawalli stream
joins the river 8 miles up, and all the water from
here to some 4 miles below Kakankotta bungalow
is good, only several of the reaches are too broad
and deep to tackle without a boat. The river
holds innumerable Carnatic Carp and small Barils,
which latter afford pretty fishing with a light fly rod.
Also occasional Dags of Labeo, have been made
opposite the bungalow, so I am told. The bungalow which is supposed to be a second class one, is
small and badly fitted up. The whole place is
densely forest clad and there are large numbers of
elephants about. A certain amount of big game is
to be had, but the place seems much poached,
both river and jungle. A few supplies can be got
here, such as eggs, milk, fowls, etc.
Half way between Antesunte and Hampapur, the
Tarcaun river crosses under the road, and 2 miles
further down joins the Cubbany. There is a temple
by the junction, the river here is very broad and
still, and the sands are shaky and it behoves one
to walk warily. There appear to be big fish in the
river here, but it is impossible to fish without a
At Hampapur the river is only f of a mile
distant,   by   a   path   through   the  village.     It   is
however a broad quiet stream here, and does not
entice one to fish. Opposite the Noogoo river runs
in, which I am told is a delightful stream higher up
and full of fish. It is difficult to get at, however,
and I never had the leisure to explore it. There is
a ferry across the Cubbany here.
This river is formed from two rivers, the Tunga
and the Bhadra, which uniting north of Shimoga,
flow on to join the Kistna, east of Raichur.
Unfortunately, both the two rivers flow through
Mysore and have been most unmercifully poached.
All the following places appear good water, and
there certainly are some fish there, though personally I have never done much good myself, and have
been told the same by other men too, and that
the fishing was not worth troubling about. Still for
anyone who may be passing that way on a trip,
they might be worth trying. Shimoga ; Railway
Station (T. B. ist class) on the Tunga, Carnatic
Carp only ; Sakrebail 8 miles (T. B. 3rd class) right
on the river, nice water but fishing indifferent.
Muggers here, also innumerable jungle-fowl and
Malabar squirrels, and very fair big game shooting,
i.e., cheetah, tiger and some bison.
Mandagadda, 2nd class T. B., 8£ miles from
Sakrebail, river ij miles distant.
Malur, about 9 miles on, 3rd class T. B., no good
stopping here but push on to—»-Thirthalle, about 9
miles, 2nd class T. B., and some delightful water,
which would give   excellent fishing if only it was
not so heavily poached.    A deep water hole through
which the river runs here is worth seeing.
Agumbi, 18 miles from Thirthalle, via Megar-
valle (B) about half way. There is a 2nd class T. B.,
nicely situated, and from the top of the Ghauts
11 miles away, a magnificent view can be had of
S. Canara right away to the sea at Allepy. There is
no river here, but in a small tank under the hill
opposite the bungalow, there are—or were—some
. enormous Murral, which used to come up and bask
on the surface during the mid-day hours. Very
thick evergreen jungle  all  round.
Benkipur is on the Bhadra. Railway station
here, and just across the river a T. B. There is a
nice rapid below the railway bridge, and between
the railway and road bridges is also good water.
Fish:  Carnatic Carp.
Between Yedhalli and Lakwalli the road crosses
the Bhadra river by a bridge. Below the bridge and
in the thick jungle I have known of Mahseer being
caught. Here the country is so wild and the
villages so few, that the river really ought to hold '
fish, as even though in Mysore it cannot be so very
much poached.
On the Tungabhadra itself, some 30 to 40 miles
from Kurnool, away in the jungles, I am told there
is excellent Mahseer fishing to be had, but the
places are very difficult to get at without local
knowledge or help from someone who knows the
Then near Hospet, 12 miles distant, is Balahun-
ghi on the Tungabhadra   (Bungalow).    There is a
natural bund here with one very nice run through
it, and I am told there is other nice Mahseer water
Then at Sovainhalli, 2 marches from Balahunshi,
there is a good camping ground on the bank of the
river, and I have heard of Mahseer being caught
here though no very big ones. Ferry across
Tungabhadra here.
Dumbal, some few miles from Sovainhalli, is an
excellent place for black buck, also pig. There is
a large tank where good duck shooting may be had
in the season, and sometimes a few geese may be
added to the bag. There is a small circular pond
fed by the big tank, which used to hold lots of
Near Kistna station, the best water is under
the railway bridge and just above and below.
Higher up the Bhima runs in, but I am told that the
junction is not worth trying. A couple of miles
below the station I hear that there is a bungalow,
and that good fishing is to be had opposite an
island lower down the river. From the station to
Mandipla 12 miles_away on the river. Here there
is a big pool holding sonae very large fish; a boat
From Nundyall station, a road runs N. N.-W. to
the Kistna about 40 miles distant. At about 3
miles south of where it reaches the river is the
junction of the Kistna and Tungabhadra. At-
macoor lies 30 miles north of Nundyall, round here
there is good shooting, and about 15 miles north the
Kistna runs through great gorges and impenetrable
jungles. In these parts I have heard rumours of
monstrous Mahseer, but the river is very difficult to
get at. A road leads from Atmacoor to a place
called Pag, and another track leads from here to
two pagodas on the river 5 miles distant. Also
from Atmacoor a road goes to Mooslemuddoo 10
miles distant, from here a track runs 6 miles due
north to the Kistna. A lot of local knowledge and
help would however first be required by any sportsman thinking of tackling the fishing here.
Yadgiri; railway station with nice waiting room.
The river runs within one mile of the station.
The fish are Mahseer, run large, but are very shy.
A boat is necessary. Cross railway line and take a
foot-path that leads straight to a small temple on
the river bank; below this is a second temple
opposite which is a good run, in midstream. Fifty
yards up a small tributary joins, and the pool into
which it runs holds some very large fish. (N.B.
To anyone casting a long line this pool might be
fished from the bank.) The banks unfortunately
are very soft and one cannot get near the water's
edge in most places. About a mile down stream
are some more fair rapids. The country is all open
and the climate very sultry.
There is good fishing  to be had I am told where
the Muta-Mula joins the Bhima bejow Poona,
The Muta-Mula runs through Poona and holds
Mahseer. Some of the best runs are:—Two just
below the Cavalry lines at Ghorpuri. Then the
runs 4 miles below Loni station ; not the runs just
below the station which are no good. And the
runs at Kowrie—8 miles below the Cavalry ford—
on the Sholapur road.
Then above the bund there are some monsters,
the best lie appears to be between the boat house
and the temple ; the fish however are not often
to be caught except by paste bait, the early morning being the best time.
Kharakwasla lake; 10 miles from Foona, nice
bungalow here (D. P. W.), permission required to
occupy it. There are generally some boats on the
lake, belonging to the boat-club. Troll in a line
between the bungalow and a small mango tree on
the opposite bank. Put on a good-sized spoon 2\
to 3 inches and about 3 oz. of lead some 3 ft. away.
The fish—Mahseer—appear to run from about 10 to
15 lbs. Fair mixed bags have been made, so I was
informed, fishing with paste from the bund. Best
time for fishing during heat of day.
Then near Talegaon station, I have heard of
Mahseer being caught in the Indryani river.
Also 65 miles from Poona, on the Nasik road,
there is a place called Ambi, on the^Mula, a tributary
of the Godavery; here I have caught Mahseer
though none of any great size ; still there is some
excellent water here in October and November, and
the river must hold fair-sized fish I should think.
 •    219
The celebrated Gairsoppa falls are on this river,
about 60 miles from Shimoga. Two bungalows
here : one in Canara, the other in Mysore. Some
good Mahseer water above the falls and the pool
at the bottom holds big fish. The falls themselves
are well worth a visit. Routes : vid Shimoga to
Kumsee (B) 15, Anantapur (B) 30, and Sagar (B)
45 miles. From Kumsee to Falls the road is all
through jungles. Or vid Honavur on West Coast
by boat to Gairsoppa village, about 18 miles from
the Falls. A friend, writing to me only last week
from the Falls, says : " Fish very scarce here, they
say natives poison the river a lot."
Runs into the sea near Mangalore where it is a
broad deep river Higher up it is fed by numerous
tributaries in which good fishing may be had. The
Kemphulle river rises in the Manjarabad Ghaut,
and joins the Kumardhari about 10 miles from
Uppinangadi, at which latter place the Kumardhari joins the Netravutti. To reach this stream.
Arsikere station, 26 miles to Hassan (B), thence 24
miles to Saklaspur (B). Here the road begins to
enter the Ghauts and passes under the old Manjarabad fort on the left. 5^ miles from Saklaspur the
upper waters of the Kemphulle are crossed by a
bridge. The stream is small here, but Mahseer of 2
and 3 lbs. have been caught as high as this.
Another \\ miles brings one to Marnhally bungalow.
Then  8 miles all  down hill  to Kemphulle,  where
there is a forest hut, no village. Here a smail stream,
the Kadmane, joins the Kemphulle river just under
the bungalow, and from this spot down to Gunjia
(B) 7 miles is all nice water, holding Mahseer. At 4
miles from Kemphulle one crosses the boundary7 line
. between Mysore and South Canara. From Gunjia
down to Shiradi (B) about 6 miles, is also good
water. At one mile down the road from Gunjia,
the Cubbinhalli, a big stream, runs in from the
North. Behind Gunjia bungalow, a . road crosses
the Kemphulle (fordable generally November to
May at this point) and runs through thick jungle to
Subramani on the Kumardhari river, where also
good fishing may be had. Most of these streams
clear very7 soon after the monsoon, i.e., about end of
September, and by January are only fishable in
the pools. The Kemphulle river can be got at anywhere from the road between Kemphulle and
Shiradi bungalows. When it is coloured by thunderstorms or heavy rains in the ghauts, the Kadmane
or Cubbinhalli streams can usually be fished, since
coming through dense jungle they appear to remain
always more or less clear. The latter stream
however is a difficult one to fish, without wading
very freely and deeply, owing to the trackless jungle
that lines its banks. The jungles round here hold
numbers of bison, sambhur, pig, etc., a license
however is necessary to shoot either on the Mysore
or South Canara side.
Cicilly, some 10 miles north of Shiradi, is on
another small tributary of the Netravutti. Here
there  is a temple  where  they feed the   Mahseer.
Lower down however, good fishing may be had.
All these jungles are exceedingly feverish from
February till June.
THE KALA-NADI (or Kalinadi).
Further north we come to a network of streams
which all unite eventually in the above named river.
The Kala-Nadi rises in the Ghauts bordering
Portugese territory and runs S.-E. till joined a few
miles south of Hallyal by another big stream the
Tutwal nullah (a bungalow at the junction); then
it doubles back, and running S.-W. debouches into
the sea near Karwar on the West Coast. Holds
Mahseer most of :ts course. Hallyal (B), 7 miles
from Alnavar station, is near the Tutwal nullah.
The Tutwhal bungalow (on the nullah of that
name, and one mile from its junction with the Kala-
Nadi) lies 28 miles, by good road from Alnavar.
There are bungalows at Hallyal (as above) and
Sambrani 14 miles. All round the bungalow at
Tutwhal lies dense jungle—holding tiger, panther,
bison, sambhur, cheetal, boar, etc.—making it rather
difficult to get at the Kala-Nadi. But all the water
that can be reached, is ideal Mahseer water, nothing
but runs and falls, about one mile about the junction
the river falling some 300' in as many yards. Best
time after 15th October.
N.B.—On the road just before reaching milestone 70,
is a blazed tree. Taking this as a start a series of trees so
blazed mark the position of a cleared track to the river,
much overgrown by grass, etc., but still infinitely the
easiest way to the river.
 Then Supa, 17 miles by good road from Londa
station, is at the confluence of the Kalinadi and
Pandri rivers. Small T. B. here. Below the
bungalow is an anicut, and for i|- miles down, the
course of the river lies between two hills and is one
series of rapids and falls, all excellent water.
Then comes a deep still reach which extends for at
least two miles. The river holds Mahseer and
other Carp in large numbers, also innumerable fry.
It does not appear to be much poached, but the
fish are extraordinarily canny and will not look at
artificial baits. There are some good runs about
-§■ mile up the Kalinadi above the junction ; the
Pandri does not appear to be worth fishing, at any
rate not within a mile of the bungalow. There is a
good deal of difficulty here in getting small fish
as bait, as although Chilwa and Barils abound, they
appear indifferent to almost any form of bait, and
casting nets are conspicuous by their absence The
best fishing is to be had when the rivers clear after
the monsoon, at the end of September or the beginning of October.
One mile from Londa station the Pandri and
•Tarwa rivers join ; there are one or two good
rapids near the junction, and 2 miles lower down,
near Astoli (T. B.) there is some good Mahseer
water. Artificial bait seems to meet with but scant
success in these rivers, a neatly mounted small fish
some 4'' long appearing to be the hiost successful
lure These rivers run down very quickly after the
monsoon ceases; they are really at their best for
fishing during  any  break in the rains, which is of
 sufficient duration to allow of their temporarily
The Dushki nullah, runs under the S. M. R. line
one mile east of Castle Rock station. There is a
good run just under the bridge, also another, one
mile down. The banks are densely clad with
jungle, and spinning is difficult in most places.
Curiously in this stream the Mahseer appear to take
a spoon well, though they will not in the Pandri or
Tarwa, nor in the Kalinadi in which all the streams
eventually unite.
The Dushki joins the Pandri some 5 miles south of
Castle Rock station; there should be some good
water below the junction. I have heard anyhow
of a big pool at Junction full of large Murral.
Rises in the Ghauts south of Amboli, and joins
the river Kistna just west of where it crosses
under the Gadag-Sholapur branch of the Southern
Mahratta railway. On the Amboli road, 32 miles
from Belgaum, is Punderi (B) within a quarter mile
of the river, which holds good-sized fish here, also
crocodiles. At 17 miles on this same road is
Tambulwadi (B) where a bridge crosses the Tamra-
parni a tributary of the Gatprahba. This stream
also holds Mahseer and Mugger, and can be fished
from the bungalow. Then 16 miles north of Belgaum,
the oona road crosses the Gatprabha at Sutguttee
(B), and both above and below the bridge are some
good Mahseer pools and rapids. This river however   appears to   take   a   very long time to clear,
Then near Dhupdal station the river forms a lake of
large expanse, there being a big bund here. On
the opposite side of the river is a well found D. P. W.
bungalow. The lake itself hold enormous fish,
but a boat is necessary to troll from. Three-and-a-
half miles down are the Gokak falls—180 ft. high.
In the pool below the fall are Mahseer, Wallago
Attu and other fish, a boat is necessary unless one
fishes in the turbine stream, but as the only path
which leads to the turbine house and pool was
made by the mill authorities, the pool here is more
or less private property and permission should be
asked before fishing in it. Two miles below the
falls, near Gokak village, the Markandya stream
runs in, and about 3 miles up it there is a gorge
and falls with some nice water, but this stream
which rises nfiar Belgaum is almost invariably
badly coloured, owing to the red soil through which
its course lies.
This river runs^through Khanapur, 16 miles south
of Belgaum, and is said to hold Mahseer here,
but for some inexplicable reason it always appears
to be dirty at this point of its course, though clean
higher up and lower down.
Mugutkan Hubli, 19 miles by good road from
Belgaum, is on the Malprabha river. Here there is
a deep reach of the river holding numbers of Carp
and Murral. Unfortunately, however, it is heavily
fished by the natives, who set night lines, frog
trimmers, and use large drag  nets,    At  this place
also are some tanks—said to hold fish—on which
one can get good duck and snipe shooting in the
cold weather.
Then I am told that Mahseer are to be caught in
the Mackunda and other tributaries of the Goda-
very in the Vizagapatam district. Anyone going
to those parts would however soon pick up information on the subject.
Also the Ruskiliya which flows into the sea in
Ganjam district holds large numbers both of
Mahseer and Carnatic Carp.
Again from hearsay7—a far cry to Dhubri on the
Brahmaputra river. Excellent fishing to be had in
the numerous tributaries that join the big river from
the Bhutan frontier.
The Mahseer appear to be monsters there, also
Barilius Bola are numerous. Bison, buffalo, rhino,
all sorts of big game to be got, but country is very
wild and elephants are required for shikar.
About 80 miles above Dibrugarh, the Brahmaputra
or Tsan-po, is joined by several tributaries, in most
of which, notably the Dibang river, excellent
Mahseer fishing is to be had in November and
December. Troll the pools with a 2^ inches silver
gilt spoon and have 250 yards line—so my informant
says. -T^ki^'-')
Back again—also second-hand knowledge.    Che-
lama   station   near   Nandyal, to  Birenni  20  miles,
big fish here.;
The Mahanadi river, near Sambalpur, from Jasu-
gudra station, holds Mahseer.
Near Nilambur, on one of the upper branches of
the Beypoor river, very fair Mahseer fishing can be
At Kodaikanal in the Pulney Hills," is a large lake,
in which Chilwa and other small fry abound. Very
pretty sport may be had, fishing for them with a
light trout rod.
Then I hear that there is fishing to be had on the
Tapti river, north of Nandurbar, but of this I
have no,definite khabber. Also near Chandi on the
The fishing in the Nerbudda is,mentioned fully in
the N. P. F. C. Anglers' hand-book, and in the Rod in
India.   ''f$$|3       ;    ' ^fe:
By the way I hear there is a new edition of
former book just coming out, entitled •' Anglers'
Hand-book for India." ISMS
There is fishing to be had in the Sabermati and
Mahi rivers, both of which flow into the Gulf of
Cambay. A good place on the former river is near
Ahmedabad. Fourteen miles up the river lies the
village of Rayasan ; road only cart track and very
bad, camels however can be got at Ahmedabad,
and this is the best way to go out.    There are also
excellent sleeping and refreshment rooms at the
station. Below ^Rayasan village there is a ford.
Above this there is a tobacco field which runs down
to a big still pool in the river. The pool—from a well
in field to where two rocks jut out into the water
—is simply crammed with fish, Mahseer, Murral,
Rohu, Wallago Attu and numerous other species.
The pool is best fished by crossing the ford and
wading in opposite the tobacco field, though off the
two rocks is also a good place. Good time December. I was also told that there was good fishing
further up, by Indroli village, but the river bed is
all sand and tiring to walk over, and though I went
some miles up ihe river I never struck any other
good spot.
In the Mahe river, Mahseer fishing can be got near
Sevalia station on the B. B; & C. I. Ry. There are
two bungalows here. The place is unfortunately
terribly poached. WWi
I am told that there is fair fishing in the Banass,
if you know where to look for it. The fish are
Mahseer, B. Bola, Wallago Attu, etc. The Banass
is a tributary of the Chambal, which runs into the
Jumna, south of Etawah.
Then from hearsay, the Sindh river, 45 miles west
of Jhansi, a good road all the, way. Bungalow on
the river.    Fish :  Mahseer and Murral.
The Betwa river, from the . Indian Midland
Railway between Bina and Jhansi, holds Mahseer,
B. Bola and other fish. . -: ?r-
The Dhasan river, crossed about 14 miles from
Nowgong by the Jhansi road, there is a small
bungalow here. Fish : Mahseer, Murral, Wallago
Attu, Tengra, Rohu, also Turtles and Mugger. The
course 6i the river is all through jungle, and the banks
are intersected by innumerable nullahs making it
difficult to follow along the river.
Then there are the Sone, and the Tonse, and the
Ken ; in all of which good fishing may be had, if only
you can find out the right places and the right tim e
to go.
Then the Sarju river, about 3 marches from
Philibhit. This is a wild and lovely little river, and
holds enormous fish, but it is exceedingly difficult to
hit off the right time to be there as the stream is
glacier fed and liable to be discoloured by melting
The Sardah river; from Philibhit to Katema (B)
about 20 miles by fair road. Then another 10 miles
to Mandi (B). Good fishing above and below
Then the junction of the Sarju and Kali rivers,
near a place called Pachisar; there is excellent
Mahseer fishing here early in the hot weather.
Then Bagesur on the Sarju*, between 60 and 70
miles from Kathgodam Railway station ; there is a
bungalow here an# good Mahseer water, and I am
told June and October are the best months.
There is very fair fishing in the Kumaon Lakes*
but to anyone visiting those parts, let me recommend a most excellent little book by Dr. Walker,
entitled, " Angling in the Kumaon Lakes;"
In Tochi river I am told that there is snow-trout
fishing near Datta Khel.
At Kushalgarh (B) on the Indus I am told of big
Mahseer; a good place to fish being below the
railway cable, about 4 miles down where another
river runs in.
Hardwar (B) on the Ganges; good Mahseer
fishing in autumn and spring.
I was promised a full list of good localities in
Travancore, but I am sorry to say my correspondent has failed me in this matter.
Bamin and Nair fishing is decidedly to be got at
its best on the Malabar CoasJ;. Elattur, 5 miles
from Calicut, is the first place. There the railway
crosses the backwater by a fine bridge, the sea
being \ mile further down and out of sight. The
bridge is too high to fish from comfortably, but
boats can be hired here. There is a large ferry
crossing the river just below the railway bridge.
There are also plenty of Mugger in this backwater,
so it is worth while taking a rifle with one. Perch
(Lutianus Roseus) are fairly numerous.
Mahe ; The road bridge here is perhaps the pick
of all the fishing stations. It lies i^ miles from the
station, and is an old wooden pier bridge of several
spans. The railway bridge i mile up the backwater may also be tried, but is not I think quite
as good as the road bridge. The bar is only 400
yards from this latter bridge, so that the open sea
lies in full view.   .
Tellicherry ; there are 3 bridges out on the
Cannanore road, also 3 railway bridges. The first
bridge is 1^ miles from Tellicherry, on a small backwater, it is useless to try here how7eyer, owing to
some old piles out in the stream, which interfere
with spinning. About ■§• mile further on is the
second bridge, facing the sea less than J mile away.
This is an excellent bridge. The third and biggest
bridge lies one mile further on, and may be tried if
the second one fails to afford sport. This third
bridge is an excellent one for Red Perch, and
though I have seen one or two Bamin and Nair
here, it is not so good as the others I fancy, for
these 2 latter fish.
Then the railway7 bridges ; the first is small but
is worth trying, there being one or two spots were
Bamin always seem to lie.
The second is perhaps one of the best bridges of
all to fish from, as both Bamin and Nair seem to
frequent this bridge.
The third is by far the longest, and is I think the
most fascinating to fish from, as one moves such a
large number and variety of fish under it, in a day's
outing.    Bamin, Nair, Red and Grey Perch, Mullet,
Turtles and Snakes are among the variety mentioned. It must be remembered, however, that sport
from the different bridges seems to vary according
to Seasons and years, and no rule can be laid down
for certain that such and such a bridge is the best.
And another point exceedingly annoying is that
sometimes one or more estuaries will be very dirty
and quite unfishable, the others remaining clean.
For this I could find out no satisfactory reason
from the native fishermen though I asked many ;
one of the most plausible reasons advanced being
that a mud bank—known to exist off the Malabar
Coast—shifts up and down the Coast at intervals and
dirties the particular backwaters off which it lies.
One piece of advice, if you make a pilgrimage to
an estuary and find it dirty, do not believe the
natives when they tell you it will clear at high or
low tide, because it won't ; the Aryan brother is
always ready to oblige and he sees that you will be
pleased if he takes an optimistic view of the
Fishing from a railway bridge one wants a fairly
good head, and shoes that will not slip.
There is a railway bridge at Kudulundi, on the
Madras side of Calicut ; which looks as if it might
afford sport, however, I have never tried it.
Near Cannanore, 6 miles by Bilipatam village, is
a deep swift run in a backwater, where Bamin may7
be caught ; anyone going to Cannanore would soon
find out the place.
And the Cochin backwater is said to be a good
place for both Nair and Bamin.
Ennur ; 10 miles from Madras, on the East Coast,
the mouth of the Khasastala forming a "good backwater. Here the N.-E. Railway crosses on a very
high bridge. The estuary is full of Whiting, Perch
and other fish, and I have also seen Bamin jump
frequently, but have never managed to catch one.
If, however, any resident of Madras spent 3 days out
there, and studied the tides, there would appear to
be no reason why the Bamin should not take as
well as on the West Coast.
I have also heard of Bamin at Nellore, and again
near Vizagapatam, and at Masulipatam, all on the
East Coast.
Then Bamin are to be caught in Bombay harbour
during the monsoon ; one of the best spots being
near Sunk Rock lighthouse. This fishing however
is very different and not nearly so pleasant as the
Malabar Coast fishing. Whereas in the latter
places the water is clear and natural bait is the
thing to use ; Bombay harbour always seems
dirty, and large silver Devons are the lure usually
used Also the fishing in the Harbour is very
uncertain, and except in the monsoon, it is exceptional to catch fish, while on the Malabar Coast one
can generally move fish, at any rate, at most seasons
of the year.
Nair fish are also to be caught at places in the
harbour, so I've heard, but I've never discovered
{he places myself.
Nair are to be caught in Karachi harbour.
Also Nair (called Begti) are present in large
numbers in the Hooghly, from Calcutta right down
to the sea.
I regret that I can give but little information
under this heading ; if only Anglers would write and
let me know of places, I would willinglv put them
into this book, should a 3rd edition come out, but it
is so hard in this country to get any information
about fishing ; either men will not give away pet
places, or they are too lazy to give the information ;
and I am afraid that the evil is more aggravated in
South India than North, perhaps it is the delightful
cold weather of the Punjab that stirs people up
and makes them more communicative of good
To anyone keen on Tank fishing, let me again
recommend that excellent book " lank Angling,"
by H. S. Thomas. Therein they will find much
good advice, and also they7 will find many localities
mentioned. But let me warn readers that before
deciding to try any tank mentioned in that book, or
in this either, to find out from friends if it still
holds fish ; since alas many once excellent tanks,
that used to be. crowded with fish, are now quite
empty, destitute even of fry. A river even if systematically netted and poached by natives, has some
chance of recouping its population each year, at
any rate it holds places of refuge in deep out-of-the-
way pools ; but a tank is absolutely at the mercy
of its spoilers, who, if they be so inclined, will not
leave one single living insect in its waters.
Well.—The Red Hills lake must hold enormous
fish. It is 10 miles by fair road from Madras, and
there is a public works bungalow and a boat there.
But it is an almost hopeless place to fish, since
it apparently holds no fish that will take a spinning
bait at all, thus putting trolling out of the question ;
while owing to its vast expanse of water it seems
to be always rough, making float fishing a slow and
unprofitable proceeding.
The ponds in the People's Park at Madras hold
Murral, Notopterus Kapirat, small Labeo, Ja few
Gourami and other fish. A license is required.
Full information however may be had concerning
these ponds, by enquiring at the boat house near
the animals' enclosure. The great drawback to
fishing in them however is their publicity.
The Madras fort moat holds enormous numbers
of fish, some of them very big Among others
there are—Megalops, Tengra, Etroplus, Mullet,
Perch, Turtles, Crabs, Snakes and also there are
said to be Nair fish. Personally I have never
caught one of the latter fish there, but the Madras
Museum holds a fine Nair fish of over 30 lbs., that
was caught many years ago in the moat. Some
places are better than others, for -live-bait fishing
or spinning with natural bait, a good place is to
the left of St. George's gate' and just round the
corner. The Tommies from the regiment stationed
in the fort each enormous numbers of Tengra, and
also Etroplus and some Turtles, fishing with worm..
There used to be an occasional Mugger seen in the
moat, but one, supposed to be the solitary survivor,
was killed about 3 years ago.
Then at the Harness and Saddlery Workshops
(Madras) which are the Old Powder Mills, are 4
tanks, all of which hold fish. Permission should be
got from the R. A. Officer in charge. The large
tank on the left as you go in, contains large numbers
of Megalops, Tengra, N. Kapirat and Etroplus ; the
smaller tank at the further end of it holds innumerable Murral (some of them big), Etroplus and Tengra.
The centre tank is said to hold Murral and other
fish. The long double tank on right of entrance
holds Tengra, Etroplus and an unlimited supply of
prawns, some of these latter, perfect monsters.
A tank alongside the railway, opposite the Scotch
Kirk, holds Megalops, Olive Carp, N. Kapirat and
Eels. Permission should be got from the owner,
whose name may be had from the temple at south
end of the tank. It is not convenient to fish there
always, as the Municipality have a cheerful way of
turning the compound into a plague segregation
At the Buckingham Mills there are 2 tanks, and
at the Carnatic Mills one large tank. These tanks
are strictly private and are used for supplying the
Mills with water; so permission must, be got from
Messrs. Binny & Co. to be allowed to fish therein.
The .2 Buckingham tanks hold enormous numbers of
Megalops, some of them very large, they hold also a
few Murral, Olive Carp, Gudgeon, Eels, Turtles and
Snakes.    The Carnatic tank seems to be crowded out
with Murral, though there are some Megalops also
in it. (Since I wrote the above, I am told this
latter tank has become full of Megalops, and yields
excellent sport.)
About \ mile below the bridge over the Adyar
river, where the Mount road passes through Saidapet,
there is an old anicut, and with a stretch of still
water above it. Here there are innumerable Chilwa
and probably many other sorts of fish. The place
however is rather ungetatable.
Ennur backwater has already been mentioned
under the head of Estuaries.
The Harbour at Madras also is w7orth trying,
See remarks at end of Chapter X.
At Trichinopoly I am told that there are still big
fish to be caught in the large tank, below the hill;
but concerning the Trichy, Tanjore and Negapatam
tanks, see Mr. Thomas' "Tank Angling."
Nellore district. At Buckileddipalem 10 miles out,
there is a temple tank that used to be simply full of
Labeo, also prawns, but I am told that the heavy
rains of a year or two ago, broke away one of the
sluices, and that enormous numbers of the larger
fish escaped from the tank.
Then some 13 miles west of Nellore there is a
large reservoir, which holds Jieavy fish, but owing
to the large expanse of water, it would be necessary to ground-bait thoroughly7 first, to get your fish
In Nellore itself there is a tank that holds labeo,
but it i^ very weedy, and  a place would have to be
cleared before any good could be done.
Near Mysore city there are 2 large pieces of
water, holding Labeo and other fish, but ground-
baiting and local knowledge of the places, would
be necessary before trying them.
At Agumbi on the Western Ghauts, there is a
a tank holding enormous Murral; as mentioned
earlier in this Chapter.
At Calcutta there is a Club, and some very excellent tank fishing to be got; and anyone going there
would soon obtain the requisite information.
Ootacamund lake contains large numbers of
(English) Carp, Tench and Barilious Bakeri, and
most probably many other species.
The two former were imported some years back
from England, a sad waste of laudable energy both
from an eating and sporting point of view. However they thrive and are supposed to rvun big,
affording a means of livelihood to large numbers of
native anglers. These men sit, each at his own.
particular pitch, (from which he has carefully
cleared away the weeds that abound in this lake)
with 12 to 20 rods in front of him.
These rods are baited and laid down and the
lines with floats attached are thrown out to take
their chance. The man himself has generally one
bigger rod with which he can cast out further and
devotes himself to this   rod abandoning   it hastily
however and grabbing one of his other numerous
rods whenever a float signals a bite. Very pretty
sport can be had any evening between about 5
o'clock and sunset catching Barils with a light trout
rod and midget flies, the fish rise freely and fight well
for their ounce or two of weight. And when freshly
caught they are very beautiful little fish to behold.
The Marlimund reservoir holds the water-supply
of Ooty, and fishing therein is strictly prohibited.
However it is possible occasionally to get a pass
from the President of the Municipal Committee,
and a pleasant afternoon may be spent on its banks.
It holds large fish, but they are difficult to catch ;
the largest I saw caught was a 5-lb. Carp (a most
beautiful fish, dark green and silver) who rose to a
fly and fought like a demon. The lake abounds
vyith small minnows, for whom small flies and quick
striking are essentials ; a dish of these when fried
like whitebait are delicious eating.
Of the Burnfoot lake (which is private property)
and the Lawrence Asylum lake I have no very
reliable information, though small fish abound in
the latter.
¥UST a few words in conclusion on the immense
*^ destruction of fish and fry7 in India. Perhaps
this matter is one rather outside the scope of a
little book like this, but it is a subject of such
importance that it behoves every angler to lay it to
heart, and to do his best towards remedying the evil
if ever he gets the chance.
Of late years a certain amount has been done to
remedy the evil. In 1897, I believe, a Fisheries Act
was passed, and in 1902 Mysore brought out new
game laws, which afforded protection to the fish as
But all these laws are carried out half-heartedly
all over India, except in a few fortunate districts
where the Civilian in charge, or the Police Superintendents happen to be keen sportsmen.
The netting and poaching in many rivers is so
great, as to make it a wonder that an)7 fish survive
at all. It is no exaggeration, though, to say that in
many rivers the supply of fish has decreased 60 °/Q in
the last 25 years.
* Since writing the above (in 1903) I have seen drafts
of the new laws, relating to shooting and fishing in
India, which the Government have in hand.
It is not only from an angler's point of view that
the matter should be looked at; it is more or less a
matter of national importance to India.
In the great rivers we have a food-supply which,
if properly looked after, might be the saving of
literally lakhs of lives in a big famine.
And out here we have not the sea to fall back on,
as we have at home, as a protected area for our
river fish. None of the bigger Carps, like the
Mahseer, go out to sea yearly as do the Salmon.
"And the Indian rivers unfortunately lend themselves
so easily to poaching. Uegularly every year the
rivers are swollen by monsoon rains, and the big
fish take the opportunity to ascend and lay their
eggs in the ugper reaches, so that when their fry are
hatched thev may find the waters more suited to
their puny size than the heavier waters of the rivers
lower down. Then when the floods begin to subside
the larger fish begin to drop down the river, followed
by the smaller fish, till the upper waters are left to
small fishes and fry.
It is during this annual descent that the greatest
destruction of fish occurs. The instinct of all Indian
fish is intensely migratory, and as soon as the fry7
hatched out in the upper waters get to any size,
thev too follow their parents down the river in
search of pastures new and more food. Then in
every spot where the river can be damned into two
or three channels, are set traps of sorts, and every
little runnel into paddy or other fieldsHs made as
the broad and easy way which leadest to
destruction,  into a basket trap where it makes its
first drop to a lower level. You will say, "how,
then, is it any fish survive ?" And very few fish
would survive, if Indian fish spawned like the
English fish, getting rid of their eggs all at the same
But the bigger Carp, like the Mahseer, spawn
two or three distinct times in the year, so that it
follows that many of the larger fish will spawn in
the lower reaches of the river, when there is very
little water comparatively, taking advantage of
runs and rapids into pools to lay their eggs in the
shallow water at the head or tail of the run. Thus
many fry are born in pools which are too deep and
large to be netted or poached (always provided that
they are not poisoned, though this luckily has been
to a great extent put a stop to in the last few
years); and these are the fry which maintain a
certain population of fish in the rivers.
Well, enough of this subject now. I can only
hope that should any of my readers attain to such
felicitous positions as Viceroy, Governors or Commissioners, they will then exert their influence on behalf
of any fish that may be left alive in our Indian
Actual spot in Stream.
2   •
Place.         Actual spot in Stream.
1  *
^3    .
bD W
•^ rQ
1     «
1    .    3
1    w
1   -2" •
1 ^
i    £
Place.        Actual spot in Stream.
|;   v    ;
3   '
'     >'>jf'
-  c •
  2 5+
215, 237
Casting net
...   220
...   223
Cauvery river
...   IIQ
Ceylon, fishing in
Annealing wire
...   I98
Archer spinner
...   169
'£*% :
Chambul river
Coloured water             2 c, 27
Bait, kettles
- J73
... 228
...    68
Crocodile spinners
Banass river
... 227
Cubbany river
... 144
Cubbinhalli river
-   39
Barilius Bola
1    39
... 224
... 215
Dead bait
Betwa river
... 227
Dead bait, preservation
Bhadra river
... 214
of I
Bhavani river
... 207
Definition of terms
Bhima river
... 217
Destrn. of fish in India
... 197
Dhasan river
...   41
Diary forms .
... 232
Boots, care of
... 195
Brahmaputra river
... 225
...   42
Drop flies
Butter, preserving
... 199
Drying line
Dyeing gut
233* 237
... 231
Edibility of fish
Carnatic Carp
...    29
Carp, White
...   61
Estuary fishing
Carp, Olive
...   62
Etroplus Suratensis
Cashmere, trout in
...   85
Etroplus Maculatus
K. PAGE    I
Fins, names of ... 143
Flies                             163, 211  '
Flies, to preserve ... 183  j
Floats ... 165  j
Float-fishing, rough
water ... 187  1
Fly-fishing, Mahseer ...    21
„             Carnatic
Carp ...    30  !
„     other fish, 39 —42, 45
Fraserpet %... 203  |
Freshwater sharks ...    55
Frogs ... 132
Gaff 171,184
Gairsoppa falk ... 219
Gatprabha river ... 223
Godavery river ... 225
Gokak falls ... 224
Goonch ...    55
Grasshoppers ...    31
Ground baits ... 189
Gut   ' ... 158
Gut, to preserve ...  183
Gut, twisting ...  198
Hallyal ... 221
Harbour fishing ...    77
Hardwar ... 229
Hemavutti river ... 204
Hercules wire       12, 73, 158
Hogankal ... 205
Hooghly river ... 233
Hooks ... 165
Hooks, scale of ... 165
Hutter river • ... 202
Japanese fishing ... 134
Jardine live-bait tackle.     24
Indian Gudgeon
Indryani river
Kadmane river
Kala Nadi river
Kali river
Kamardhari river
Kashmir, trout in
Kemphulle river
Ken river
Kettle: live-bait
Killing fish
Kistna river
Kumaon lakes
Lachmanthirtha river ...
Landing net                172
Lateral line
Leaves, fishing with    ...
Line, dressings
Live-baiting, Mahseer ...
„               other fish..
Live-bait tackle 45,
Londa ... 2
Lutianus Roseus
Madras, fishing near
Mahanadi river
Mahi river
... 168
Malprabha river
... 228
Pools, fishing in
...   J9
... 218
... 136
Markandya river
Pykara river
... 210
Marked fish
Measuring fish
16, 20
Meat, preservation of ...
- *53
... 161
Megalops Cyprinoides...
Rings, rod
... 149
Rod joints
... 184
Moyar river
...    61
Rushkilya river
;: |
Rust, prevention of
Mula river
Muta Mula river
Sabermati river
... 228
... 214
Sardah river
... 228
Nair fish
Sarju river
... 228
Scale of hooks
... 165
Net, landing               172
Seasons for fishing
- x94        V4* *
Netravuti river
-   75
...    63
Noogoo river
... 204
Notopterus Chitala
Sharasvati river
... 219
„         Kapirat
... 214
Nottingham float
... 207
Shooting fish
... 139
Shrinking of Shikar
Olive Carp
Outfit                           145
Silundia Gangetica
Silvering mixture
... 196
1   55
... 182
Sindh river
... 227
... 205
Parson's live-bait tackle
• 23
Smoking rock
... 205
Paste baits                   62,
Sone river
... 228
Spawning of fish
... 241
Pandri river
... 169
Perch" rock
Splicing lines, etc.,
PAGE   '
Split rings
...    l6l
Trophies from fish
.   I90
...   l6l
Trout in Nilgiris
.   IOI
Spring balances
...   I93
„       Cashmere
.      85
Striking fish
l8, 48, 72
|       Ceylon
•      78
...   220
Tunga river
.   214
Sulking fish
...    iSj
Tungabhadra river
.   214
...   223
•  *32
...   l6o
Varieties of Mahseer
...   148
„      box
. 232
„      makers
... 179
Tamraparni river
- m
... 223
- 233
Wallago Attu
*   55
... 230
Waterproofing mixture
. 186
...    66
Weighing fish
• 193
Time for fishing
28, 149
• *37
... 214
White Carp
.    61
Tochi Valley
... 229
•    77
Tonse river
... 228
Winch fittings
• I57
Topoor river
... 207
Wire annealing
. 198
... 158
„    twisting
. 198
... 139
„    gimp              12
43, 158
!^lj^5^^a Rg^ji
rod make
Manufacturers to
The Field says:   " It ought never to be forgotten  that it  is to
Messrs. Hardy, of Alnwick, we owe the supremacy we have achieved as
.    They have left all competitors hopelessly behind."
S   co
CD     m
:z   co
m   czz-
Tied with Hardy's Unbreakable Patent OYal Wire Treble Hooks.
The " Perfect" Fly Reel.    The | Silex" Casting Reel.
LARGE CATALOGUE.   Hundreds of Illustrations,
over 325 Pages.   FREE.
Rods, Reels, Lines, &c, for all kinds of Fishing in all parts of the World.
«   .   ..     I LONDON: 61, PALL MALL, S.W.
Branches. / MANCHESTER: 12 & 14, MOULT STREET.
University of British Columbia Library


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items