Along the bank of the river, around 30-odd contestants stare at the catch with lot of avidness. Some with curiosity, some with anxiety and some with the wrath as the judge calls out the angler’s name amid applause and cheers. Such fishing competitions are fast gaining popularity in Goa, where fish is just not meant as an essential part of the diet, but the tropical state’s social ethos.
Guilherme D’Costa,says angling help create bonding amongst youth as well as motivate them to participate in outdoor activity. He is a a veteran angler and have mastered several fishing competitions
“Besides generating interest in the skill, we also hope this contest will bring about togetherness among youth in the village, D’Costa told.
D’Costa’s most recent fishing contest attracted dozens of anglers and a Sunday audience upwards of 800 angling fans. It was held in Chapora river in Revora, a picturesque village in north Goa 20 km from Panaji.
This extravagant angling activity is cherished and enjoyed with beer, music and locally prepared food dished out under a garishly-coloured awning, with anglers lined up near the quieter end of the fiesta, their fishing rods stretched out over the water at various angles, waiting to hook up the prize catch.
The reward to the winner , the one who makes it catch the biggest fish, not only wins the honours that day but also has the pleasure of dining on a big fish fillet that night.
Apart form normal fishes, Anglers are often known to catch snappers, reef cods and other high value fish that can cost upwards of Rs.3,000 apiece depending on the size.
Such competitions with a huge crowd are held in several villages with sizable water-bodies, as well as state capital Panaji.
“A lot depends on the tide, the direction of the water as well as the time of the year the competition is held. Months from August to October are considered the best when fish is most available,” D’Costa said.
however, fishing as a sport is not limited to group angling competitions in shallow rivers and creeks. it has no boundations.
Big game fishing is also emerging as a popular sport in Goa, one which vibes with its reputation as a lifestyle tourism destination.
Antonio Estrocio, a local from Dona Paula and his company ‘Goa Fishing’, offer tourists and locals a wide range of fishing activity ranging from light off-shore fishing, in-shore fishing, river fishing as well as spear fishing. Hence, this competition results in making huge capital to the surrounding people too.
“Off-shore fishing is at its best from October to December for big Ginger Mark, Emperor Snapper, Threadfin Salmons, Large Groupers, Cobia, Barracuda, GT’s, Spanish Mackerels, Wahoo, Dorado (Mahi Mahi) and Sail Fish. In-shore fishing and river fishing are very productive all year round. We also fish in the estuaries and deep into the rivers off the Mandovi and Zuari,” he said.
And for those who can’t stand the thought of a trembling fish, breathing its last on the deck, there’s also a “catch and release” option. Moreover, beaches in GOA are the relieving centre.