Not a wink of sleep last night. It was a full moon and I was constantly blowing my nose and coughing like a 70 year old chain smoker. I’m absolutely wrecked. I hadn’t been sick in three years but now twice in two months and both times on a killer fishing trip – really sucks.
It took at least four cups of coffee to get me on my feet. It’s a good thing Misty’s boys keep bringing it or I may not have got up at all. As I was loading up on the caffeine I assessed the river from my highpoint and decided its so terribly gray looking that rather than pound away aimlessly with my 9-weight and streamers I’d rig my 5-weight and Polish Nymph for snowtrout.
I hobbled down to the river in front of the breakfast tent and went to work with two beautiful woven nymphs tied by no other than my man Vladi Trezbunia. I haven’t Polish nymphed in a year but if I do say so myself, Vladi would have been proud. A half hour went by with nothing. I was just losing interest when I hooked up to a nice fish and in a matter of 3 seconds my 1X Flouro leader snapped. Dang!
There’s nothing worse than breaking off a fish and not seeing what it was. I re-rigged and fished another hour but nothing. The fish could have been a mahseer or even better because I’ve never caught one, a snowtrout.
I’d of fished longer but its interview day. Remember, the purpose of this trip is to make a kick ass segment for Confluence Films next movie, Waypoints. We’ve got all the great fishing footage we need; now Misty and I need to talk and tell our story. Jim Klug and Chris Patterson are real pros as directors and they guided us through some good commentary and another sweet addition to this segment is done.
After the interviews we floated 20 kilometers to the famous Chukka, the legendary village from the classic; Man Eaters of the Kumaon, by JimCorbett. Corbett was a famous tiger hunter from the 1930’s. He didn’t kill tigers for sport but rather he killed man eating tigers. Chukka is famous because it was here that he killed on of the most elusive man eaters of all time. This tiger killed over 450 people! Most of you know but in case you don’t, I have a tiger story of my own that will give you nightmares.
We got to Chukka at 3 PM. All of us except Misty were spent. You can’t imagine how a trip like this wears you down, despite being the trip of a lifetime, it’s grueling, and I being sick had me in a borderline coma. Nonetheless as I was dozing in my chair after lunch, Misty suggested we start swinging flies.
It was 110º and there wasn’t an ounce of wind. My hair may as well been on fire. I deliriously staggered to the rivers edge and started doing the motions. Chris followed with his camera and I’m guessing he was about the same. I’ll never forget this, I was so hot and out of it I thought I saw schools of mahseer swimming around my fly line. I was actually hallucinating!
I caught myself nearly asleep and snapped out of the daze because I realized I’d let my fly sink incredibly long. I was sure to get snagged. I made a quick strip in hopes it would come. But it didn’t. I was hooked on something alright and it bolted down towards the head of the Chukka Rapids like a 90lb tarpon on a shallow flat. My Tropic Express line disappeared. My Bimini Twist connection crackled through the guides of my Ross RX 9-weight. Then my backing sizzled off.
The Chukka Rapids are serious. Where I stood was serious. But seriously, if this fish took me down the Chukka Rapids it would be game over – seriously!
As my personal big fish luck often goes, I was nearly out of backing and the hard pulling fish was at the head of the Chukka Rapid. And he stopped. He had to of known of the rapids but unwisely decided not to go down. Perhaps he had another plan for me.
For the next ten minutes, with Chris’s movie camera on me and Klug and Whitney now awake and near my side the golden mahseer and I battled. He literally made all the wrong moves he could and I kept the heat on. Soon to our disbelief, despite muddy inhospitable conditions, rapids and angler fatigue, we topped the big mahseer we caught three days ago!
No one was dazed anymore. We were wide awake. I held one of the most beautiful and memorable fish of my life while Chris filmed and Klug shot stills. Then I removed Misty’s brown sculpin pattern and turned this incredible creature back to the
. Man this is going to be an incredible
segment! Mahakali River
Misty, Whitney, Jim and I fished our butts off from that minute till dark. Not a fish, a bite or a touch. Today’s monster was about keeping your fly in the water and never giving up. You got to believe in miracles!
Meanwhile, a Chukka local came to warn Misty a tiger was in the area. At 5 PM, less than a mile away this tiger took a tied up cow from its post and headed for Tak. This was the cat’s third kill of cattle in less than a week. This does change things!
Being filmed doesn’t allow me to take pics. A SPECIAL THANKS is in order to Jim Klug and Chris Patterson of Confluence Films who not only brought me on this trip but also provided most of the blog photos.
Again, please toss my old hotmail email address that I can no longer check and let’s reconnect at email@example.com THANKS!