After what seemed like the longest summer ever the season had finally started….just not quite for us yet as we have been ensconced in the build of or new boat…..more about that soon.
Excitement was high as we prepared for 10 days of fishing in Oman with our great friend and photographer Callum Conner. Callum has a highly successful guiding business in Scotland (scotiafishing.com) where we targets trout, salmon and pike along with some of the saltwater species you find there too. This was his first trip to Oman and fishing for saltwater species in warm climates so we intended to make it a trip he would never forget. An explosion of fishing equipment had taken over ever inch of space in the downstairs man cave and I was in full cooking and packing mode.
Car packed, Callum on board and our new boat hitched up we were off on our adventure. After hours of driving through rugged mountains and vast desert plains that stretched as far as the eye can see, along with the odd camel or goat heard roaming free we arrived at our first location.
Early morning I woke to Callum excitedly scuffling around, readying his rods and kit. A quick breakfast of oats, banana and coffee and the boys were off. The weather was perfect and not a cloud in the sky. At lunch time the boys came bounding back to the car grinning from ear to ear and visibly elated. They had spotted and cast at a couple of permit cruising the beach and I could see Callum already had permit fever! A quick lunch as the tide changed and they were off again so I followed on behind them. As I watched their body language I knew exactly what they were seeing, the permit stance, as I call it is visible from a mile away. Both boys had dropped into a crouched position and were staring intently into the water as Callum rapidly stripped line off his reel. In a slow and controlled cast I could see him hold his breath and gently lay the fly down on the water and wait. Then picking his line back up again, and putting the fly back in the zone. To his surprise the permit swam straight over and engulfed the fly but sadly it was not to be. Before he could get the fly line onto the reel the permit had spat the hook and slunk away, clearly unamused by the synthetic crab he had just crunched on! The boys gathered themselves together and headed on along the beach, as luck would have it not more that 20 meters away they stumble onto another permit happily feeding. Callum, determined this time, gently placed his fly perfectly, just in front of the fish. Like lightening I saw him strike and the water erupted just feet from him as the fish ate and he set the hook. Mayhem ensued as Callum furiously cleared the excess line from around his feet and got the fish onto the reel and under control whilst Brandon ran up the beach to organise the camera. A few nervous minutes later and he had, not only hook 2 permit in as many casts but most importantly actually caught his first permit which was laying gently in his arms…. A well deserved fish for an excellent angler!
Over the next day and a half the boys had epic shots at more permit and even landed some large grunter in the shallows but sadly it was time to move on. Another long drive through the mountains and along the winding coastline and we reached the lodge.
The wind had started to pick up again but we braved the conditions and launched the boat. Sticking close to shore we worked the cliff edges with flies and poppers for an hour or so. As the wind dropped large schools of bonito surfaced, smashing tiny bait fish and leaping clear out of the water. A frantic few minutes of casting to the schools paid off with Callum landing a lovely little bonito.
It’s no secret that I am more than a little bit hooked on bill fish so when I caught a glimpse of what initially looked like a billfish fin breaking the surface of the water near the boat I just about went into meltdown….it turned out to be a baby whale shark which was equally as exciting to see gliding around feeding on plankton…truly beautiful and majestic.
Over the next few days the air pressure had dropped but we persevered and cast at numerous bait balls and tried our hand at a little trolling along the drop off for some pelagic species to no avail. Callum landed a lovely trigger fish off the rocks in one of the bay’s, a species that always intrigues me with their trigger sickle, they are beautiful in their own way yet deadly if you get a figure near their powerful jaws and giant teeth.
Cruising the beaches we came across a nice size GT which had come in to nosey around one of the beaches looking for bait fish. However he seemed less that amused by our fly offerings of a popper or bait fish pattern and turning his nose up in disgust he slowly slunk back into the deep. A blessing in disguise maybe as we were both fishing 9 weights with small flies and light leader. Plus the fact that the amount of coral around would surely have meant a lost or at the very least a very damaged fly line.
One afternoon the weather decided to play nice bringing with it a large amount of bait followed by some large Bluefish (Shad) and giving us an awesome hour of pure carnage. With fly lines flailing as we all ran up and down the beach hooking these teethy creatures and watched them leap clear out of the water, sometimes slicing through our leader and disappearing with some of my favourite NYAP flies grrrr. The wave Garrick or 3 spot pompano, that are always a thrill to catch on a fly rod, had also made an appearance. Their beautiful silver bodies and delicate long blue fins flashing in the shallows always bring excitement. For such a small fish they can really pack a punch, often taking you right to your backing before you can gain control.
It was the perfect way to end an awesome trip! Callum didn’t land his big GT but he did catch his first permit, on the first day he has ever targeted them which is something most of us can only dream of! He will just have to come back next year!!!
For more information about fly fishing in Oman contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org