by Dave McCoy
For sometime now, I have been fixated on fly fishing in places where most can’t imagine such an activity takes place. India has for a long time been just one of those places and I was finally able to make it happen. It was worth every bit of the stress and anxiety that comes with traveling to this part of the world. There is nothing in the US that can prepare you for this experience. I fondly refer to it as barely contained chaos.
For fly anglers, the predominant species to pursue should be the Golden Mahseer. This relative of the carp achieves giant proportions, over 200 pounds. But keep your eye on the ball here, shoot for 20-50 pounders as they will be handfuls enough. Takes are extraordinarily acrobatic on surface flies and the fish are simply stunning to admire in hand.
On the photography side, one word comes to mind – overwhelming!
Imagine documenting the 7th largest country in the world in just a few weeks when you could simply sit on a curb in Delhi, Mumbai or Jaipur and just shoot from that one spot for a week, easy. In addition to the cityscapes and culture, the waters Mahseer inhabit are stunning. Water is crystal clear, bordered by combination jungle, evergreen and deciduous forests riddled with monkeys and flamboyantly colored birds. The wildlife viewing and photo potential is off the charts. In fact, one must realize that humans rank somewhere about the middle of the food chain behind the tiger, leopard, crocodile, goonch, cobra, viper and elephant. Not that the elephant wants to eat you but after they trample you, the rest line up for the buffet.
Imperative here is to first learn some basic Hindi before you go, such as:
stop now – aba banda
photograph – tasvira
please – kripya
hello – namasta
thank you – danya vad
bottled water – puri
bathroom – snanaghara
Secondly, if you are semi spineless, know the exchange rate so you don’t give a guy $5 for showing you the bathroom and finally, be prepared to shoot on fast settings and take plenty of data storage with you, you will need it.
Because India is such a large country spanning from quite far south up to the Himalayas along Nepal and Bhutan, there are dramatic contrasts in topography and vegetation. People here are generally quite happy, even if they don’t have anything. Their features are often strikingly chiseled and adorned with colorful garments making every one of the billion plus people here a sensational photo op.