10 Jul 2024  |   05:00am IST

A time for hooking the fish is now

Angling seems to be growing in popularity and during the monsoon it seems to reach its peak in the State
 A time for hooking the fish is now

Ajit John

Go to any restaurant and one comes across the fish thali or fish curry and rice featuring prominently in the menu. It can be said that after football, it is the fish that unites Goans. In Goa, 

it is not unusual to see boys and men casting their lines across the Goan coastline waiting for that tug. Angling is an activity that is increasingly becoming popular in the State.

It is a fishing technique that uses a fish hook or ‘angle’ attached to a fishing line to tether individual fish in the mouth. The fishing line is usually manipulated via a fishing rod, although rodless techniques such as hand lining or long lining also exist. Modern angling rods are usually fitted with a reel that functions as a cranking device for storing, retrieving and releasing out the line, although Tenkara fishing and cane pole fishing are two rod-angling methods that do not use any reel. The hook itself can be additionally weighted with a dense tackle called a sinker, and is typically dressed with an appetizing bait to attract the fish and entice it into swallowing the hook, but sometimes an inedible fake bait with multiple attached hooks (known as a lure) is used instead of a single hook with edible bait. A bite indicator, such as a float, a bell or a quiver tip, is often used to relay underwater status of the hook 

to the surface.

In Goa veteran anglers were more than willing to talk about their favourite past time and what was it that motivated them to take up angling.

Farhan Khan is a veteran angler who has been involved in angling for somewhere between fifteen to eighteen years. He has been angling since his days as a fifth standard student. His father used to fish and Farhan would go with him. He says, “I started in 2004-05 and I used to go with my father. He used to go to the river near Valpoi. Later on I used to go with my uncle and fish in the Mandovi river”. 

It was a hobby that he maintained. He says, “We would go to the beach and start fishing and it was so relaxing. When I am free, I go fishing. When I feel sad and need some peace, I go fishing” Tackles are dime a dozen in the market and for every budget. Farhan has an Indian tackle. He says he would usually catch Barramundi, Red snapper and Eels. He would take the Barramundi and Red-snapper home and eat them. He laughs and says fish were regular at home when he went fishing. In 2019, in 20 days, he caught 50 Barramundis and he would sell four to five big ones. He would like to continue to fish for the rest of his life.

Every angler has his own quirks. Thomas Fernandes has been angling since the age of eight. From Siolim, he says his father was a very good fisherman and he took it up watching his father. He would go with a net and a bamboo rod. He says, “I don’t get a thrill using artificial rods. I need to feel the current run through the rod when a fish is snagged. I go regularly to the Chapora river in the summer and the rainy season. I always use live bait and never dead prawns.I go fishing for one or two hours regularly. Yesterday I went at 3 o'clock in the morning near Siolim river with a basket. I caught  a lot of Burate fish which are tiny tasty fish. A bit of salt and then fry it and it is ready to eat. I usually get a chonak, red-snapper and the occasional gupper. Fishing is my passion. We are farmers by profession.”

Another angler, Elviro  Fernandes, showed that it was a love that lasted decades. He was first introduced to fishing when he was 6 years and he is now 32. He was introduced to fishing by a friend in the village who taught him the tricks of the trade. He says he learned how to use the bamboo pole and how to hook the fish. He says, “Fishing is a nice way to spend time. It makes you a patient person. The more you fish, the more patient you get. If I have a bad day, I go fishing and it clears my mind and I can start anew.” 

With regards to fishing tackle, he has all the foreign rods which is made easier by the fact that he works in a fishing store in Siolim. His decision to go fishing is taken by watching the temperature, the tide and the wind. A maximum of two to three hours is spent fishing. He likes going on weekdays in the evening or early in the morning. During his fishing trips, he tests various products from his shop. He is usually alone when he goes in the evening though when he goes far away or on the rocks especially during the monsoon, he goes with friends. 

During the monsoon, he goes creek fishing. He says, “You get the tarpon in these waters which is a fighting fish. It is a great battle getting them. I also target some snappers. In some places, you only get snappers. I go to places where I know the waters which are nearby in North Goa. Sometimes I go to the river stretch in Moira. I fish for tarpon there.” He was not going after big game fishing. He would target fish in the creeks upstream. He says after the monsoons in the end of August, big game fishing would start. He would then target the giant Trevally which was the hardest fighting fish. Several of the anglers he said travelled across the coast going as far as Malvan in Maharashtra.  That he says was the place to catch the big sized trevally.     

For Kenneth Lopes from Candolim, fishing is a type of relaxation. An angler for forty years, his father and his grandfather were both anglers. Fishing was his personal space. A musician by choice with a local band, he would go to Cancun, Vengurla, Malvan and several other coastal areas. As a father to three kids, his schedule for fishing depended on them. His second and youngest child were interested in fishing but they were very young. He would aim to catch the Barramundi, Red-snapper, Trevally and the Bream.

Noel Michael has been angling from a very young age with his father. Now 32, he strongly believes in the catch and release policy. As a commercial fisherman, he did fishing for a living. But he argued that there were certain species which needed to be kept alive so it was important to release them. He went out to fish every-week.     

It is a passion which seems to be growing as the years go by, which may not be surprising considering Goa’s love for the fish.   

IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar