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THE GOLDEN TIGER OF NEPAL
Ernest Schwiebert
May 08, 1972
It was a breathtaking journey to find a strange fish in a faraway river, but getting back turned out to be even more breathtaking
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May 08, 1972

The Golden Tiger Of Nepal

It was a breathtaking journey to find a strange fish in a faraway river, but getting back turned out to be even more breathtaking

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Nepal?" said a British shooting friend over lunch in Manhattan. "It's an amazing place, and you should try fishing mahseer with flies."

"What are they?"

"They run like salmon into the cold rivers that drain the Himalayas," he explained. "They come upstream from the Ganges in March and April."

"Will they really take flies?"

"Can't tell you. They catch them on small plugs and spinners and spoons in Burma and Kashmir—they'll probably take a saltwater bucktail fished fast."

"How big are these mahseer?" I asked.

"They're extremely strong fish." He filled his pipe. "The small ones run about 15 pounds."

"The small ones!"

"The Ganges' record bettered 120. You'd better use gear strong enough for a tarpon. Mahseer means tiger fish," my friend concluded.

Our venerable DC-3 waited on the apron an hour after daybreak. Flights leave early in Nepal, since the heat builds each morning until there are violent thermals that can drop a plane thousands of feet, or in seconds force it into a wild roller-coaster climb to extraordinary altitudes. The cool wind eddied across the airfield. The dogs sleeping under the wings were startled when the engines whined, coughed, stuttered, choked, and finally caught and roared.

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