When I was a kid, I accompanied my dad on the hunting trips near the Mekong River. We went there at least once a year in a big caravan of his friends. I was a tom boy, and I loved adventurous stuff so I didn’t mind sleeping in the forest full of mosquitoes. Some nights, we wouldn’t sleep as we waited to check on the traps while the cold rain was pouring on us mercilessly. Fishing was an go-together part of the hunting trip. Although I was so scared of the majestic mysterious Mekong River, I undeniably loved its fish. The fish here was fresh and big. We often grilled them right away next to the river and enjoy the juicy sweet fish with sticky rice and the sauce made with fresh chilies and Lao Preserved Fish.
I think; the way I was raised and the adventures I was the parts of, shaped who I am today. I love nature and the authenticity of life. Sadik is the same. He grew up in the beautiful town in God’s Own Country. Often, he told us about how he went fishing in the streams, and the legendary event when he caught two big fish in one hook.
We live in the city now so we miss the time when things were raw and simple. The coziness of rainy season really emphasizes this nostalgic feeling, you know. And when we both miss our hometowns, what we love to do is just drive to the countryside. The smell of rice field and the scent of wet land really fill our hearts with beautiful memories. Our weekend drives lead us to Pargaon Village, the small paradise nested on the bank of Bhima River. It is a famous fishing spot. The locals fish on a small dam, Pargaon Dam. A few travel agents from Pune also arrange fishing trips to this place. We come here by ourselves as we’re so unrealizable to be on schedule when we travel. Well, it is kind of nice because we can experience more when our arrangement is flexible.
Here is recent our fishing trip in a small village of Pargaon.
How to Get to Pargaon Village
From Pune, head out of town on Nagar Road, and then turn right toward Wagholi-Kesnad Road. You have to turn right again to Tueur Kesnand Road, and then take a left to State Highway 65. Pargaon Village is on the left, on the serene State Highway 61. The drive should take about 1.5 hours, and the drive is very joyful.
Fishing Spot, Bhima River
The fishing spot is about 5 minutes from Pargaon Village. You need to turn left at the end of the road and keep driving until you find a dead end where the bridge is being constructed.
The old bridge had collapsed in the last season so the road is closed now for the construction. On the side, you will see a small dirt road; follow the trail until you find the river. Park your car on the side, and you will see a small check dam in front of you. This dam is called Pargaon Dam, and it’s a very busy passage for two wheelers and people to cross the river. And yes guys, this is the fishing spot.
Fishing at Bhima River
The river is really big, and the water is really clean and fresh. We see the villagers sitting on the dam and fishing with simply fishing lines and hooks. It is quite fascinating. So we go up there, on the narrow dam with the bike passing and people walking. The dam has no barrier, just the thin, small bamboo bars on the side, which if you push it, it will probably fall to the 20 feet drop below. Now thinking about it, we are kind of mad that we don’t even realize how dangerous it is. You can see people from the city come here to fish on the side of the river, too, just below the dam. They don’t come up to the dam because their equipments are quite bulky and those won’t work here.
We watch how the villagers work on the bait and catch the fish. Slowly we kind of blend in the scene and sit next to them. Finding a safe spot is challenging. We risk falling off the dam and colliding with the people driving and walking by. The villagers give us some earthworms to bait so we completely forgot about our own bait made with rice dough. Next time, we will have to see if that will work.
Sadik has this rustic fishing equipment thing which he bought from a local fishing guy from Dandeli. It is made with a small piece of wood, a strong line and a hook. The villagers at Pargaon Village help him altered his fishing equipment a little, by adding weight and fixing another hook on it. So now, we can catch two fish at once.
The catches here are mostly tilapias. The fish are healthy and range from 6 inches to 8 inches. We let go of the small ones to allow them to grow big. Sitting on the dam fishing just like the locals, we share stories and learn about the simple life. The economy here is very sustainable. People have the rich farmland, and the river is filled with natural goodness. People in the community help each other. How wonderful is it to live in this beautiful village!
The boys have fun a lot today, but most importantly, they learn to respect food even more. We have a lot of fish, enough to feed our small family for a week.
I think when it’s important to see food beyond the product on the plate. We should be able to see the origins and the stories behind the ingredients. Food taste so much better when you know it, trust me. That’s why I keep saying good food is not just about food, but the entire experience.
So I will grill the fish with salt crust tonight, Thai Street Style of course. The rest will be our food for the whole week.
See you next time.