Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Hosted article: Rohu fishing at KRS by Pete Carroll

As a departure from the usual format of me gloating about what I've caught I am proud to present an article by my friend Pete Carroll.  Regular readers will recognise Pete from the Indian mahseer fishing articles.  Pete is based in India and, with Joe, has been pioneering fishing in the vast Krishna Raja Sagara dam at Mysore.  I've never caught a rohu but I have enjoyed eating one that someone else caught at Kabini.  Over to you Peter.

Rohu fishing at KRS
Joe with a good rohu
Let me start these tales of worldwide ‘derring do’ by telling you of my humble angling background. I have fished for longer than I can remember, my father was a fanatical angler and he gave me no choice, I was always going to be a fisherman whether I liked it or not. My earliest fishing memory is as a four year old, I was left standing, holding a rod, on a rock in the middle of Rydal Water and was literally nearly dragged into the depths by a vicious toothy pike that probably weighed in at a massive 5 pounds.  After this traumatic event if my father and Uncle Vic announced they were going pike fishing I would decline the invitation to join them.

I then cut my teeth on my local waters in South Manchester, namely King George V pool ,which to this day is the only place I have ever caught 2oz Tench and the Bridgewater Canal, Agden was prime stickleback water in those days. A lot of time was also spent sneaking through the gardens of posh houses and on to the Golf course at Mere to spin for pike, results were not spectacular but we did catch a lot of jacks.
My father and I then discovered the Prince Albert club and I have never looked back . Some of my personal bests still stand 35 years on . We had some fantastic years where we were virtually the only people to be fishing two estate lakes and we had some great catches of roach over 2lb , crucians over 3lb and  tench and bream over 6lb. Then one day I landed two carp of 11lb and 13lb which were witnessed by two carp anglers and sadly the circus moved in and the magic of the place was gone as we battled for pegs and were frowned on as noddies because we weren’t camped out for two weeks chasing a twenty.

The Old boat house at ‘Georges “ scene of many youthful adventures and me getting caught smoking by “me dad” 

“Me dad “ could catch fish from a bucket , seen here
            with a 20lb plus Lough Allen beauty
The end of that era forced us to discover the River Severn and Teme and some incredible Barbel action but the real highlight of most years were the two trips a year to Ireland with Pike as the main focus. I spent almost every holiday I had for 20 years fishing the lakes around Drumshanbo and in particular the mighty Lough Allen.
Then at the age of almost forty I decided I needed to go off and explore the world a little more and inspired by tales of Mahseer and in particular the documentary “Casting for Gold” I accepted a job offer to work in Delhi, India. As soon as I caught my first mahseer a tiddly 8lber from the Cauvery I was well and truly hooked. God only knows how many hours I have spent in pursuit of my dream and the thrill has not diminished in the slightest.
14lb of jet propelled golden Mahseer landed on 4lb line and and stick float about ½ mile away from where i hooked it.
 A very long and thin Lough Allen pike, long and thin is not usually a description used with me in the same sentence

Sadly, in the name of conservation, fishing on the Cauvery is now totally banned and this has led me and some other like minds to search for alternatives which in India are few and far between. So I was very pleased to be invited to Joe Assassa’s new camp near Mysore (www.mahseersportsandadventures.com) and decided to take up his kind offer over Xmas and New Year. Just in case my boss is reading I did add a couple of appointments in Mysore to justify the trip down from Bangalore. I arrived on the Saturday night and we followed our usual pattern with a hearty meal and a few beers at the Park Lane Hotel before heading off to Joe’s apartment for a hard- earned kip.
Sunday morning crept up and with slightly thick heads we began to prepare for the fishing sessions to come.  Supplies were purchased and ice packed into huge boxes for chilling the food and Kingfishers. By noon we had arrived at the camp on the banks of KRS reservoir. The camp is still in the building stage but  three tents and a temporary kitchen have been set up. A toilet and shower block, kitchen and a Dining Golga are being built as we speak.  Although it is a bit like camping on a building site at the moment the potential is obvious plus there are great views over the lake and magnificent sun-sets.

Sunset on Xmas night

Tent one, kitchen and plenty of ice to keep the beer and gin cold
Joe has been baiting up one area on the lake for two months and the benefits  are becoming apparent.  A mixture of 50kg of rice husk flour, ragi and maize has been fed every day, but this is such a massive water that it is not making much impact. We have fished the same area on a couple of occasions and results have been very varied. As always anticipation and hope make one think that this is the day where all the planning and prep is going to pay off. So the time flew by as we made boilies and groundbait and we decided to begin our campaign the next day. 
Early on Xmas eve we breakfasted (well, a cup of coffee - full breakfast is served later in the day on the lakeside) and loaded up the jeep to transport our piles of gear and bait to the pre-baited pegs.  We arrived to begin fishing at about 8am as the mist started to lift, to reveal a calm lake with some huge fish swirling and topping. Joe and I set up in slightly different ways as he is after the truly big fish and I like to get a few bites. I’ll let Joe tell you about his methods and just concentrate on my efforts for the purpose of this article.
Tackle consisted of two 12ft 3lb test curve Greys Prodigy carp rods twinned with Shimano 10000 baitrunners loaded with 20lb line. These were fished from a rod pod with bite alarms and bobbin indicators. End tackle was inline method feeder stopped by bead and swivel with a 15- inch hook length of 15lb mono tied to a size 6 Drennan specimen hook (hair rigged).

Groundbait for the method feeder had been prepared the night before. I use a mix of 8 loaves of bread soaked and mashed then add ragi powder and rice husk flour. This is then mixed until it is dry enough to crumble but wet enough to stick together when applied to the feeder. Plenty of maize and dog biscuits are then added along with a kilo of Keema. The maize is soaked for at least 36 hours and then boiled in a pressure cooker for half an hour and left to stand in the unopened cooker overnight. I add flavouring at this stage.  This mix I feel is attractive to most species and as we are fishing in virtually unknown territory it covers a lot of options. As the balls break up the dog biscuits float upwards and the plan is that they  form a trail downwind which will hopefully lead fish to search for the food source . Knowing my luck it would have the opposite effect and lead the fish away from the baited area. As it turned out, I suspect not many made it to the surface to float off.
Groundbait balls been made for prebaiting
Action was not always frantic on the two carp rods
Hook Bait was a choice from a veritable buffet of pedigree dog biscuits, prawn, sardine, beef steak, maize soaked in cardamom flavouring, luncheon meat, bread and even a few hirahulus (worms).
Action over the next few days on this rig was slow but steady and I caught a succession of Carp to just over 20lb and rohu to 10lb. However the interesting bit and the main point of this article is to tell you about my other rod and the rohu action.
 I also set up a quiver tip (feeder rod) with 8lb line a similar end rig and set out to fish this “English match style”. 
For those who are not aware, a quiver tip is a specialised type of  rod with a highly sensitive tip that bends around when a fish pulls the line.  The sensitivity of the tip shows you every line movement which increases your chances at catching all sizes of fish. Most rods come with their own range of tips which vary in sensitivity. This allows you to use the appropriate tip for any situation. You fish with the rod at  right angles to  the prebaited area you are casting to and once the line has settled you should tighten up to the feeder so that there is always a slight bend in the tip. This allows you to see when a fish picks up your bait. If a fish takes your bait normally, then the tip will bend towards the fish. If the fish takes the bait but swims towards you, then the tip will unbend and the line will go slack. This technique gives you a chance of striking at fish you would normally have missed. Experience will tell you when to strike, but in the case of rohu fishing it is usually a case of catching the rod before it disappears into the lake as they tend to hook themselves on the rig I was using. Tilapia are a different ball game however and nibble at the bait giving small tremors and drop backs.
A marker on the far bank was picked to give me a consistent point to aim at and I then catapulted in 25 tangerine-sized balls of the feeder mix at about 60 yards into about 15 feet of water. I then intended to cast to this spot consistently every 10 minutes, if I didn’t get a bite, in order to build up a bed of food.  Starting off with Maize on the hook my tip remained motionless and about half an hour later I switched to Dog biscuit. This brought instant attention and the tip trembled before curving round and the first rohu of the trip soon graced my landing net. At about 3lbs it was a nice start and  gave a good fight on the lightish rod . I fished this way for the next few days, making small alterations to the rig and constantly changing baits. I caught a lot of rohu, some carp and one fish which I think is known as a kalibas or possibly a black carp (anyone help me out?). The  largest carp was just short of 20lb and this put up an almighty fight on the light rod. By the end of the week I had stepped up to 12lb mainline and a 15lb hooklength as I lost a lot of fish with the hooklengths snapping. I suspect this is due to the hooklength being so short and will look at fishing a fixed feeder with elastic running through it to act as a shock absorber.
The rig that could be the future using elastic as a shock absorber
I caught rohu on maize (both plastic sweetcorn and real maize), chunks of steak, luncheon meat, chilli boilies, custard boilies and worm but by far the most effective was dog biscuits - they appear to love them. If I fished worm on the hook I caught a tilapia every cast with fish to almost one pound.  What became apparent was that as the tilapia got used to the dog biscuits I was catching more and more. By the end of the week I was catching as many tilapia as rohu on dog biscuit.  They have a very annoying habit of stripping the bait off the hook and I will experiment  by making some very hard biscuit-sized boilies, using ground biscuits  as the base.
Fine rohu I could have looked a tad more enthusiastic or less simple
MY best day on this set up produced two carp at 12lb and 15 lb plus 21 rohu to 8lb with a sprinkling of tilapia. Total weight with the addition of another carp about 18lb on one of my other rigs was over 100 lb (50kg). On another day I landed 27 Rohu to around 6lb and over 40 tilapia. By any standards that is fantastic fishing and highlights the potential of KRS.  Fish were returned on all but one day on which the big boss-man, the leaseholder for the fishing rights, called us to say he wanted some rohu for his party that night.We had no choice but to oblige.

A couple of tips on fishing the dog biscuit: I like to maximise the time my hook is in the water so a little bit of prior planning helps. In advance I drill enough biscuits for a days fishing  and load up baiting needles so that reloading the hair rig is instant. Instead of fiddling with boilie stops or small pieces of twig I tie a bait band on to the hair instead of a loop. This then pulls through the biscuit -with the baiting needle, when stretched  and holds inside the  biscuit, keeping it on the  hair. I also tie up a dozen hooks lengths in advance so that in the event of getting snapped or snagged the new one can be tied on straight away. I always like to have everything I will need within reach ( not just  because a I am very lazy) and like to sit down as you will always fish more effectively if you are comfortable and know where everything is .

Another rohu finds its way into the keepnet , note I enjoy fishing with everything to hand it makes life so much easier

I would like to thank Joe for making my Xmas and New Year and I can only suggest that the camp and the fishing are going to be a huge success. I was fed, watered and entertained splendidly. Jowra the chef kept a constant supply of breakfast omelets and cold beers coming to the water’s edge and evenings were spent eating good food (beer can chicken is something to behold) and there was plenty of fishing talk.
I will always play around because I love to catch fish and the rohu sport at KRS is fantastic but the main attraction is that it is so big and therefore unexploited, The next bite could always be a monster.  So far we have merely scratched the surface and on my return I will concentrate on the bigger fish (well, maybe just one day on the match tactics). However when Joe starts his fishing competitions with up to a lac (£1200) up for grabs, decisions will have to be made. Do I sit it out for big fish (one carp is worth about eight rohu), fish dog biscuit for rohu and the occasional tilapia or just simply go for  an all-out tilapia attack on the float and worm?  Whatever I do way lots of fish will be caught. I look forward to my return in about three weeks as I am now back at work (if you’re still reading boss !!) 


  1. Brilliant stuff! a man with a passion, nice one Pete!


  2. I've just read this again myself after adapting it for posting on here. Its a brilliant read. I've advised Pete to get his own blog as he's showing me up!

  3. Aw the best thing you are doing. But do come up with some company i means take your's friends and family. then you will enjoy alot.
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  4. I like the contents of this blog. I must say do enjoy the fishing trip with Fishing in Dubai

  5. Nice post. i really enjoyed going through it. it reminds me of me experience before. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. nice post, but fishing rohu s very simple, they usually caught by themselves .better try catching catla one of the biggest carp species of India and it seems there must b some good size of them in KRS. thanks ...happy fishing