Archive | April, 2013

Day 4 – One Mahseer in Mind

Yesterday was a confidence crushing day.  Ten miles of hiking, at least a thousand casts, 100º temperature and I acquired some sort of respiratory issue and not a damn bite.  To make things worse, this respiratory thing advanced last night and has me gasping for air and coughing like I have emphysema.  It’s a real bummer and somewhat scary when you think about where we are.


All that said and I have a job to do – catch a big mahseer.  Two days ago the 9lber was a huge victory.  But I’m never satisfied.  Mahseer get a hell of a lot bigger and I want bigger.  At 4:45 AM I was up without an alarm re-rigging my Ross rod and reel.  I checked my fly line for nicks and put on a new straight 20lb leader and a Misty tied sculpin type fly.  The hook was deadly-fresh-sharp and the metal felt sturdy enough it wouldn’t bend.  Once rigged, I straightened up to inhale the air.  Man was I aching.  My hips, back, casting shoulder and the rest of me are wrecked.  My vision isn’t its normal eagle-eye self and my skin is tight and cracking under pressure from this intense sun.  India is taking its toll.


Nothing will ever stop me from fishing.  After we slammed some coffee, Chris Patterson and I began an unhurried two mile hike to the confluence where the Saryu River meets the massive Mahakali.  I moved slowly with pain but soon the amazing sites of colorful locals, amazing birds and scenery took it away.  Best of all, I felt the presence of a big hungry golden mahseer entering the Saryu.


The Saryu River is now crystal clear and the Mahakali River is roaring five feet higher than when we arrived four days ago.  The Mahakali is so gray with sediment you could stand on it.  My theory was that the mahseer should be smelling the clear water of the Saryu and moving in with smiles on their faces.  If only they would be hungry.


I eased my way into the water 100 yards above the exact confluence.  Chris hiked up to the temple and hung with the baba and some pilgrims and set up his tripod to shoot the scene for the movie Waypoints.  Cautiously I eased out my casts adding a long strip of line each time.  I was methodically fishing every inch of water, especially that close to me to be sure not to spook any nearby mahseer. 


Unlike when I woke up, now I had fantastic confidence.  I still sensed a large scaled fish nearby.  My feeling was he was under the mud line where the two rivers meet.  But I wasn’t going to rush down there.  I continued to systematically work my way there with every cast.

An hour of prime time passed and not a bump.  Finally, I could reach the mud line where the Saryu and Mahakali meet.  It wasn’t an easy cast with sinking running line wavering in the current below me but with a loop around every finger I ripped the long one.  Sometimes you just know when it’s going to happen.  When the sculpin fly landed I tossed an arms length of slack downstream and let my fly swing.  As mahseer often do, one gave my fly a soft touch, then he came back and absolutely crushed it – FISH ON! 


Of course two days ago I hooked a big fish upstream 50 feet and he took me down the Saryu into the Mahakali and that was it – bent hook and sad times.  Now I had the gall to cast into the Mahakali and hook a fish.  When I struck I could feel the weight of the golden fish.  He was heavy.  Rather then lay the wood to him I took it easy.  He was distraught but evidently he didn’t want to enter the Mahakali, instead he started up the Saryu. 


Once he was up a ways I started to fight him.  I knocked him off balance and he surged further upstream just like I hoped.  But then the distressed mahseer had a change in plan, as if he knew his only escape was back into the oversized Mahakali.  By now Misty arrived and was charging down to help. 


I won’t bore you with five paragraphs about the fight but I’ll tell you this.  When this big boy headed down and out into the oversized Mahakali I had a slim to no chance of landing him.  But I am determined like no other.  Despite Misty’s pleas for me not to go near the mouth of the Saryu, I charged down exactly to the dangerous spot and stood my ground.  A slip or a trip and I’d go down the Mahakali with my mahseer most likely never to be seen again.


A miracle happened this morning, one I’ll take.  I landed a huge golden mahseer on film. Chris got the cast, the hook up, the fight, the pilgrims who were my audience, me wading brainlessly where no human should stand, underwater stuff and you name it.  He’s the best in the business and I guess I’m the luckiest fly fisherman in the world today.  Waypoints has a big mahseer in its India segment!


To put the difficulty of this fish in perspective, that was the only bite we had all day.  Yes, indeed after I released this fish, I took a short breather and started fishing again.  That’s right – I’m never satisfied!


Being filmed doesn’t allow me to take pics.  A SPECIAL THANKS is in order to Jim Klug and Chris Patterson of Confluence Films who not only brought me on this trip but also provided most of the blog photos.
Again, please toss my old hotmail email address that I can no longer check and let’s reconnect at      THANKS!

Day 3 – Burning up on the Saryu

Our camp is no less than spectacular here on the banks of the Saryu River. This morning I fished right in front (look very carefully you’ll see me on bottom left and tops of our tents behind).  It’s a beautiful pool but in two hours I never touched a fish. 

Our original itinerary for this trip had us packing and floating out of the Saryu and down the Mahakali River today.  But the Mahakali keeps getting grayer and grayer from snowmelt at its headwaters in Tibet.  That being said, we made a group decision to remain on the Saryu for three more days.  We love this spot but we’re all a little disappointed as we are curious as to what the float down will bring.  We’ll just have to wait.

To change things up, Misty informed us we would fish upstream today and rest the confluence where we’ve been fishing the first two days.  That was a welcomed call and after breakfast off we went. 

The runs and pools upstream looked spectacular.  We intended to hike up for
an hour then fish down, but the water looked so good we hiked for about two hours and perhaps five miles one way.  By the time we got started it was scorching hot and swinging flies in waist deep water was a dream.  That is when we started.  Two hours, four hours and five hours later, without even a touch from a mahseer it lost its charm.  Fishing absolutely stunk today! 

By the amount of water we covered it’s amazing that the only fish caught was a small mahseer by Whitney.  But that’s the truth.  There were signs of local anglers and that may be the problem.  I found several set lines and even some pieces of a net.  It’s the way of the world I’m afraid.


In addition to the tough fishing we took on too much hiking for such hot conditions.  I’ll bet it was a ten miler in and out of the water over rocks in wading shoes.  It was a grunt.  We returned to camp tonight exhausted and ended up sitting in the river for about an hour after dark just cooling off. 


It’s back to the confluence tomorrow where we’ve proven to ourselves that there are some big mahseer.  Perhaps I can get revenge on the one that got away. 

Being filmed doesn’t allow me to take pics.  A SPECIAL THANKS is in order to Jim Klug and Chris Patterson of Confluence Films who not only brought me on this trip but also provided most of the blog photos. 

Again, please toss my old hotmail email address that I can no longer check and let’s reconnect at      THANKS! 

Day 2 – Misty Dhillon, Master of the Golden Mahseer

I met Misty Dhillon back in 2006.  We’d both heard of each other prior to that day.  I learned of him when I was desperately searching for mahseer info for my first trip to India back in 2002.  I found little bleeps about mahseer and this dude named Misty on the internet.  I made an effort to seek him out but never got through.


When I got back from that three month long grueling adventure I wrote about the trip – posting much about the journey on my website and also in magazine articles.  Misty stumbled onto my writing and learned about me.  In 2006 Misty found himself in California only to see that I was speaking at the Sportsmen’s Exposition so he tracked me down.
Misty and I hit it off during the visit at the Show.  He invited me to come back to India to fish with him.  He promised me a golden mahseer on the fly.  The generous invitation sounded swell, but to me, India was a “been there done that” place. A return trip had slim to no chance.

Misty and I kept in touch and built up a friendship.  All the while he was fly fishing his butt off for mahseer learning more and more about the tactics for catching them.  He also launched his company, The Himalayan Outback, which is now the top outfit in the world for catching a mahseer on the fly.  Quite frankly, Misty is perhaps the leading authority on fly fishing for golden mahseer.  Like it was meant to be, in 2008 we found ourselves chasing mahseer together on the Ramganga River.


And five years later, here we are again.  Early this morning Misty and I hiked directly back to the confluence of the Saryu River to the Mahakali River.  We rousted six mahseer here last night so this morning we hoped for more.  The Saryu was much clearer than yesterday.  And the mahseer were much spookier as well.  At least I gather that because despite numerous rolling mahseer we only landed two, Misty landed another small one and I lucked into a 9lber.


My jet lag is gone and my mind is back to normal, normal enough that I can absorb some of the sites around me.  The temple at the confluence is fantastic.  Colorful flags blow in the wind everywhere.  Monkeys own the rooftops and pilgrims trickle in on foot all day long.  The baba, (keeper of the temple) is the ultimate character.  This man looks rough.  In fact this man looks awful.  But he’s taken a liking to watching us fly fish and while some of the pilgrims want to kick us out, baba tells them to let us be.


Across from the mouth of the Saryu River, across to the other side of the even grayer Mahakali River is Nepal.  The Mahakali is the actual border between Nepal and India.  If you look at a map now with this in mind you can see exactly where we are.  It’s literally one of the most remote regions on Earth.


I mentioned briefly yesterday that mahseer are good fighters.  I’ll reiterate that.  Mahseer are one of the toughest fighting fish in freshwater.  Not only are they steroid strong, they know where every rock, submerged tree and funky whitewater currents are as well.  The 9lb fish I caught today cunningly ran straight out of the Saryu River into the raging Mahakali.  Landing him was a chore to say the least and somewhat risky for me as I waded right up to the edge of the roaring gray Mahakali.  I had to in order to lean on and steer my hefty mahseer back to me, but one slip or trip on a shifting rock and I’d be on my way down the Mahakali.  I’m not sure the end result would be good. 


Speaking of falling in and things not being good for me, we named one of our fishing spots today, “Dead Mans Bar”.  As Whitney and I were walking along a run on the Saryu we found a body.  In the US it would be yellow tape investigation and headline news.  Here it’s just some poor sole that must have drown upstream and rolled down.  The person is nothing more than a partially clothed mostly decomposed skeleton.  It really makes you think for a minute.


Chris and Jim got great footage of today’s mahseer.  As for landing a bigger mahseer on camera this week – I doubt it will happen here.  About an hour after releasing the 9lber I hooked into a fish that will undoubtedly haunt me to my grave.  I’ve been schooled before by big fish, but this beast took “schooling” to a new level.  Not once was I in control of this fish and he too ran out and down the Mahakali River.  I had no choice but to clamp down with both hands or run out of backing.  It will be a nice clip for the film – screaming reel and crackling line leaving.  But in my attempt to stop him, the fish straightened a saltwater hook and will not be participating in Waypoints.


In two days we’ve fished and hiked our butts off.  I got in shape for this trip but nonetheless it’s punishing.  There’s’ no doubt temps surpassed 100° today.  And the up and down in a set of heavy wading shoes (definitely necessary) – you’re never in good enough shape.  Most importantly however, we got a lot of great footage for the movie and the 9lb mahseer looks fantastic.  Tomorrow it’s back after it bright and early.


Being filmed doesn’t allow me to take pics.  A SPECIAL THANKS is in order to Jim Klug and Chris Patterson of Confluence Films who not only brought me on this trip but also provided most of the blog photos.
Again, please toss my old hotmail email address that I can no longer check and let’s reconnect at      THANKS!

Day 1 – Fly Fishing for Mahseer

The songs from an impressive number of bird species awoke me at 5 AM.  Still tired from the grueling trip around the world I was confused.  Those weren’t the robins singing in my backyard – where the heck was I?  Then it hit me and the excitement of awaking in India took hold.  I burst from the tent and there it was – the valley of the Saryu River near the village of Pancheshwar– home of the golden mahseer.


There was just enough daylight to see that this rugged terrain is stunning.  I let out a “Wow!”  I’m sharing a tent with Chris and he dashed out to see.  He took one quick look and dug for his camera.  It was time to start filming this segment for Waypoints.  While Chris used the early light to film scenery I scouted the Saryu River 

The first thing you think of when you look at the Saryu is a steelhead river.  There are long waist deep runs that pour into swirling pools.  The tail-outs are too deep and fast to wade across.  Today the river was slightly muddy because of a major thunderstorm that occurred yesterday.  This is always alarming as if it gets much worse it will be  chocolate, however, on my last trip I caught a 15lb mahseer on the Ramganga River when it was like cake batter. 


Two miles downstream the Saryu meets the mighty Mahakali River, a sacred river that separates India from Nepal.  Although we plan to fish the Mahakali later in our trip, today it was gray from yesterday’s storm and possibly Himalayan snow melt.  Gray colored water is a step above chocolate and this could put a halt on fishing the Mahakali.  For now it’s not a concern as we’ll stay camped where we are now and fish the Saryu for two full days.


By 7 AM the sun was up and the heat was flowing.  Average temps hover in the mid 90s this time of year in north India.  Yes it’s hot, but mahseer are jungle fish – they love hot so this week we will too.   After Misty’s camp staff served us a delicious breakfast I got to work setting up my mahseer fly rods.   

Westerner fly fishers know little about mahseer so I’ll fill you in.   Mahseer are basically carp like fish.  Don’t think of them as some city dwelling grass carp however, these guys thrive in the clean waters of roaring Himalayan Rivers.  There are many species of mahseer, this week we’ll be fishing for the golden mahseer. 


Mahseer are considered one of the most difficult to catch game fish on the planet.  I’ll attest to that.  This is my third trip for them and everything about them is extreme.  They are difficult to get to, almost impossible to fool and IF you’re lucky enough to hook one, good luck.  These fish are like tarpon only they have the rapids offering additional help.  I’ve landed three big ones – two 15lbers and a 27lber.  Those fish took like 50,000 casts!   

I use a 9-weight; in fact I’ll be using my Ross RX.  I have my classic sturdy Ross Momentum LT reel armed with a Scientific Angler Tropic Express 250 grain sinking line.  I should be able to swing and strip flies right in front of mahseers stubby noses.  Last, I’m fishing my standard level two streamer rig and it’s of straight 20lb mono.  Nothing fancy – just a big fish rig.  If I hook a giant the hook will bend on my fly before the line breaks.  And mahseer don’t eat big flies – I’ll be using various streamers sizes 2 – 6.  Brown has proven to be the best color for me and Misty also. 


Once rigged Misty led us downstream fishing.  We fished the primmest looking spots all the way to the confluence with the Mahakali and at 2 PM wandered back to camp.  We are 12 hours ahead here so even though it was 8 AM it still feels like 8 PM.  It generally takes me three days to adjust.  Nonetheless, casting a long line with moving water around my feet was exhilarating even though we never touched a fish all the morning.


After our lunch break Misty had us hoof it directly back down to the confluence pool.  This is his favorite spot for evening claiming some very large mahseer often move in from the Mahakali River at night.  Our walk to this spot is about two miles.  So we’d already done four in the morning session.  That doesn’t add in the zigzagging around the river.  Still doesn’t seem like a big deal but trust me, with some heavy jet lag another round trip down was strenuous. 


Luckily the hike has numerous incredible sites along the way.  First off, there are no roads here so we travel on ancient rock paths.  They are absolutely incredible.  These paths actually weave all through the Himalaya Foothills from Pakistanto Bhutan.  The most modern site here is an incredible suspension bridge that crosses high above the Saryu above the confluence that is literally hundreds of years old.


The locals you pass and meet along the way are extraordinary as well.  India is colorful in the way people dress.  The women all wear bright colored dresses with glittering stones and eye catching jewelry.  They are beautiful people.  And the land is covered in small sacred places including a major temple at the confluence hole.


The best news is that we stuck some mahseer tonight.  I landed four – three little guys and one respectable five pounder – just enough action to raise our confidence.  Misty and Whitney each landed one.  If we keep our flies in the water there’s no doubt we’ll hook a pig.


We fished till it was black dark then turned on our headlamps and hiked back to camp.  It was a slow walk.  I felt like a 90 year old.  Then the usual, a great dinner with a few beers around camp.  Misty and his Himalayan Outback team really know how to make guest comfortable even in the remotest of settings.


Tomorrows plan is up at 5 for coffee and directly to the confluence.  I’m feeling a nice fish for tomorrow. 

Being filmed doesn’t allow me to take pics.  A SPECIAL THANKS is in order to Jim Klug and Chris Patterson who not only brought me on this trip but also provided most of the blog photos.


Again, please toss my old hotmail email address that I can no longer check and let’s reconnect at      THANKS! 

Travel to the Himalayan Foothills of India

It doesn’t matter how tired you are in India, when its time to move you do.  Despite little sleep and over 70 hours of travel, this morning I bounced from bed at 3:30 AM to depart our hotel here in Delhi, India for the chaotic train station.  We were headed for the Himalayan foothills of northern India for golden mahseer.


One last time, I’m in India because I’m being filmed for a segment for Confluence Films next movie, Waypoints.  In the past five years Confluence Films has released three highly acclaimed fly fishing movies, Drift, Rise and Connect.  In Connect, most of you remember I was fly fishing for tigerfish in Tanzania.  This time I’ll be fishing with my friend Misty Dhillon, owner of the Himalayan Outback, for a rare fish called the golden mahseer.


The masterminds behind these movies are executive producer Jim Klug and director/cinematographer Chris Patterson.  Jim is the founder and director of operations for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures and a long time friend. Chris is known for his stunning visuals and unparalleled camera work in numerous action sports. He has been the director/cinematographer of the Warren Miller Ski Films feature films for twenty five years and has numerous other projects including all of the lead camera work for the winter action scenes in the blockbuster DiCaprio movie, Inception.


In addition to Jim and Chris we have along another friend, Whitney McDowell, of Bozeman, Montana.  I’ve known Whitney for years as she once lived in Jackson, Wyoming and was a frequent visitor to the fly shop I ran.  Whitney was always searching the latest hot fishing locations not just around home but also worldwide.  Golden mahseer is another fish she’d like to add to her already long list.


We arrived at the Delhi Train Station at 5:30 AM in darkness amongst thousands of people.  If you’ve not been to India, this experience is like nothing you can imagine.  It’s utter confusion – people yelling, pointing, and rattling at you in Hindu.  Many want to move your bags for you and you better be careful.  Drop your guard and your bags could be gone for good.  Others want you out of the way.  They’ll push you or run you over in a tuk-tuk.  You can let it terrorize you or kick back and enjoy it.  I keep my game face on and relish in the foreign adventure.  Fortunately Misty provided us a guide to literally help us get on the correct train for the city of Kathgodam.  Once settled on board with our heaps of luggage our train was off.


You would expect I’d kick back and sleep at this point, especially being this was a six hour train ride and I was dog-tired, but that’s impossible.  India simply blows your mind.  You can’t sleep.  In fact I never even sat in my seat.  I hung outside between the train cars and watched as the sun rose.  I people watched.  I literally hung off the train sniffing, tasting and watching the day come to life – so many colors, so many people – hard to explain.  My view was spectacular!


Six hours later we arrived at Kathgodam, a city at the end of the rail in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains.  Misty met us as we exited the train and immediately filed us into a mini van for an eight hour drive north east.  It was a windy rough road the entire way that began with constant threats of head-ons with trucks and local buses that ended straddling cliffs where if our van driver dozed we could have easily plunged a 1000 feet.  Again we were so tired we should have slept, but the continuous sights and scenery of India were too exhilarating.


At 9 PM we arrived on the banks of the Saryu River.  We tromped down a steep hill in inky darkness and sloshed on to a raft with our gear.  Then a member of Misty’s camp staff rowed us across and led us to our tents.  A near 90 hours of travel came to an end.  Delirious, we slumped around the fire for food and beer while Misty and his staff filled us in on the rules of camp and the itinerary for our next ten days.  We will be awoken to coffee and breakfast at 5 AM.  I can’t wait to see where the hell we are!

Photos will improve and likely be updated with better ones later this week. I’m still in India with flickering electricity.  Because I was being filmed I took few pics however Jim and Chris will help me out here soon.

Again, please toss my old hotmail email address that I can no longer check and let’s reconnect at      THANKS!

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

Incredible India

The A quick reminder for those who have not been on the blog lately – I’m in India doing a segment for Confluence Films next movie, “Waypoints”.  I’ll be fishing with my good Indian Friend Misty Dhillon, owner of Himalayan Outback and expert on fly fishing for mahseer.


We arrived at 1:30 AM India time today.  By the time we got to our hotel in Delhi if was 3:30 AM.  Then of course in the US it was 3:30 PM so we were a bit wired even though we should have been tired and we stayed up to 5 AM over few celebratory arrival beers and snacks at the hotel bar.  Then we slept a mere three hours and went on an all day tour of Delhi, which even though I’ve toured plenty of times throughout India, the tour was excellent.  India never fails to AMAZE.


Tomorrow we make a 7 hour train ride north to the base of the Himalaya’s, then a long jeep ride to where we begin a 10 day float trip.  If all goes well we will begin fishing for mahseer tomorrow evening.  The only bad news I have for you is the blog will go dry here till I’m out of the backcountry as I will have no computer access the entire trip.  But – we’ll post day by day when I get back.  Enjoy today’s photos of some crazy parade we lucked into along with some great scenery around the city.



Again, please toss my old hotmail email address that I can no longer check and let’s reconnect at      THANKS!


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

About Half Way There

We are in Amsterdam for a few hours before our last eight hour flight to India.  We arrive there at 1:30 AM India time – so Thursday morning. It’s a gorgeous day here and I wish we had time to hit the town but we best not. Instead we hammered down some delicious Euro breakfast treats and now we’re on to some morning Heinekens. Life is good.  More from Delhi tomorrow.

Remember – I can not receive email at my Hotmail any longer – please change my address over to

Thanks Simms!

Just waiting around to fly out to India this morning here in Bozeman, Montana.  To use up the time I made a visit to Simms Fishing Products. Simms is a top sponsor of Confluence Films fly fishing projects.  That’s great news for me and I loaded up on great sun protective clothing, waterproof bags and etc for the film and trip.  After I got graciously lined out my long time friend and Simms employee Diane Bristol gave me the full tour of their new facility.  Simms is no less than amazing these days!

Time to catch a plane.

Remember, my hotmail email address is no longer in service.  DO NOT SEND email there.  My new one is  Please reconnect – THANKS

The journey to India started at 3:30 PM today with a drive up to Bozeman, Montana to meet the Confluence Filmteam.  We actually fly out tomorrow afternoon from Bozo to Minneapolis than take the redeye to Amsterdam.  Then on Wednesday we fly from Amsterdam to Delhi, India.  I should check back in then – barring no internet troubles.  Otherwise I could be two weeks before you hear from me again.
The first leg was a wonderful drive from Victor to Bozo.  There was a lot of wildlife including bighorn sheep around Raynolds Pass and the Quake area of the Madison.  Here’s a photo of one of my favorite August haunts – QuakeLake.

Again, please toss my old hotmail email address that I can no longer check and let’s reconnect at      THANKS!

Packed for India

Tomorrow afternoon I leave for India.  I’m packed and ready.  This will be my third trip to India.  This trip is special because we are making a segment for Confluence Films next movie, “Waypoints” with one of my great Indian friends, Misty Dhillon.  Misty is the owner and founder of the Himalayan Outback


Most of you remember Confluences last movie, “Connect”, where I was the lucky guy fly fishing for giant Tanzania Tigerfish in Africa.  I was fortunate not only to catch numerous tigerfish but also catch this monster.  India will be much more challenging because we will be fly fishing for a much more difficult gamefish, the golden mahseer.

My first trip for mahseer (there are many species) was with Granny in 2002.  Granny and I traveled by buses and trains all over Nepal and India.  It was the most difficult trip or our lives and we didn’t get into fish until the last week of our THREE MONTH trip.  Neither of us landed a big one on fly but we did dredge this silver mahseer out of the Cauvery River on the famous ragi.


After that trip we decided that India stands for I Never Do It Again.  I was wrong.  In 2008 I met Misty and he invited me back.  In ten days I landed three large mahseer including this IGFA Catch and Release Record of 27lbs.


But read in to this – two trips, one extensive, and only three big mahseer landed.  These fish are rare, don’t take flies well and when you have the good fortune of a hook up their strength is shocking.  They usually get away.
It only takes one fish to make an incredible segment and Misty and I will do our best to put at least one beast on film.  This trip is a ten day float on the Mahakali River which separates India from Nepal.  This should be an extraordinary adventure.
As always I will post my day by day accounts of the trip here on the blog.  But as usual, this fishing is so remote that I won’t have internet and most stories and pics will post upon my return.
Once again, I lost my hotmail email yesterday – I lost everything – email and addresses.  It seems Microsoft thought I was a spammer because I was emailing my quarterly mailer.  I did send it to a lot of folks!  Anyhow, if you emailed me this weekend or ever again to my hotmail I will never see it. 
Please email me at to reconnect with me ASAP!