Tiger skins, antelope heads replete with antlers amongs others have for a long time been considered trophies worthy of drawing-room attention in the homes of
subcontinent big game hunters. Fishing however was a rare sport. The past few
decades have seen a rise in fishing by enthusiasts, firmly putting Pakistan on the map of big gamefishing in the world. The thrill of having hooked a fish once roves adrenaline surging for the many who do venture into this arena and they keep coming back for more. This has in turn resulted in burgeoning of industries most of which are located in Sialkot manufacturing fishing tackle, lead, sinkers, spoons, spinners, pliers, forceps and lines.
PGFA is the Pakistan Gamefishing Association located in Karachi. Its member anglers on the other hand belong to all areas and frequently visit diverse spots from Cape Monz in Karachi to Satpara lake in Skardu in search of fish. The association believes in conservation in heavily fished waters. The Pakistan Whale and Dolphin Group (PWDG) established by PGFA with WWF-Pakistan seeks to raise awareness about cetaceans in this regard. Anglers are encouraged to fish according to the international catch and release system, releasing after weighing and tagging, before the fish is exhausted. A weighstation facility has been provided at Mubarak Village in Karachi.
Pakistan boasts of a variety of both saltwater and freshwater gamefishes. Some better known salt water fishes include:
- Marlin: It belongs to the category of billfish such as swordfish and is found near Churna island from Septemeber to December.
- Barracuda is the only fish found all year round while others can be caught in particular seasons with Amberjack, Cobia and Pompano from August to October and Tuna, Shark Trevally and Shark being caught in other months.
Freshwater fishes include:
- Trout: The Northern areas of Pakistan, especially Naran, Ghizar, Shandur pass, Phander lake, and Chitral are the prime spots for trout. A trout hatchery is located at Chitral which charges Rs 70 – 80 per catch. May to October are the best months for catching trout.
- Carps and Catfish: Chashma barrage in Mianwali and Kinjhar Lake in Sindh are good spots.
- Mahseer: Tarbela dam in Rawalpindi boasts of this fish mostly from September to November.
- Others include the Great Snakehead, Clown Knifefish and various Tilapia found at various locations along the river Indus.
Various fishing techniques are used by anglers like:
- Fly Fishing: involves the usage of bits of feather or other artificial material as bait attached to the hook with a string while Dry fly fishing makes use of bait that will float on water. Both involve the angler usually standing in the water.
- Surf casting has the angler stand on the edge of the water and cast the hook.
- Trawling is recommended on lakes and big rivers.
- A ‘Hora’ or stationary boat is also useful among the mangroves and can be boarded from several points in Karachi such as Gharo, Rehri Goth, Ibrahim Hyderi village, Russian Beach, Marina, Club etc.