Pursuit of Happiness

When getting hooked is fun

Hitachi Data Systems' Vivekanand Venugopal on how his passion for fishing grew over the years

"I had a gut feeling that I’d catch a big fish that day,” narrates Vivekanand Venugopal, vice president and general manager, Hitachi Data Systems, India, who has been actively pursuing his interest in fishing since 1984. “And as I’d thought, I caught a 160-pound fish. Waiting for the driver to return with a camera, me and my wife waited on the embankment of river Cauvery in Karnataka till 8 pm. We were almost attacked by wild elephants and had to walk upstream for about four hours. A search patrol was despatched who helped us back to our camp at around 1.30 am,” says Venugopal as he recollects his most memorable encounter. 

Venugopal’s first experience of fishing was in Avalanchi (a place in Nilgiri Mountains, which is one of India’s highest places for trout fishing). “Because the first fish I caught in Avalanchi was extremely spectacular, I got hooked to fishing. And since then, I’ve never lost an opportunity to go back to it,” he recalls. Currently, he goes fishing with family or friends to various places within India and overseas including the US, British Columbia, Hawaii and New Zealand around four-five times a year. “Three years ago, I used to go fishing nearly every month. But now there are a lot of restrictions down south as fishing is banned in most of the rivers,” he explains. Venugopal finds every fishing experience completely unique. “The type of fish, the fishing vessel, fishing technique and the team you go with are completely different each time,” he mentions. 

He considers fishing a stress buster which helps him rejuvenate. “I think the silence while you’re fishing is priceless. And this probably helps you reflect better on your business,” describes Venugopal. “Also, the feeling when you catch a fish makes you thankful in terms of what you get. Just the fresh air, the peacefulness and the kind of adventure makes you a better person at the end of the day,” he adds. 

Fishing drove Venugopal to many countries but what stood out the most were his fishing trips down south. “A coracle made of bamboo and tarpaulin sheet is used to catch fish there. Because of its association with the local culture, south India is the place to experience the most unique form of fishing.”

Despite 30 years of active fishing, Venugopal feels a lot has to be achieved. While his bucket list consists of visiting places such as the Himalayan region, Uttarakhand, Alaska for fishing, fishes such as Blue Marlin, Tarpon, Swordfish, Bluefin Tuna, Sturgeon, Sheefish and Hawkeye Salmon top his to-be-caught list. For now, his prized catch includes the Golden Mahseer, Silver Mahseer, Bluefin Mahseer, Snakehead Murrel, Leopard Shark, Tuna, Halibut and Rainbow Trout. The 47-year-old feels that over the past three decades he has learnt a lot about the technique of fishing. “Fishing is 80% preparation and 20% execution,” he says. Also, a lot has changed in terms of availability of technology for fishing as well. “Earlier I used to loan fishing tools but now I’ve built a collection of my own equipment which allows easier access,” he adds. Venugopal strongly believes that fishing is a team activity and can’t be done alone as it involves engaging in activities beyond just fishing.

All in all, Venugopal is a lover of sunshine, tranquillity and satisfaction which nothing other than fishing can provide him. “In my view, a day out fishing beats even a good day at work,” he concludes.