With the apocalyptic weather we have been having throughout the Middle east over the last week I was a little unsure of how the fishing in Southern Oman would be. In the last year I have seen rain…well small drops of water for all of 3 seconds maybe twice. This past week it has been catastrophic amounts of rain, wind, flooding etc.
We reached Salalah and to our delight the weather was sensational, not a cloud in the sky and no wind. Spending the first few days fishing some of our favourite bays we landed numerous large Blue Fish and 3 spot pompano on fly. The Blue fish, true to their form, where on fire. Groups of 5-15 fish were charging down and attacking our mini NYAPS and pink surf candies. Crashing into each other as they sped through the crystal blue waters vying for the fly. The winner would proceed to tear off stripping line through our fingers and leaping into the air angrily shaking their head and trying to dislodge the hook. It was such an adrenalin rush.
An afternoon trolling on our way home and we raised a very nice size and hungry Sail fish…..my nemesis fish! Ever ready Brandon teased him in and got him so fired up his blue stripes were lit up and his bill was frantically thrashing the water. Stopping the boat I laid out a cast and waited as he shot under the boat, turned and sped towards my fly. With one graceful move his bill and head broke the surface of the water and chomp he bit down straight onto my fly. Setting the hook I held on tight as he launched himself out the water and tail walked for 50 meters shaking his head violently. Alas in all the excitement and as sailfish often do he spat the hook and slunk back off into the deep….oh Blast!
With the weather being so bad in Dubai some great friends of ours flew down to surprise us for a few days. Wayne Haselau and his gorgeous fiancé Jane Hosegood, who have been working on Alphonse Island in the Seychelles dropped in for a few days fishing. Wayne, aka The bonefish Whisperer (check out his YouTube videos online of him feeding and tickling the tummies of his pet bonefish) The Bonefish Whisperer. He is one of the most knowledgable and well fished saltwater guides in the industry, the man that pioneered milk fishing on fly, so the pressure was on.
We spent the next two days on the boat showing him around and fishing our favourite spots. With Wayne ticking off some of his bucket list species. The bait balls of Bonito were out in full force too which created a few hours of chaos.
The local panga boats here like to follow the dolphin as that is wher they find the bait balls and Tuna. We were trolling a teaser for billfish on our way home one afternoon and could see a few boats approaching. Within minutes I could hardly believe my eyes, we were surrounded by 8-10 local boats and around 3000-4,000 dolphin. I have never seen so many in one area they were as far as the eye could see, it was an absolutely astounding and awesome sight. The local boats would race ahead and drop live sardines down below the dolphins targeting the tuna that were also be feeding on the bait balls.We sat and watched the spectacle, just meters from the shore line. Needless to say we didn’t raise anything after that express train of hungry mouths came through but it is a sight I wont soon forget!
A few hours of exploratory to a new location proved very fruitful indeed. We have been after the Trachinotus Africanus (Southern pompano/jumping permit as these guys leap 5 or so feet out of the water when spooked) on fly, with 2 of our guests almost landing one. We have seen groups of fish up to 30lb each and I for one am very keen to target these fish on fly. We hit the mother load, it was the largest number of Africanus we have seen in one area. At little further investigation as the boys took to the water with mask and snorkel confirmed that, in fact, both species of permit the Trachinotus Blochii and the Trachinotus Africanus where there in large numbers. We didn’t manage to land one this time but Wayne certainly got a surprise when he first saw them jump 6 feet out of the water hahahaha………more on these guys soon I hope!
Heading north we wanted Wayne and Jane to see how epic the permit fishing is and how insanely shallow these fish come in to shore to feed. Reaching the beach I was determined that Jane would land her first permit and that we would show the boys up so I headed straight for one of my favourite spots. Sure enough after 30-40 minutes the water was just right and with the boys only a short distance away our target appeared…..Omani Gold! Jane cool as a cucumber laid out a perfect back cast, let the heavy crab fly sink and then, crouching started to strip slowly. In an instant the fish turned on the fly, tailed up and chomp, he inhaled it. Setting the hook and getting the fish onto the reel we were screaming with delight. Within minutes Jane had her first permit laying gently in her arms.
Although thrilled the boys now looked more determined than ever as they strode off down the beach in search of their own Omani Gold. After getting a few refusals and some fly changes it was not long before Wayne also managed to landed his first Omani Permit, a beautiful little guy with a very long dorsal fin. With the light fading we headed back for a well earned dinner and rest.
The next day and the wind had picked up slightly but that didn’t deter us so we set off in search of Gold. Today though us girls were a little more into the chatting and relaxing than fishing so we left the boys to show us how it’s done. They certainly didn’t disappoint us. With Wayne stalking and landing a lovely fish right in front of us and Brandon hot on his heels landing his own permit later on in the day. Another awesome day on the water and 4 Omani permit landed in 1.5 days.
Alas the trip had come to an end but what a wonderful few days with great friends and some amazing and exciting discoveries…..more to come soon!