by Marisa Ippolito
I was recently fishing for golden Mahseer (a member of the carp/Barbel family that grows to over 100 pounds and lives in the Asian River systems) in India amongst the splendor of the Himalayan foothills. We were warned that a man-eating tiger was in the area and had already killed two young village children nearby.
As I was camped by the river, I was being very cautious, and admittedly just a little a bit concerned! Folklore says that a tiger will attack you from behind, where it cannot see your face. When lure fishing for Mahseer, if there is no action for a while, the best thing is to change to another plug to entice the Mahseer with this new offering. Usually while doing so I would keep one eye on the river while changing over to watch for fish movement. However, this day, having heard about the roaming tiger, I decided to keep my back to the river in order to keep one eye on the car-sized boulders directly behind me and on the jungle behind them!
All of a sudden, there was a lot of splashing in the river and I turned to see large fins moving behind a large rock 10 yards away! I was excited and concentrating hard on watching the fish and trying to quickly change the lure. Without warning, I heard the most blood-curdling growl behind me. I stopped dead and froze! In one second flat I jumped and turned around, dropping the lure, and was almost ready to take my chances by throwing myself backwards into the dangerously fast rapids in an attempt to escape if I had to!
Scanning my surroundings, and hearing only my own heartbeat, I suddenly saw a little head pop up from a behind a large boulder about 20 yards from me. The smile on that face was stretched from ear to ear. The smile soon fell when I, in a rage (mainly from the shock of the moment) screamed at him, “Of all the B**!^!@@’s !!” My Indian friend, who had worked in the jungles of Assam in his lifetime, seemed to know very well how to imitate the growl of a tiger; however, he now bolted off running down through the rocks shouting something about his fear of ‘a woman scorned’!
I never did see a tiger, but did catch a beautiful golden Mahseer, and was the only one of us on that trip to do so! Well deserved, I thought!