Excitement was high as our first guests were on their way out and we were in full planning mode. Andreas, being an experienced fisherman, was very keen to catch a permit on fly as they had so far eluded him. He flew in with his life long friend and fishing buddy Michael, also and avid angler, and super keen to catch his first permit, so the pressure was on…
Although basic camping is not what we offer our usual clientele, Andreas and Michael are friends of ours and were up for exploring new grounds so we loaded up the car with camping gear and set off.
Arriving we set up camp on the edge of a cliff overlooking a beautiful sandy bay. Everyone was so keen to get fishing we threw the tents up, dumped the bags and headed straight out again. There was a new area Brandon and I wanted to explore so we sent Andreas and Michael to a stretch of beach that we knew fished well and went off to check it out.
It felt to good to be back on the water again, with the sand between our toes and not a care in the world, it was like we were home. There wasn’t much time to relax though as almost immediately we caught a glimpse of a large silver body out in the deep. As we got closer I could see it was in fact 2 permit, one large and one small, they appeared to be playing. Chasing each other then spinning round to stare the other down before racing off again, it was quite comical really. For a moment we forgot why we were there and just stood and watched them in amusement. Finally snapping back into action we soon realised they were having far too much fun bullying each other to bother with any flies we threw at them so we left them to play and headed on down the beach.
Returning to the same area after lunch with a change in the tide, I couldn’t believe my eyes, low and behold the larger of the two fish had now calmed down and was gently picking his way along the sandy bottom in search of a tasty crab or shrimp. As he reached a small cluster of rocks I cast out my fly and waited for him to approach. Strip, strip, he saw my fly and slowly swam over, onto his side to have a better look. 2 more strips, he followed intently, eyes fixed on my crab, then tailed up. Like lightning a small silver flash shot out from the shadow of the rocks and snatched my fly. In surprise I struck and watched as it turned and headed back for the rocks. We could hardly believe our eyes, a smaller permit had stollen the fly, leaving his poor friend tail up, mouth full of sand and looking very confused indeed. I reeled in the cheeky little monkey for some pics and a kiss before setting him on his way again.
The afternoon was coming to an end so we headed to the far side of the beach for one last scout. The tide was pushing and one of the large pools at the end was filling up. Brandon had gone on ahead and I could see, by his body language, he had spotted something. I watched him work the fish for a while, it certainly wasn’t going to make it easy for him to catch, then all of a sudden I saw his line go tight and he was on. By the time I reached him, camera at the ready, he had everything under control and was just gently bringing him in. What a beauty, a really nice size permit! A few pictures and Brandon released him on his way. In appreciation…or a final act of defiance he gave one last tail slap of water right into Brandon’s face…
Returning to camp at sun down I could see Andreas’s smile from a mile away. Knowing he had good news we parked the car and all gathered round the camp fire to hear his story. He had been walking the beach that afternoon with Michael. Remembering what we had told him to look out for. He was busy scouring the waters when a flash of silver caught his eye. Approaching slowly he could see it was a permit surfing in on a wave to feed and getting pulled back out by the tide. In a crouched position, line at the ready he cast out his fly, a large heavy crab pattern he had tied that morning. It took him a few minutes to present the fly just right, we all know how finicky permit can be. His final cast and then two strips and the fish had seen his crab, shot over and inhaled his fly. There is nothing like hearing the excitement in someones voice and seeing the look on their face when they recall the moment they tamed a species that has eluded them for so long. It is like looking deep into their sole and seeing every ounce of joy they have ever felt, captured in one moment. For the rest of the evening we sat swapping stories and discussing the following days plans, getting ourselves so excited I think we all barely slept.
The next morning we set off as a team, spirits high. Arriving at our destination the boys started to walk the beach, the tide was perfect, water crystal clear and there was no wind just excitement. Around late morning Andreas spotted something a little further out and started to wade into the water. Michael stood by the waters edge, watching in amusement as a permit appeared and spent the next few minutes toying with Andreas….and his nerves. Alas as we all know permit are permit and they never play by the rules. As Andreas, waist deep by now, was still in the midst of trying to school this particular fish Michael had spotted another. “Don’t move” he shouted to Andreas, as he didn’t want to spook the fish. Michael was ready for action, gently laying a perfect cast out in front of the fish he waited. I could see the concentration on his face as he gripped his rod in one hand and fly line in the other. Stripping slow short tugs of the line, the fish saw his fly, swam over, and to his utter delight it tailed up and wolfed his fly down. Setting the hook mayhem ensued, with Andreas having to dive out of the way as the fish shot out towards him in search of open water and freedom. Michael gained control and gently bought this perfect piece of Omani Gold in to shore. The joy and elation on his face was priceless as he cradled his first ever permit in his hands. It brings back the wonderful memory of my first permit, how nervous and excited I was… even now it still makes me emotional writing about it. Michael, knelt in the water gently holding his perfect silver permit with golden fins, its giant eye looking curiously at him. I knew this would be a moment in time he would never forget and it was an absolute pleasure to have experienced that with him.
Over the following 4 days we fished hard, covering vast amounts of beach and discovering new and exciting waters. With many shots at permit our days were full of adrenaline pumped excitement and evenings were spent regaling our stories round the camp fire. By the end of the trip Andreas had some ultra honed permit skills having caught 3 and lost a monster fish which I think may haunt him for a while yet. Michael had caught 2 permit and lost a few as well. But both of them left with a serious case of permit fever and some amazing stories to tell.
For more information about fly fishing in Oman contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org