Mahseer Fly Fishing Techniques
Many anglers make the mistake of fishing the pools too fast and end up spooking the very shy fish. Mahseer can be found in very shallow areas of the pool that many anglers think will not hold any fish at all, try to read the pool you fish and look for fish all the time as you fish your way upstream. Often the strike comes just when the fly lands on the surface, so be prepared, don’t lose control of the fly line at any time (try to keep the fly line between your thumb and index finger when you present the fly, this way you got no line slack and can set the hook immediately). A line loop around the rod but or around the reel when a big Mahseer strike can be a very unpleasant experience, by controlling the fly line between your thumb and index finger when you shoot the line you will avoid this problem. During the Mahseer’s first fast run, remember; try to keep the rod tip high to clear the line and leader from being cut by underwater rocks and boulders, sometimes the Mahseer swim under submerged roots and logs during the first fast run and you have to be prepared to follow the line with the rod tip under water to clear those obstacles. A big Mahseer can take over 100 meter of line in the first fast run, so you have to be prepared to run after the fish, just be careful so you don't fall over rocks and boulders and break the rod. If you are lucky the Mahseer swims upstream in the first run, but normally its just full speed downstream.
You will often have to do things a little differently here than what you are probably used to in order to score fish. Fish longer leaders than you are used to, employ stealth as you sneak upstream in search of fish (dark or dull clothing is a must, no bright colored fishing cap, shirt or pants).
A very important thing about fly fishing for the Mahseer is how to approach them. If you have fished for trout before in streams, you would know that approaching from upstream is a not always the best. If you approach from upstream you will be high up and obvious to the fish. Because they face into the current they will also be looking right at you, once you are seen, the fish may either scatter or stay put, and will most likely not take a fly after that. Approaching from downstream means you are out of sight behind the fish, low down and any mud you stir will be swept away from where you are fishing, rather than right into the fish’s faces, the Mahseer can also hear sound from your wading boots much better downstream than upstream. The fly you present to the Mahseer will look more natural to the fish if it’s coming down with the current than stripped against it. Repeated casts to the same spot are very unlikely to get a positive response; casting again and again at the same fish is unlikely to do any good. Make no more than two casts to a likely spot. If no result, move on upstream.
Sight fishing is the best way to catch Mahseer and blind fishing is not often the best option. You must learn to read the water, recognize where the Mahseer prefers to hang out and, realize that they won't always be in the deeper water on the far bank. During early morning hours, you will often find them right out in the open, away from cover, often in super shallow water. Learning to read the water and searching it visually is a real key towards success. Also, don't neglect the fast stuff. Spotting Mahseer in fast water will put some of the bigger fish in your net. Look for subtle hints: shape, movement, shadow and color, anything not quite in synch with the riverbed. However, don’t worry too much because your guide will be next to you and he will help you to learn to read the Mahseer Rivers and point out fish. You will also need to be able to walk to get to where the fish are. Sure, we have locations where you are rarely ever a couple of hundred meters from the boat or from the road, but often we have to walk for a couple of kilometers to reach the best pools and, it’s best that you get in condition. Fitness can play an important role in enjoying your all around Mahseer jungle experience as: it can ensure that you are steady and focused enough to make that first cast count after a strenuous march across boulders. Put a few miles on those boots before you come out to get in shape.