Saturday, December 15, 2012

Darran can…. fish light in Lanka

What can you do fishing wise from the centre of the city, most times you have to travel to get away from it all, to the open space, the water, the forest, the silence and peace, the sense of calmness that being outdoors brings.
Not here really you can be fishing an hour out of Colombo if the traffic lets you that is!! One of the largest inland brackish water systems in the country is close and does it have fish, the answer is yes, from Mangrove Jack to Ox-eye Tarpon and of course it is a heaven for Barramundi, with its numerous fish locks. Light tackle heaven… for sure, imagine pulling one of these feisty fish on a fly rod.
Another nice Mangrove jack taken near structure on light tackle, and they make a super fillet too.
Damith with another Barramundi, I do have something to learn, I did get the solid hit a couple of times but it did not materialize into the Barramundi, I will be back… for another go, not revenge but another try, I do feel that this is fishing and you learn as you go along, its not about catching but the art of deceiving a fish with a lure that keeps me coming back for more.
And if you do not want to cast all day, you could also troll for Barramundi in the huge expanse of water as the picture below shows some friends having fun with Barramundi caught trolling.
Lets try the river-mouth says Damith to me one day there is fish to be had, what kind I ask and he says all kinds but mainly Barramundi, GT and Barracuda, hectic packing and we set off in convoy loaded up to spend the night out (camping style), I am happy to give light tackle a go after ages so my Smith KGS and Twinpower with PE 3 are the go to today
All set up on the river mouth.. waiting…. for signs of fish the tide will signal.
Life… feeding, the mullet are jumping, there is a threadfin too.., pulse is racing, take a deep breath and cast, twitch, twitch, on, again and again furious action
The action last as long as the mullet try to enter the river mouth then tapers off only to start again the next morning
Timing the waves and making sure you have good footwear that will grip well on the jagged barnacles is essential, this is great fun especially trying to get your lure into the action that is always just further than it needs to be.
Dusk is Barramundi time and soon Damith play and lands a nice one, super eating they are too, few places are left today that offer such a variety of fishing options, inshore, offshore, lagoon and river.
Knackered after casting all day, where we landed small GT’s, threadfin and Barramaundi, we set down to dine on fresh fish, Lanka style…. spicy yes yes YES, but super delicious and exchange stories, discuss life and generally have a good time as the Brits say “taking the piss”
Memories and stories to cherish for always…. back again soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The road to Krinda


We packed up the land-cruiser full, the boat was already on its way it had left Colombo earlier with the crew and headed for the Southern Expressway to Galle, this is a super highway, a scenic drive that almost puts you to sleep if it were not for the scenery of rubber and palm oil plantations that border most of the 100 plus km drive, look out for Iguanas, star tortoises and peacocks as they abound here.

Once off the expressway you are in Galle the, if were not time strapped you could take in a look around the fort or just keep driving as there is so much to see, the pretty beachside town of Unawatuna. I get numerous glimpses of the sea as we drive along, there is no evidence of the devastating tsunami that destroyed the tows all along the coast in Dec 2004, towns like like Tangalle and Matara are back to normal, so different from my last visit here in 2007.


Some places along the route scream GT, I say to my self be calm Darran and enjoy the view, lets see what it is like first.


Once you are out of busy Colombo the pace seems to get slower and more rustic, I enjoy the sights especially the numerous shrines that you pass as you drive along.



Mainly Buddhist in culture the peaceful atmosphere is present all around.


The view of the sea almost 270 degrees at Dondra Head


A light-house I remember well from my days of navigating oil tankers to and fro the Persian Gulf, Dondra Head, a navigation mark visible for miles out at sea.


Up goes the pulse rate again, I think of what maybe around, looking at a place like the one above, I want to fish….. like now!!!


I took this interesting picture of a local fisherman, what many may wonder is he doing so close to the shore, seated on a perch, what could he possibly catch? This friends is a secret of Sri Lanka, the sardines come close to the rocky shore, huge schools of them sometime like a moving blanket of black living mass, to escape being out in the open and thus safe from predators, they will hug the shore. So this local is picking them off expertly, sometimes hundreds a day from his perch, he sometimes also gets lucky with small GT’s or Queenies that come into the shallow chasing them.


We pass through the 3000 year old town of Tissamaharama, full of archaeological remains, what was this I wonder, but unfortunately there is nothing to tell me more about this stone structure


Or this which may have been a meeting place for discourses on religion or ……


This huge Stupa structure in Tissa built in the 3rd century BC is one on the largest and 16 most most sacred site for Buddhist pilgrims in Sri Lanka is unmistakeable as you drive by.


Our lean mean GT machine has arrived at Krinda, paperwork and off-loading, I am getting closer to a water.


Fishing boats at Krinda harbour, the boat is offloaded, paperwork done, we are almost set to wet a line.


This large peacock our morning alarm clock, one of hundreds we saw, seen mainly in the jungles of India it was bit surprising to see them all over Sri Lanka.

Tomorrow is d-day…

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sri Lanka here we come….

Sometime in June this year I received a call to come and visit Sri Lanka with the possibility to set up an operation for sport-fishing concentrating on popping and jigging, our forte.
More discussions a bit of research and the search for a suitably rigged boat and I was soon a flight to Colombo. First impressions were that getting into Sri Lanka was surprisingly simple, no hassles and well organized, getting through customs was a breeze as well although they wanted to know what was in my Bazooka rod tube….
That done I was off on my way to Colombo, a well developed and clean city with Damith who will be my host and partner with us at Sea Fishing India in this trial venture, our meeting is interesting as he likes to make his own lures and being an avid fisherman he tells me stories of big GT’s that have been caught both by local fisherman and the members of the angling club from Colombo.
A visit to see the boat and what kind of modifications it would need to make it a hunting machine. Just what is needed.


With the boat being sorted out I set off to take in some of the sights around Colombo, my base and the capital of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is a mainly Buddhist country although other religions do also happily co-exist, you will find many shrines around Sri Lanka including the famous Buddhist temple that contains the “tooth relic”.


If you like to do a little more than just fish there is great potential to explore the country that has almost everything from beaches to hill country covered with tea gardens, steeped in history from the time of the “Ramanaya”, a land inspired by Buddhism that went through the colonial era and then through almost 30 years of civil strife, to a now modern culture Sri Lanka offers the traveller a multitude of things to do.


Oriental influence at a Buddhist Temple at Colombo

The Colombo Museum a reminder of the Colonial Era


The War Memorial for allied soldiers

Independence Square

The Modern Parliament Building in Sri Lanka

The memorial to the Singhalese Soldiers from the many years of civil strife.

I cant wait to get out fishing after meeting a few local anglers who are also friends now, we wait and wait for the boat to get ready and all of us know how long that takes, oh and I must add the cuisine available is fantastic, spicy but great, there are also a great number of options for those who do not want to try local fare, so you could have any flavour of meal you like in Colombo, as well as easily get around or enjoy the night life and have a beer.