Sunday, July 17, 2016

Chasing the Mighty Golden Mahseer

I just returned from a 4-days fishing trip to Tsirang. This time we were aiming for the mighty Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora). The Golden Mahseer is an endangered fish species found in Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan. Biggest and strongest among fresh water fish, the Golden Mahseer is perhaps the most sought after fresh water game fish. They can grow upto 9 ft. in length and over 54 Kgs. in weight. In Bhutan they can be found in Punatsangchhu in the West, Tingtingbi in the central, Dangmechhu and Kurichhu in the East and Kalikhola, Panbang, Manas and Yangbari in the south.

Hooking a Mahseer is tough - but landing it is even tougher. I know of a friend who struggled to land a Mahseer for over two hours - unsuccessfully. At the end, he had to cut the line in frustration since he had no more energy left to fight the fish.

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) accepts Belgian angler Frank Van de Wyer as the world record holder for his catch of 19.96 Kgs. (44 lbs) Golden Mahseer, caught in the Sayru river in north-central India. This is minuscule compared to Bhutan’s record of 35 Kgs. – the Golden Mahseer was caught in Homa Khola, Kalikhola on 25th September, 1978.

Photographic evidence of Bhutan's record catch - note that the fish is taller than the pony to which it is strapped.

My own record catches are: 27 Kgs. in Sheyteykharey, Kalikhola, 23 Kgs. in Tingtingbi and 19 Kgs. in Harachhu in Wangdue. The fish below was caught by me on July 14, 2016 at Burichhu, Tsirang. It weighed in at an impressive 15 Kgs. My tousled hair and sweating red face is evidence of the struggle I went through to land this king of fresh water game fish!

My latest catch of the Golden Mahseer. Landing this beauty was a tough job because it was hooked at a very difficult place in Burichhu, Tsirang. At the end of the struggle, the fish broke one of the three treble hooks of my Balsa wood plug bait called the Jointed Minnow made by Rapala of Finland.

The Mahseer is not all about monsters - cute little babies too are game.

A cute little baby Mahseer weighing about 3 Kgs. After a pat or two, the baby fish is released back to the water.

However, both the monster and the baby are released back to the water - after the photo shoot. This practice is called “Catch-N-Release”. There are others who practice “Catch-N-Haves” :)-


  1. If I ever go fishing I will be in the Catch-n-Haves group. :)

  2. Hehe. That last phrase "catch and haves" sounds interesting la sir. May be to be like you-to be in a "catch and release" category, either a vegetarian or a person on research mission has to go for fishing.
    Your posts are largely intriguing and captivating sir.

  3. Inspirational work. I'm too planning to join Kuri Gongri fish research team sooner and hoping for successful result