Offbeat holidays are getting increasingly popular in India with more people opting for leisure that offer fun and thrill, nature and an overall immersive experience.
This thrill of reeling in a fish is luring people to fishing holidays. India with a vast coastline of more than 7,500 km on its peninsular side, coupled with rivers, lakes and streams crisscrossing along the breadth and length, is ideally suited for angling holidays.
Whether it is for sport, catch and release or simply for fun, fishing is not new to India. Only recently, however, it has caught on as a holiday activity.
Fishing involves fly fishing (with artificial flies in bright colors as bait), freshwater fishing (angling in rivers and streams), surf fishing (standing by the seashore and casting in the reel) and deep-sea fishing.
In India, popular fishing destinations include Assam, Peninsula Rivers, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Ganga and Yamuna rivers, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and coastal waters. While in Assam, Masheer fishing on Manas River at Manas Tiger reserve and River Cauvery in Karnataka attracts hordes of fishing tourists.
Pancheshwar plays host to the International Angling Competition held in March every year while Gushaini in Tirthan Valley, Himachal Pradesh is a good spot for angling buffs to reel in brown trout, masheer, goonch catfish and local species.
Scope for fishing
Peninsula Rivers like Krishna, Cauvery and Godaveri have abundant scope for fishing. Munnar in Kerala has streams swarming with trouts and carps. The bounteous rivers and lakes of Kashmir including the Sind River, a tributary of the Jhelum, is known for trout fishing.
Reminiscing about a holiday in the scenic Bheemeshwari on the banks of Cauvery River, around 100 km from Bangalore, Waseem Ghori from Rajasthan, said: “Armed with basic fishing tools like rods, jig, lines, hooks, reel, flies, spinners, spoons and bait (called popper) - in the form of worms we savored every moment of fishing on the quiet banks of the river Cauvery. It is like having a commune with nature”.
For Ramachandra Naik, an avid angler, the quiet rock on picturesque Someshwara Beach near Ullal in Mangalore, is the spot he regularly sits with a long fishing rod. He says: “One needs to have oodles of patience to catch fish but it is worth trying. It is a therapeutic activity and one can breathe in fresh air.”
Mangalore’s popular eco-tourism destination, Dr Shivarama Karanth Pilikula Nisargadhama, had opened its door to amateur and professional anglers in the city to fish in its 20-ft deep lake spread over six acres.
According to Derek D’Souza, an expert angler and sweet water fish conservationist, who once caught a 36-kg mahseer from Cauvery River few years ago, “India needs to promote angling as a sport.”
Mangalore’s Angling Carnival held on the northern breakwater of New Mangalore Port Trust located near the lighthouse in the Panambur Beach area attracts anglers from across the country.
All India Game Fishing Association is engaged in promoting “sport fishing” and to protect the fast depleting stock of sport fish by active participation of angler community in protecting the environment of water bodies they reside in.
It conducts All India Saltwater Angling Tournament and freshwater angling competitions and believes in catch-a-fish-and-let-it-go policy works great for conservation.
But there many who enjoy fishing for taking them home and relishing the delicacy. Perumathura, a lush coastal village near Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala is a natural spot for anglers during the south-west monsoon.
Youngsters from the nearby cities head to the waterfront for fishing at the tidal mouth where the Kadhinamkulam lagoon drains into Arabian Sea.