Landing a Brahminy Kite in the Andaman
Stephen Lau and his fishing buddies were in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands some four years ago. This is a great fishing safari destination and they were there to fish. But instead of the large sea water fish, they landed a Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus). Stephen recounts the incident:
“There were three of us in a dingy and we were successfully catching fish using a technique called popping i.e. using our casting rod and a lure (a popper) which makes a popping sound when it is dragged at intermittent speed over the surface of the water. The lure's motion is a series of short hops and as it dives forward, its concaved front end emits a pop sound. We were catching 1.5-2.0 kg groupers at every cast on the surface of a coral reef at depths of around 5-7 m. “A Brahminy Kite suddenly swooped down and picked up the lure with both feet and as it made it's get-away one of it's foot was hooked up by one of the three triple hooks on the lure.
“As it was unable to release the lure we had no choice but to start reeling it down towards us whilst it was airborne. Finally it settled down into the water with its wings outstretched and we reeled it sufficiently close to catch hold of its foot and the lure to perform the unhooking. “It was strange. It never struggled throughout the whole operation. Once freed it sat in the water for a short while before lifting itself off and flying to the nearest tree. There, standing on one leg, it continued looking at us.”
Input and images by Stephen Lau. KC Tsang confirmed the identification of the kite.