Fish wish list

There are many fish I’d like to chase, but three keep turning up in my fantasies. For some reason, they’re all (at least in part) gold – go figure. Today, the first – the majestic mahseer. Saying you want to catch a mahseer is kind of like saying you want to catch a trout – there’s more than one kind. The one I’m thinking of is the Himalayan or golden mahseer – Tor putitora. Westerners have been angling for golden mahseer since the mid 1800s – large fish, swift water, incredible setting, fabled history – I’m in.

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A note on the painting above – a week or so ago Steve clued me to a Walton Ford calendar – while messing around on Amazon, I stumbled across a date book as well. This is for the week of June 29. The painting is titled Baba B. G. and I’m pretty sure the fish are mahseer (they are big cyprinids of some sort for sure).

Several of the paintings are quite specific in their references. One (also at Long Beach) responds to Microsoft chief Bill Gates’ visit to India in 1997, when Ford and his family were spending an extended time there. It shows “Baba B.G.” as a North American kingfisher holding court to eight other brilliantly plumed birds sitting lower down on the same branch. A large fish, skewered by the branch where it meets the trunk, hangs nearby, spilling smaller fish from its slit gut. Some of those tumbling from its belly are shown in the process of eating even smaller fish. Such is the law of economic imperialism. *

Oh, and I couldn’t resist the calendar either… A hint as to the identities of the other two species – they have the same name in Spanish and one is freshwater, the other salt.

4 thoughts on “Fish wish list

  1. I’ve been fortunate enough to have one good day catching the saltwater Dorado on a fly rod off San Jose del Cabo. It was too rough to stand in the boat, so we couldn’t cast and it wasn’t really “fly fishing”, but it sure was fun. A twelve pound Dorado can really but a bend in your nine-weight after lots of jumps and runs to get you started. One of these days I hope to make it out to Loretto or somewhere similar when those lovely fish are really in.

  2. Damn– Mike beat me to “dorado”.

    I want to catch two fish, tarpon and (more– it’s Asian and historical, mentioned by Kipling and James Corbett, lives where I want to go– the mahseer. I have one friend, an old doctor, who has caught one.

    I have an 1897 book, The Rod in India, which is quite wonderful. It has a gold illustration on the cover of a man with a turban and a human- sized mahseer hanging beside him, and a chapter called “Circumventing the Mahseer”. (It also has chapters on things like fishing with otters!)

    A newer good book is Somewhere Down the Crazy River by Paul Boote and Jeremy WAde– two crazed Brit fishers on expeditions after mahseer and giant tigerfish (in Africa of course). Wouldn’t mind catching one of those either.

    Finally– did you see the $44 Pancha Tatra coming out??!!

  3. Mike was on it quickly! I think my best chance on my little top 3 is the saltwater dorado – you can even find them just south of here when the Gulf Stream peels off some gyres (but I’d much prefer baja).

    I did see the new edition – when I looked, it gave Oct. 2009 as an expected arrival – didn’t let that stop me – it’s pre-ordered!