Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 5:11 pm Post subject: Chittoor Fishy Escapades
The decision to go on a fishy trip was made during the Monthly meet at Ashwin's place. Everyone who made for the meet wanted to go on a trip although noone had a clue about where to go. Nearby rivers like Cheyyar and Palar were nothing but tons of sand.
After exploring various possibilities and running outta water bodies close by, we landed on a place near Chittoor called Kaigal suggested by a colleague (yes, I have started pestering them too now).
We initially thought we will identify a place and then inform rest of the Chennai folks about the trip but no concrete plans were possible. So we made it a recee trip considering we froze on the location the night before the trip and also decided to plan a full fledged collection trip in the near future.
Kaigal was supposed to be about 194 kms from Madras and is a waterfall and also a little known tourist destination (luckily). After a few reassurances on the perennial nature of the spot, we finalized it.
Since we had been to Andhra for a few trips, we were looking forward to collecting new species (Im sick of looking at the Rasbora Daniconius in my nets by the way) and also avoid villages with cuss words for names.
The 8 IAH members who were part of this recee were Bala (Bala_Kavi), Shankar (Shankar), Balaji (Shovelnose) ,Prasoon (Prasoon),Sai(fishysai),Ashwin(Mandragoran),Rajeswaran(Demon),Rajiv (Raven)
We had 2 concerns to begin with.
i)The water falls was very close to a reserve hence we might have been behind bars (not the fluids serving kind) even if we had collected a single Guppy and that would have sucked real bad.
ii)We got news that it had rained heavily in Chittor and hence visibility might be a problem.
We decided to go on with the trip come what may. 3:00 AM was when we wanted to leave and since it was a weekend, minds got high and time went unnoticed.
Prasoon and Bala the two 'Drivers' for the trip got up by 2:30 and started giving wake-up calls to everyone, Shankar who was joining from the other side of the city came to Bala's place by around 3:30 am... there were some delays but eventually we started at around 4:00 AM after a ciggy/tea break plus the
customary group photo.
L-R : Rajeshwaran,Balaji,Sai,Ashwin,Shankar,Bala,Rajiv and Prasoon behind the camera.
The journey was uneventful except for Bala trying to run over some simple village folk a few dozen times.
We also learnt never to trust distances locals told us cos they ranged from ‘its just 3 kms away’ to ’35 kms that way saaar’.
The road was very good right upto 1 Km from the water fall...we even forgot to have b'fast in the car.... After parking our car, we had to walk for about .5 km (thats what the locals told us again)
The trekkish walk would have been peaceful if it weren’t for some monkeys who had decided we had come collecting for them and ran straight for our food. Shankar suggested everyone walk closely and the monkeys stayed away from us (only for a brief while though)...
The first spot was dry and got everyone worried, but we kept walking further and soon we were able to hear the sound of waterfall....suddenly everyone
Started walking faster and soon we dropped the bags and split into smaller groups and started exploring the water... Ashwin was the last one to join
and before he could start fishing, monkeys started to come closer to the bags and he was forced to keep an eye on the bags...
A few pics of the landscape.
The water level was low but it was perfect for fishing... knee deep and crystal clear... we could spot tons of Garras,Puntius Sp,Guppies,Tilapias,Red Claw Shrimps and a Schistura Sp. This was the guy that really got us going and everyone was soon digging up every bit of leaf litter they could find to catch some more of them. No stone was left unturned, literally.
Most of us were used to finding only the L.Thermalis in the wild and hence there were quite some whoops of joy whenever someone netted the Schistura Sp.
Quite interestingly, there were a lotta fry found under the leaf litter as well and there were quite a few adults around. Left me wondering if they had spawned recently.
After fishing in the first spot till about 9:30, we felt we should search for other good spots.. Sai got down and located a good spot, it was a steep decend for about 30 feet and it was made tough by the slipper rocks ,the bags(eatables) and nets.
We netted some amazing D.Malabaricus at this spot. All of them were adults and hence we clicked a few pics and released them back. Prasoon's mosquito net proved to be very useful in this spot. That thing was straight outta Indiana Jones.
Puntius Bimacs were also found in plenty though almost all of them were juveniles.
A this point we split into 2 batches and started exploring the place. Most of the people were really keen on collecting the Guppies cos their colouration was quite amazing. Ranging from orange to violet patches (I suck at colors and dono if that’s a good enough range).
I collected the Guppies only cos I was sure the cats in my house would make quite a meal of them and I was quite right. It could have made for a really short film entitled 30 Guppies Plus A Few Puntius Gone in 60 Seconds.
A few fishy pics :
Red Claw Shrimp
Schistura Sp Im guessing. Under a lotta stress though.
Plant Id Please
Other species we saw but couldn take pics of :
We drifted quite further away from the main spot in desperation to net a few other species and found nothing different. The same Garras and some very nicely coloured Danios.
On our way back however, I saw these humongous fish that were darting on the bottom but had no idea what they were. The water was already murky (thanks to our Godzilla like movements) and hence, sighting them again proved to be an impossibility.
Throughout the trip, I had only one goal. Spot/Catch/Drool At the catfish found there and I wasn’t able to spot any. Im guessing it was too upstream for any Mystus Sp. Anyone know any instances of Glyptothorax Sp occuring in these regions???
The others were able to get a few kilos of moss which was thriving under a waterfall... we are not sure if this can be grown under water... right now they are kept in a shallow tray.
Soon everyone started to get hungry and they took breaks from fish collection to grab something to eat... it was very clear that we will not be able to explore further and the fish we had already collected would require a water change soon. Shankar,Rajeshwaran and Sai sat about making the water changes as Prasoon and me worked on the photos of the fish.
Very soon, lotsa locals and some potential biryani raw materials started invading our spot and so we thought it would be better to leave asap.
Now came another difficult part, dividing the loot. This took close to and hour and in the end , we had more than a dozen bags. 5 of which were Guppies.
Here s what people took bag (I think)
Shankar : Schistura Sp,Garras
Bala : Guppies,Wood Shrimp
Sai : Wood Shrimp,L.Thermalis
Ashwin : P.Bimaculatus,Guppies
Rajiv : Guppies
Rajeshwaran : Wood Shrimp,Red Claws
Me : Schistura Sp and 2 bags of live feed
Anything I missed out???
We managed to leave the place by 2:30 PM weary,wet and longing for food and drinks.
Since the trip went quite well and everyone had a good time, we decided to grab some good food on the way back. Most of the places we sighted were vegetarian and that did scandalize most of us. Luckily we managed to find a decent joint and ordered as much meat as we could. I was delighted with my catch and hence decided to go on a 'liquid diet'. Buying it though was a pain in the derriere as twas Election Results day.
Food was not bad but I honestly feel they were cajoling the chickens to lay eggs as we were placing the orders cos more than half the dishes we ordered never made it to the table.
The return journey though not exciting did have its moments with all of us taking turns to sleep (cough cough).
After a long back breaking drive, we came back to Bala's place at around 8:00 pm, said the usual goodbyes and back it was to mundane city life.
Take Outs :
I)A trip a month definitely seems feasible for the Chennai Chapter if we keep going at this pace.
II)There are plenty of spots around waiting.
III)The distance did drain us physically after a point so that maybe needs a rethink and I really think some of us should learn Telugu cos we keep visiting the state quite often. My version of Telugu is basically a mixture Tamil,English and prefixed by the word guru (I got that from my years in Blore by the way).
Overall a truly wonderful experience. Once a month with more people I say................
Last edited by Shovelnose on Tue May 19, 2009 7:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Tue May 19, 2009 7:25 pm Post subject: Re: Chittoor Fishy Escapades
Great trip indeed..
The first delay was, i suppose, thanks to urs truly.. a few dozen alarm rings.. and some fifteen missed calls later.. the guys decided to gate crash..
thankfully.. it worked.. ;)
A big to all our guys who, despite all odds made it to the trip.. and a special pat on the back for Ashwin who in spite of ".. got mothered...... by my mother..!! " earlier that night and still managed to make it..
overall it was a wonderful trip and thanks to the showers the previous night.. the trip up was amazing..
That apart.. I gues, like Balaji said, we could actually make it a monthly affair.. wut say guys???
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