Angling as a sport is picking up in Goa, drawing aficionados from all sections of society, finds out Shoma Patnaik
ome monsoons and lovers of fishing in Goa ready themselves for a tryst with their favorite sport - angling. You can spot them in water front areas, contemplating life with their backs to the people, holding a long rod that extends right into the water while the rest of us hurry about our work. Behind the youth hostel, in Campal, there are at least four anglers these mornings. Sitting still as statues, they don’t seem to have caught anything, but are unconcerned about it.
Although October-March is supposed to be the best time for fishing according to trawler owners, individuals with bait and tackle in hand, make their presence felt more in the rains. On reasons, says, Rainon Fernandez, a college student from Calangute, "In the rainy season the seas are rough, but there are lots of fish. It is also the breeding season, so we can be sure of catching at least two-three fish whenever we set out."
His older contemporary from Panaji, Mr Stephen Dias adds, "Fishing in the monsoons is lots of fun, we do not mind getting wet. On rainy Sundays you will find me in Dona Paula jetty where the surroundings are really peaceful without tourists." At a more prosaic level, his friend points out, "Perhaps we Goans take to the sport this period because fish is not available in the market and we cannot do without our fish-curry-rice."
However, each angler has his coveted spot. Says Mr Krishna Bent, a musician by profession based in Mapusa, "I like fresh water fishing, the place where I head out to is the river banks particularly at the borders of Goa-Maharashtra at the Tiracol river." While for collegiate Fernandez, the rocks on Sinquerim Beach, the bridges on the Mandovi and Zuari or in Colvale are the best places for angling.
Checking out the reasons why anglers like their sport is enlightening. It is a "nice way to spend time," says Mr Bent, and also a "great stress reliever and helps to think." On the other hand, student Fernandez, likes the sport because of the "thrill it offers" especially after "pulling out a big fish that has made you hold on for
Points out Mr Dais, "It teaches you patience and also requires expertise, preparing bait is tricky. Because for every fish, that you seek the bait has to be made different." Goa’s waters, he adds, are good for local varieties such as red snapper, silver fish and groupers, however these days it is difficult to reel in anything because of pollution.
As for the right time to fish, according to Mr Dais between tides is ideal, while others say the best time is at high tide when the waters are still and before the water starts receding.
With many residents interested in angling, the few shops selling fishing equipment find that their business is picking up with more customers dropping in for new rods and lines. Says, Mr Sandeep Bharney, owner, Bharney Stores, Panaji, "We are selling more rods over the years, with demand taking off from the month of June." Adding that, "In the past people imported rods from Japan or Germany, but now angling equipment is available in stores and not very costly as the entry of China has resulted in prices becoming more affordable."