This forum is for general topics. Keep all posts, images, etc safe for those who read the forum at work. Post only that content that you'd want your mama to read. Violators will be banned.
User avatar
By skullion childs
#604885
[report]




Lots of words. For those not so inclined, skip to the pictures.



For much of 1995-6, I lived in a hotel in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. I worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross as a delegate and Urdu translator.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2386_zpsriwduxup.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2386_zpsriwduxup.jpg[/img][/url]



That's the hotel where I lived, now. When I was there, at least for the second half, all the windows on the second floor were covered by plywood, because militants shot an anti-tank missile into the hotel, and the blast took out a few rooms and all the windows. Fortunately, we were out. There was, essentially, a civil war going on: Kashmiri separatists, who wanted their freedom from India, were fighting the Indian Army. It's more complicated than that, really, but that's the basics. It was ugly, as civil wars often are.



I worked with a team who went into jails and detention centers to ascertain whether the Indian Army was operating by international norms of conduct in conflict. I can't really talk about what we discovered, as I signed a document of confidentiality, but I can point to works by Human Rights Watch, who document systematic and horrific torture of innocent people, custodial killings, rapes, disappearances, and much more. I spent much of my time working with another delegate, translating detainees' stories from Urdu. I generally didn't remember much of what I translated -- I never do with simultaneous translation, which is kind of like riding a wave; it's too fast, always in the now, and stuff never reaches memory. But it was there, somewhere, seeded deep within, and I left Kashmir a different person than when I arrived.



I've spent several years in India since then, but I had never returned to Kashmir -- despite the fact that my wife is Kashmiri (we met in the States after my time there).



This year, however, she really wanted me to go with her, and she bribed me by setting up a four-day fishing holiday in the hills as an early anniversary present. I suppose it's valent to mention that there are trout in Kashmir. Lots of trout. Everywhere the British went, they carried trout eggs, and the many rivers and streams of Kashmir were seeded in the 19th century. They're now filled with trout, and Kashmir once was, and with some work could again be, a fly fisher's paradise.



So back to Kashmir I went.



We began our vacation in Srinagar, the capital, spending a few days with her relatives. Srinagar is in a valley of the Himalayas, situated around Dal Lake. The city is literally built around and in the lake -- back in the day, the Maharaja of Kashmir wouldn't allow the British to build houses in Srinagar, so the clever Brits built houseboats. Those houseboats (or their offspring) are still there, now serving as hotels. The lake is really part of the city.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3892_zpsizzalh2f.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3892_zpsizzalh2f.jpg[/img][/url]



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3894_zps7he5mh6w.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3894_zps7he5mh6w.jpg[/img][/url]



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2392_zpsrpergqsq.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2392_zpsrpergqsq.jpg[/img][/url]



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2309_zpst0atmgyj.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2309_zpst0atmgyj.jpg[/img][/url]



The gondola-like things are called shikara, and they provide transportation around the lake.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2321_zpstvsiek3c.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2321_zpstvsiek3c.jpg[/img][/url]



That's the post office (and, apparently, philately museum).



Kashmir is a beautiful place, so unlike the plains of India where I spend most of my time. It's temperate in the summer, cool in the winter, and the wildlife is amazing.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2331_zpsue5r0qud.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2331_zpsue5r0qud.jpg[/img][/url]



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3462_zpszix7hm7k.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3462_zpszix7hm7k.jpg[/img][/url]



But this is about fishing, right? So after a few days, we went off to Pahalgam, where all the fishing would take place.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/pahalgam_zps818tfxex.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/pahalgam_zps818tfxex.jpg[/img][/url]



(to be continued).[/report]
User avatar
By The Wandering Blues
#604894
Holy Shit! Best Exotic Marigold Fishing Trip. Man, can't wait to see how this goes.
User avatar
By LA Fly Guy
#604895
Any TR that starts with Zeppelin is good in my book. I can't wait to see the rest.
User avatar
By Horn_Identity
#604909
Skullion childs, please carry on. I can hardly wait to see the rest and thank you for sharing your adventure. This is a special TR, definitely out of the norm from around here. I can only imagine the things you've seen, heard, and experienced. Yes, I believe that can change a man. Stay strong, safe, and enjoy the good stuff. :cool
User avatar
By Spicytuna
#604914
Hot spottin sum-bitch



Well...were waiting
User avatar
By pbrstreetgang
#604915
what's the pizza like there?

pretty cool start, amigo. looking forward to the next installment
User avatar
By skullion childs
#604923
[report]




Prologue



In which much is explained by means of introduction.



When I first learned that I would be going to Kashmir to fly fish, I immediately tried to find out what I could about the fishing there – what rod(s) should I bring? What flies should I tie? Etc.. I could find almost nothing. What I found was a few old websites put up by guides, and chapters in two books, both by British Army officers of the declining Raj, from the early decades of the 20th century. I got quite imbued with Victoriana… thus the goofy chapter introductions. (CC is likely to point out that these books were written in the Edwardian Era, not the Victorian, but the style was distinctively Raj Victoriana, and CC can go sit in a corner with his ‘Indonesian Pullau').



Both chapters focused entirely on wet flies, with almost no mention of dries. I should mention that I am a dry fly guy, although I’ll swing wets in a pinch. No nymphs. Not that there’s anything wrong with nymphing; it’s an efficient and productive way to catch fish. I just fish the way I want to, and others can do the same. I wouldn’t raise this incendiary statement, except that it will be important later.



I tied up a box full of basics of a variety of sizes: Adams, light and dark Cahills, Wulffs of various persuasions, olives, spinners, Stimulators, and so on. The books also mentioned mahseer, so I tied up some things with those in mind, and threw in some streamers and wakers from the steelhead box. At the last minute, I packed up a few wets, just in case.



Before we left for Pahalgam, I met with Ghulam Rasool, who set up the overall trip.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2893_zpsnxwnavsv.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2893_zpsnxwnavsv.jpg[/img][/url]



That’s Ghulam Rasool, with his award for the largest trout (17.5 lbs, 29 inches) caught on the Verinag Upper beat. He clarified what I had been able to discover on the net:

Kashmir is, officially, fly fishing only. Yes, the entire state. That doesn’t mean much, however – here are some folks fishing on Dal Lake in Srinagar:

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2302_zpsq2hjnufh.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL2302_zpsq2hjnufh.jpg[/img][/url]



Apparently, however, this is strictly enforced in on the rivers and streams that make up Kashmir’s 61 beats. Kashmir still operates on the old British system – there are beats, which can be rented (currently for 2000 Indian rupees – about $35 -- per day). One rod per beat, six fish per day. Once you’ve caught six fish, your day is over. Catch and release is strictly forbidden. Each beat has an assigned gillie, who would guide me for the day. There are also beat managers and district managers, who would show up to check my permit. They’re also supposed to maintain the waterways and prevent poaching (to which I say Ha! and Ha!).



He also told me two quite disappointing things: that there were no more mahseer – since the Pakistanis built a dam higher up on the waterway, the mahseer were prevented from moving downriver, and more importantly, that dry flies didn’t work in Kashmir. Neither really did wet flies. Nymphs (or, as he and everyone else in Kashmir called them, ‘nimps,’) were the only way to fish. When I pressed him on this, he said that maybe dries would work in September or April, but to fish now I would need ‘nimps.’ I didn’t have nymphs, I said – so he gave me a half dozen from his own box. He also told me he would send Javaid, his man Friday, as our driver and guide.



The Road to Pahalgam



Upon which many interesting things are sighted.



The road to Pahalgam is a gorgeous 2.5 hour ride from Srinagar. I was really looking forward to it, as although I had lived in Kashmir for a year previously, the situation at the time and ICRC rules made it impossible to travel for anything other than professional reasons (and that was mostly to army camps). We weren’t even supposed to go to the local market – the wisdom of this was clear when I was caught several times in a firefight between militants and the Indian army. (I ducked into a shop to avoid being shot. Yes, several times. I’m not good at following rules).



The plan was for a 6am pickup, get to Pahalgam by 9ish, drop off luggage and family and start fishing. It wouldn’t work out that way, but it was a gorgeous ride all the same.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3216_zpsgrdzexq1.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3216_zpsgrdzexq1.jpg[/img][/url]



Kashmir produces saffron that is considered by many to be the best in the world. It goes in many Kashmiri dishes, from biryani (not pullau, CC), to the Kashmiri tea called kahwa. In October, the saffron fields are a breathtaking sight. But it’s July, so all I have to show is a picture of a saffron shop. And some saffron, which I bought and then accidentally left somewhere.

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3842_zps9yfpdpu2.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3842_zps9yfpdpu2.jpg[/img][/url]



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3366_zpswxb0if0c.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3366_zpswxb0if0c.jpg[/img][/url]

Tight mountain roads.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3265_zpst3qjzm0f.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3265_zpst3qjzm0f.jpg[/img][/url]

That’s the bottom half of a goat, at a butcher shop.



[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3271_zps3pmxh8tw.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3271_zps3pmxh8tw.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3277_zps6tdzsnzf.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3277_zps6tdzsnzf.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3283_zpsufovgz7c.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3283_zpsufovgz7c.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3289_zpsmaalhapm.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3289_zpsmaalhapm.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3343_zpsysxzqbsm.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3343_zpsysxzqbsm.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3833_zpsf6qjz1mv.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3833_zpsf6qjz1mv.jpg[/img][/url]

Wood planks rough cut and stacked to dry… these will later become another important Kashmir export: willow cricket bats.



Lots of weeds growing all over the roadside. These grow everywhere in South Asia, but are particularly common in the Himalayan regions.

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3836_zpsita1gpn4.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3836_zpsita1gpn4.jpg[/img][/url]



A closer look:

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3823_zps96iwzvaf.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3823_zps96iwzvaf.jpg[/img][/url]



Finally, we arrived in Pahalgam.

[url=http://s1275.photobucket.com/user/scullionchilds/media/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3319_zpsq5na8uwz.jpg.html][img]http://i1275.photobucket.com/albums/y449/scullionchilds/Fishing/kashmir%20trip/_CRL3319_zpsq5na8uwz.jpg[/img][/url]



The fishing would commence soon… or would it?[/report]
Last edited by skullion childs on Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By pxatim
#604924
This is special.. can't wait to hear more about this in person at the rust bake.
Last edited by pxatim on Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By skullion childs
#604925
pbrstreetgang wrote:what's the pizza like there?
No pizza to speak of, but there are bagels:

Image

this is a traditional Kashmiri bread called tschvaru. They're just like bagels.

When my wife was young, her dad would make her 'pizza' by putting catsup and paneer on a Kashmiri bread called girda:

Image

But paneer doesn't melt. I've had something similar in the plains, and it was distinctly not pizza.
User avatar
By ironman
#604927
Ho Lee Fuk.

On the edge of the seat here.
whatcha tying?

topical: fuck all. who wants to buy all my shit?

Western Snowpack 2020

here's our forecast for the next 100 years... it's[…]

Thumbing Through Some SBSs

Yet Another Carnage Skwala https://live.stat[…]

Subscribe to The Drake Magazine