The day had finally arrived, we were off on the first of what would become many action packed exploratory fly fishing trips along the Omani coast. After months of planning and scouring google earth we were ready and very excited. Having rented a Nissan Pathfinder, filled it with camping equipment, food and of course lots of fishing tackle we set off on the 1000 kilometre drive from Muscat to Salalah.
The landscape is breathtaking, from the rugged unforgiving Hajar mountains to the vast deserts and their sand dunes, along with the odd camel, goat, donkey and speed camera (oooopppsss). Arriving in the dark we set up camp on a beach under the stars and bedded down for the night.
Our first few days were spent fishing the local beaches and rocky out crops in the area. It wasn’t until day three that we came across a beautiful stretch of beach, not a boat or person in sight and the water was crystal clear.
Leaping out of the car we grabbed our rods and sprinted for the water. As I reached the sand and started to catch my breath I could hardly believe my eyes. There, right in front of me, a little nugget of Omani Gold was delicately picking its way along the shore line….PERMIT!!!! It couldn’t possibly be that easy…could it?
Assuming the permit pose (a semi crouched position, muscles tensed, eyes glued and talking in a whisper) I stripped out line and slowly crept into position. Casting my fly just beyond him and letting it sink, then slowly stripping. In what seemed like a semi interested way he moseyed on over to eyeball my fly, toying with the idea of eating it. But alas, as permit do, he changed his mind and with his nose in the air he slowly snuck off into the deep…..damn!
With high spirits we continued on to explore the beach and discovered quickly that we had hit the jackpot. The waters were absolutely teeming with fish, with so many species it was hard to decide what to target. From there on it was like a blur of excitement, we spent the rest of the afternoon chasing up and down the beach changing from mini NYAP’s, to crab and shrimp patters and then to clousers. After aggressive shad (bluefish) that, when hooked, leapt clear out of the water, to crazy reel ripping large 3 spot pompano and even a few cheeky Omani bream. I don’t think I have ever had an afternoon like it, we were horse from screaming as we finally headed back to camp for a BBQ and sundowners!
Waking the next day the ocean was flat calm and crystal clear. I whipped up some scrambled eggs and stared out to sea, in the distance was what looked like nervous water. As it approached Brandon’s eyes lit up…MILK FISH grab your rod. We tore down to the edge of the rocks stripping line as we went. Reaching the ledge I could see that there were around 30-50 fish in each school and there were pods of them everywhere. Balancing precariously on the rocks we started to cast, each time the fly landed just short, it was so frustrating. We needed a boat, or a dingy, or even a big bit of wood to float out on, anything to get to them! Finally admitting defeat we headed for the beach. Of course the milks followed slowly, teasing us as they swam along the shore line just out of casting reach. But we didn’t let that stop us from having fun as we again got stuck into all the species that these idilic waters could offer us….what a day.
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