Interview of Chandan Gupta, Rogue Anglers
By Mathias on 13.11.2013 in Fishing locations , Interviews , Travels
Tell me something about your background ?
I was born and raised In Calcutta, India, a city known for its beautiful architecture and laid back attitude, few small lakes where very few people catch fish with bamboo rods and worms, one river over crowded with commercial vessels and no scope for fishing.
So despite the fact that I am not from very picturesque town surrounded by natural beauties or much scope of outdoor sports, I somehow became an outdoors and nature enthusiast. I hate to stay home when I can be out there doing what I love most, trekking, rafting, parasailing, fishing and other adventure sports.
I got his first exposure to the sport of fly fishing during a vacation in France on Loire River. I went there to learn fly tying for my newly started venture of exporting fly fishing equipment and fly tying tools in 1999. That fly fishing in France had made me so hooked that now my company exports flies, fly tying tools, materials and other fly fishing gears globally, to almost all countries where fly fishing exists.
My company RG SAGA specializes in manufacturing OEM products and also sells under brand name of RG SAGA. In 2011 we started Rogue Anglers Company as fishing outfitter in Himalayas to promote fishing for ultimate challenge of any anger, Himalayan mighty golden Mahseer as well as trout.
I have explored quite a few sea and river fly fishing expeditions in India and Europe. Now both my companies are engaged in various activities to promote fly fishing and fly tying, especially among children and also with nature conservations and other good causes.
These days we are trying hard to increase awareness and promote the almost non-existing sport of fly fishing in India.
How the Rogue Anglers Started ?
Though I am founder member of Rogue Anglers Company but I believe it is an association of many friends. This company belongs to many fishing and fish enthusiast. The Idea of this venture was given by my good friend Dale Rushby, owner of Virtual Nymph, England.
Then I came across my guide and partner V.R Gurung who is one of the best Mahseer angler in Himalayas. Perhaps we have highest number of Scientists, research associates in our advisory committee than any outfitter in whole world. They are holding highest posts in Fisheries board, planning commissions in Government and published research papers and numerous books on Mahseer, fish conservation and other high altitude fishes.
I need to mention specially about famous angler ,photographer, writer Mr. Han van Kilnken from Holland who came and fished with us and most importantly taught us step by step how to guide. My special thanks goes to Jeff Currier from USA with whom I fished quite a few years back and he made world record of catching a Mahseer on fly.
Since then we remained as friend and he guided me always with his advices on tackles, flies and techniques. So you can see Rogue Anglers Company had contribution from many people from allover world from inception till date. It belongs to all of them. I am just an executor.
What is special about Rogue Anglers trips
when there are so many places in the world ?
Imagine sitting inside a Forest Bungalow in the dead of the night and feeling wild animals moving around its compound. The sounds starts coming so often through the silent night that you even start imagining shapes.
All of a sudden a shape darts through the fence inside the compound and speeds away. It can be as a wild pig or a leopard or a Rhino or Elephant and rarely a tiger. Welcome to our new fishing camp for Himalayan Golden Mahseer and numerous other local river species.
Tell us more about the jungle trip
and natural habitats there?
What are the species available there and animal habitat.
Our new Jungle fishing spot has a spectacular range of faunal variety. So far species of mammals,41 species of amphibians,33 species of fishes and 353 species of entomo-fauna are identified and listed. The main carnivores are Indian Tiger,Leopard,Clouded Leopard,Hog Badger,Jungle Cat,Sloth Bear,Himalayan Black Bear,Fishing Cat,Civet Cat,Jackal,Mongoose,Fox,Wild Dog etc.
The prominent herbivores are Elephant ,gaur,Sambar,Chital,Barking Deer,Hog Deer,Wild Pig,Hispid Hare etc.
Small fishes like Chela,Hum,Puti,Boroli etc and their bigger brothers like Mahaseer,Boal,Kalbaus,Mrigel,Chital,Shol are the wealth of the rivers and streams.
What so special about Himalayan Golden Mahseer?
The mahseer reaches out to those who read into history, enjoy their travels, love the wilderness, and are comfortable about reaching out into far-flung cultures and absorbing alien traditions. These men of adventure are perplexed by how much at home they feel whilst angling for the fish as they travel into mystic world of Mahseer.
It is only after you have fish on your rod that will you wonder how few rogue anglers a hundred years ago landed the giants when their tackle could barely hold the heavy bait, when travel was by horse, when distances were measured in time, when epidemics and plague reaped a rich harvest of humans, when dacoits, an eating tigers and rogue elephants took lives at will.
The great “Masheer” (Tor putitora), a predator, is one of the larger and common species of fish found in the glacial and spring fed rivers and streams of the region of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, and Pakistan. The Golden Mahseer is heralded as the aquatic Tiger of the Asian sub-continent, it is a formidable opponent.
Golden armor-plated scales line powerful flanks and bucket-shaped fins provide it with immense power both to hold its position in the fastest of currents and equally to strip line from a reel with unstoppable, finger-burning speed.
Its voracious appetite and sheer strength has given it an almost mythical status, allowing it to obtain weights in excess of 100lbs. Even in the colder, faster-flowing rivers of Northern India it can obtain sizes in excess of 50lbs.
Trying to land your first Mahseer is in no way a bald experience; it is journey into India, her people, traditions and cultures and mysticism an myth. Indeed, angling for Mahseer is becoming part of an old, yes really and truly old ,fishing lore. if you are here only to catch a Mahseer then probably you made a mistake.
But if you are here to live in the shadow of world greatest freshwater fighting fish, to revel in its company and maybe blessed by cuddling one in your arms then you have made the right choice. If you get a bite God help you, if you don’t you were never meant to.
If you are a only a hunter by heart who practice catch and release then only come here. With all discouragement if you still come then you can be promised one thing ..you can not rest any longer because in every moment of your life all you can feel is the incredible of the incredible monster you call the Mahseer.
What weapons you suggest to fight with mighty mahseer ?
I recommend 5/6wt rod for little tributaries / small backwater and 8-10 wt 9-11 ft single hand for the confluences. Switch rods and double hand 8-10 weight highly recommended.
Lines with Floating and sinking tips is must.Backing must be 150-200 yards minimal. Use Greenspot 30lb or high visibility braid like Power Pro /Suffix as backing, both seem to be better suited for Indian climatic conditions than standard backing.
Lines depends more on the river than the fish. One will NEED tropical lines for the heat. Also advisable will be sink tip line in 225 and 325 grains because heavier will stick between the rocks too often. Tippet 12 to 15lb on a 9ft braided leader. In real deep water, or in very strong current one can try to use some higher grain sinking stuff to experiment with.
Switch and double hand with sink tip is often most effective to fish streamers in large pools or when the river is wide.
What’s your favourite fly ?
My personal favorite is Wooly bugger tied on strong hooks size 8 -10 in brown. Brown, Brownish colours and grey brownish colours of dubbing, squirrel fur leadhead nymphs, minnow pattern flies, latest and successful buckeye flies , Zonkers streamers, Zonker, Matuka’s are effective too.
The most successful flies were indeed a lot smaller than one would think. Mahseer take on top water presentations too and the similar nymphs / wets / poppers presented and stripped fast, can produce some small Mahseer that follow up aggressively and take.
One can experiment with Tubeflies, Spin tubes, flies look like frog or bait fish etc.
How to go and whom to contact ?
For a typical 6 nights 7 days in jungle trip you will be covering around 8 different rivers and will be fishing in 7 to 10 different spots covering more than 100 km area.
End of February to End of May and again From September to November is the best season. Nearest International Airport is New Delhi or Calcutta. Nearest domestic airport is Bagdogra.
I will be more than happy to assist you.