Travelling further along the coast we reached huge stretches of sandy beaches with small wave breaks. It was at one such location that we pulled off the main highway only to look down and see a 12 pound permit on his side in about 6 inches of water lazily feeding. A very frantic few moments ensued as I managed to explode the entire car load of kit onto the side of the road to get to my rod but by the time I had organised myself he had vanished ……next time!
Arriving at what would soon be know as permit heaven, a huge expanse of flat sandy beach stretched out in front of us…this looked very fishy indeed. Brandon was up first so rod at the ready we began to walk the shore line, eyes fixed on the water. Within minutes we saw a flash of silver and there he was, a beautiful 10lb permit surfing in on a wave, onto his side in the shallows to feed. Crouching down Brandon started to cast, landing the fly just ahead of him. Almost immediately he saw the fly and shot over to investigate, one strip and he tailed up, inhaled the fly and bang he was on. With a surprised shake of his head and he was off toward the deep water, reel screaming. Being a sandy area Brandon let the fish run, but wow do they fight dirty, he kept stopping and digging his nose into the sand, trying to dislodge the fly, then taking off and using his body weight in the waves to escape. After what seemed like a lifetime he gave up the fight and came in to the shallows where we could gently hold him for a quick picture and release shot.
With only a few hours left of light we pushed on further along the beach. Over the next hour we spotted another 6 fish, ranging from 4-15 pounds, surfing in on the waves and feed aggressively in the shallows, it was an epic sight! Sundown came all too quickly so we headed back to camp for a BBQ and to relive the awesome days experiences….
The next morning we woke in excitement and headed to another beach in the area to have a look. Walking along the shore, rod at the ready and eyes fixed on the water. An hour in and I had almost started imagining I was seeing things in the waves, especially when little silver and gold fleck appeared ahead of me on the side of a small sand spit. It took me a second to register what it was…my little piece of Omani gold, slowly feeding along the edge of the shoreline! Dropping right down to a crouch I crept to towards him, slowly cast out my fly, let it sink and started to strip. The temptation of my fly must have been too much as he immediately shot over, tailed up and inhaled the fly. I was so stunned I struck too late and just pricked him, with my fly popping back out of his mouth. To our astonishment he was clearly unperturbed as he swam over to the next sand spit and carried on feeding so again I cast out. This time he saw the crab as it landed on the water and before it had some to sink he angry raced over, tailed up and bang he was on.
Being my first permit I stood there for a second in shock and until Brandon’s voice came through….’get the line on the reel’. Snapping into action I got my line organised and gingerly started to reel him in. I was so scared of loosing him I barely put any pressure on him at all, allowing him to take me almost to the backing, I spent the next few minutes running up and down the beach and in and out the water, with Brandon in hysterical laughter. I’m sure he only finally gave up and came in because he was bored and felt sorry for me.
As I held him in the water gently I could finally stare closely at his beautiful silver body and golden fins gleaming in the sunlight….he was perfect and so beautiful. A gentle kiss and a few quick pictures before I released him back into the water and off to fight another day…..my first permit on fly!
We spent the rest of the day walking the beach watching the tide change so we could get a better understanding of the waters here. Spotting 5 more fish that day, but unfortunately not managing to hook one, but we knew they were here in great numbers.
The next morning there was one more beach we wanted to explore so we headed there for a final cast. Again within minutes Brandon had spotted a nice 12-15 pound fish hungrily surfing the wave. He was a little more suspicious of the fly than some of the other fish we had seen, coming in on his side to have a look then swimming away again. Running up and down the beach Brandon tried every trick in the book, finally after 10 minutes his attitude changed and he charged in, tailed up and inhaled the fly. Upon landing him we could see why he had been to weary he looked like he had been in a few rounds with Mike Tyson, with gnawed fins and bruises along his body.
We have noticed with the Omani permit that most of the fish over 4-5 pounds seem to have short torn stubby fins and grazes on their bodies. Further investigation and the consensus seems to be either they feed so shallow their fins get burnt in the sun or due to how aggressively they feed they get caught on rocks etc or a mixture of both.
With luck on our side and an enviable permit tally of 3 fish in 3 days we decided it was time to leave on a high….or as my father says “always leave them wanting”….. so we set off to pastures new.
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