A permit double with a difference

After many weeks of preparation, planning and excitement the 2016/17 season is upon us. Our first client, Garreth Coombes, had arrived and every piece of kit imaginable from spinning to fly rods was lined up ready for the first day on the water.

The first few days on the water were tough as the monsoon had not ended on schedule. The sea was a thick pea green colour and unusually cold. The swell had not yet subsided making any sight casting from the boat for the 2nd species of Permit we find in Oman out of the question. Although on a positive note the waters were alive with bait, huge shoals of sardines and mackerel which means great fishing conditions will follow shortly. A few days on the boat produced some Barracuda, mackerel and small trevally.

Garreth had his mind set on landing his first Africanus so a game change came into play. The boys ditched the boat and set out by car early doors, heading for one of our favourite beaches. Geared up and ready for action they set off along the beach. It wasn’t long before Brandon spotted what they were looking for, a dozen or so forked tails frantically tailing from behind the rocks. Trichinotus Africanus are like the street fighters of the permit species, aggressively feeding in packs, not a care in the world as the pounding surf washes them over jagged rocks.

arabian fly sport fishing, Oman, fishing, southern pompano, trachinotus africanus, permit, fly fishing, arabian fly

 

arabian fly sport fishing, Oman, fishing, permit, southern pompano, trachinotus africanus, fly fishing, arabian fly

Fly fishing was out of the question as the wind was blowing far too hard and the swell would just wash your fly line all over the rocks.Locked and loaded with an extremely realistic crab lure on a light spinning rod Garreth set to work, dropping precise casts right into the melee of feeding fish. The line went tight and he set the hook…fish on! As Im sure I mentioned before when these fish get spooked they jump a clear 3-4 feet out of the water. So as attempted an escape to deep water his friends flew out of the water in all directions….a real sight to be seen!

After some rock hopping a few minutes later and Garreth had his first, slightly stunned, Africanus laying in his hands. An absolute beauty these fish have been known to grow up to 20+ kilos and they like to fight dirty. Releasing him on his way back to his shocked comrades.

arabian fly sport fishing, Oman, fishing, permit, southern pompano, trichinous africanus, fly fishing, arabian fly

arabian fly sport fishing, Oman, fishing, permit, southern pompano, trachinotus africans, fly fishing, arabian fly

No rest for the wicked and the boys were off again. A little further down the beach and Garreth had his second shot. A bunch of fish were tailing inside a gully making it easier to present to them. This time he was not to be so lucky, after a nail biting fight trying to keep the fish from running out past the rocks, the fish fish managed one last run and broke off just as he got it close enough to land. As they commiserated their loss and tied another crab lure on, another single tail appeared. It took a few casts for this fish to see the crab. Landing a final cast right on top of the fish Garreth hooked it. A smaller fish than the rest that we had been seeing tailing. The fight was quite quick. Brandon managed to tail him and to both their surprise it turned out to be an Indo- pacific permit (Trachinotus Blochii).

arabian fly sport fishing, Oman, fishing, indo-pacific permit, fly fishing, arabian fly

What a day, I’m not sure I know anyone who has caught both species of Omani permit in one day! An awesome end to what had started out as quite a challenging trip.

For more information on fishing Oman contact us at: info@arabianfly.com 

Or visit our website: www.arabianflysportfishing.com

Permit hat trick with Hena

After a busy end of season then getting married and our honeymoon adventures we are finally starting to catch up on our blog posts.

We had the pleasure of hosting Hena and his lovely wife Mary. Travelling all the way from Australia Hena was on a round the world fishing trip, stopping at all the top fly fishing destinations. Starting in the Seychelles fishing Cosmoledo atoll and Alphonse Island he then ventured over to us in Oman to chase some Omani gold as well as target multiple species from our boat location near Salalah. Upon landing he was already exciting us with his tales of travel and fishing around the world so we knew this would be a fun filled 10 days.

Leaving early the boys were on the water by 8am walking the beach in search of the beautiful Indo Pacific permit. By lunch time they had spotted a few fish but no takers to the fly so they men sat and talked tactics over lunch. The conditions were great and the tides was just right too. The fish clearly were not wanting to cooperate and the day ended with one chomped hook and a very large permit breaking off as he aggressively took the fly.

Day two and the boys were on a mission, by lunchtime they had spotted and cast at no less than 14 permit landing one fish making this our first tagged ‘client’ permit so spirits were high.

Brandon King, Clare Carter, bluefish, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, permit tagging

As the day drew to a close they were just checking out the area where they had lost the very large fish the day before. Low and behold there he was surfing in and out on the waves chomping away at tasty morsels as he went. Laying out the perfect cast Hena waited, moved the fly gently and as the fish saw it he started to strip it away from him. Enraged this bad boy swooped in, eyes wide and mouth agape. His tail shot out of the water as he tilted his head down to have a better look. Hena left the fly stationary for a second and he sucked it straight into his crusher plates. One swift strip strike from Hena and the water erupted, infuriated this big boy span round and took off, taking with him all the fly line and screaming off towards the deep well into the backing as the boys wooped from shore.Brandon King, Clare Carter, info-pacific permit, permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, permit tagging

After a few minutes Hena had him under control and bought him sulkily in to shore. Landing him Brandon had a look of confusion on his face, the fly line went in to his mouth and the fly appeared to be stuck to his rear end. Closer inspection revealed this was actually the exact same fish from yesterday and it became clear that he had been foul hooked in the rear. Elated Brandon retrieved both his flies and handed this beautiful golden beast to Hena for a few pictures before tagging him and releasing him on his way….another epic day.

Brandon King, Clare Carter, indo-pacific permit, permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, permit tagging

Day three saw some clouds start to roll in and the permit fishing was slow and hard going with the boys working the water hard to no avail. Many miles were covered with little permit sightings.By some strange luck there was however numerous shoals of Bream appear, however their speed and agility resulted in 2 tired men and no fish landed. As the day drew to a close it seemed that these fish had other ideas.

Brandon decided to stick around and persevere as it was the last day on the permit beaches, and it payed off. As the light was starting to fade the final hour saw an exodus of fish with both Hena and Brandon running back and forth along the waters edge. Hena landing 3 Indo-Pacific permit and losing the 4th fish. A superb day for our tagging program and one for the history books in terms of catching permit. A very happy two men returned triumphantly to the hotel for a well earned drink!

Brandon King, Clare Carter, indo-pacific permit, permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, permit tagging

Brandon King, Clare Carter, bluefish, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, permit tagging

We packed up and all headed south towards Salalah to our boat based operation for 5 days fishing offshore.

For more info about fly fishing in Oman contact us at info@arabianfly.com

Omani Permit tagging project

Brandon King, Clare Carter, bluefish, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, permit tagging

The Omani coastline is one of the most rugged and diverse in terms of landscape. From long sandy beaches to rugged treacherous cliff faces it is a fisherman’s paradise. Since starting our fishing business here we have been looking at ways in which we can aid in the protection of these fisheries.

Our first project has just got underway in the form of a Permit Tagging program with the help and advise of The Bone Fish and Tarpon Trust (BTT).  Our aim is to gather data that can be used to protect the Indo Pacific permit population we have here in Oman and their habitats. Tagging programs around the world have been shown to produce some fascinating data. I know there are mixed reviews on the whole subject and pros and cons to any fish tagging program. After extensive research and many conversations with other programs around the world we have put together a program that will benefit the Indo Pacific species of permit here and aid in their protection.

So where do we start? Anything you wish to protect must have a monetary ‘Value’, this sounds very crude to be putting a price onto the head of each of these beautiful and delicate permit but bear with me. A permit has a value of 2 Rials per kilo (about $5/kg) when sold at the local fish market. So how do we increase this value to make them worth more alive and swimming than dead and on our plates? We will be recording each of our clients/visitors ‘spend’ whilst visiting Oman. From internal travel, hotel stay, food, tourist activities and the purchase of any local keepsakes etc. We can then add this together and divide it by the number of permit we catch and tag, this will give us the ‘Value’ of each permit.

The next important criterior is data on the fish themselves that we can use to get a picture of their habitat, growth rates, where do they travel to etc. We will be recording the unique tag number along with date, time and location of each fish caught and tagged, as well as measurement of length from nose to fork. The tags we will be using are small yellow plastic T bar designs to be inserted just behind their dorsal fin. Our telephone number, email address and most importantly the unique tag number is all printed onto each tag, making it easy for any recaptured fish to be identified and cross referenced to the details of their last capture.

Brandon King, Clare Carter, bluefish, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, permit tagging

Our long term goal is to build an overall picture of the Indo Pacific Permit in Oman, their population size, growth rates, feeding grounds and general movements along the coast. I say long term goal as statistically we will need to tag a large number of Permit to ensure our recapture rate becomes significant enough to gain a large amount of data in order to produce accurate statistics on the above mentioned criterior.

We have already and will continue to speak to the local fishermen in each area explaining what the tagging program is, why we are doing it and what to do if they recapture tagged fish. If these permit are caught by them in nets or on hand lines we want to record this data too. This will help not only with movement patterns and growth rates but also the number of fish being killed for food.

How do we gain the support of the local communities? Once we work out the ‘Value’ of each permit we can use the same data to show how much these fish are worth to the local community.  We can show them that the greater number of visiting fishermen and their families we have visiting these areas staying in hotels, purchasing local goods and services, the more money there is coming to the region. The demand from the hotels for local produce increases in order for them to feed their guests (this includes other more sustainable fish species such as Tuna), and an increase in tourism brings more income to the community as a whole. If we can show this increase then the Indo Pacific permits ‘Value’ to the local community will go from a 2 Rial per kilo dinner option to something that is worth much more alive and swimming. This will hopefully lead to the protection, not only of the permit themselves but also their habitat and the beaches that they are found on.

We hope, in time, that this program will bring many exciting changes to an already beautiful region in Oman and help to protect the unique fishing grounds, beaches and above all the outstandingly special Indo Pacific permit population that we are so lucky to be able to enjoy here.

Brandon King, Clare Carter, bluefish, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, permit tagging

The Bonefish Whisperer and his Permit Queen

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.

Brandon King, Clare Carter, bluefish, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

Brandon King, Clare Carter, bluefish, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

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.

Three Spot pompano, Oman, fly fishing, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Flt Sport Fishing, Arabian Fly

Brandon King, Clare Carter, bluefish, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

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.

Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

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.

Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

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.

Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

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!

Quick little detour produces some Omani Gold!

We have spent the last 3 weeks fly fishing and exploring exciting new areas by boat in Oman. With so many thousands of kilometres of coast line and water to discover it has been an absolutely amazing trip for us but more on that soon.

Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing, Brandon King, Clare Carter, fishing Oman, fly fishing

We just couldn’t resist a few days detour to one of our favourite permit locations along the way. It certainly didn’t let us down! We have been spending a lot of time with the locals in each location that we go to, getting to know them and understanding each area and how we can support and work with them as its important for us to give something back to Oman and its people as well as help to preserve these fisheries for future generations.

As if permit fishing isn’t nerve wrecking enough we now had an audience of 4 Omani’s in 2 trucks following behind us as we walked the beach in search of Omani Gold. It wasn’t too long before we spotted our first permit, surfing in and out on the waves gently feeding as he went. I suspect the Omani’s couldn’t initially see the fish as they didn’t have polaroids on so they all looked very confused as I dropped to a crouch and started running up and down the beach casting. Trying to focus on the fish and ignore the chatter behind me I gently laid out a cast just in front of him. A small wave turned him in to shore, he sailed majestically down its crest and in to the shallows. With his huge black eyes wide and food on his mind I could see him scouring the bottom. Bump, bump, bump, I gently stripped my crab fly along the sandy bottom. Spotting something tasty out f the corner of his eye he zipped over to my crab, with one quick eyeball of my offering he tailed up on his side and inhaled it. An explosion of water and my line was screaming through my fingers as he furiously headed for deep water to roars of applause from behind us. Im not sure what my Omani friends thought I was doing as I sprinted up and down the beach then in and out of the water gingerly reeling line then letting him take line from me. I expect the real surprise was when I finally had this beautiful gold and silver trophy in my arms, took some photos gave him a kiss and to their horror set him free again. It took some explaining I must say but I think they finally understood why we do what we do….I’m sure it will make for a great storey when they tell their family and friends.

Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

Brandon King, Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

Brandon was up next and boy did he get given the run around. We must have seen and cast to over 14 fish with no takers. Our Omani friends were getting very confused as to why we were not catching. It didn’t help Brandon’s mood when they kept saying that he should let the lady fish as she was clearly better than him as she had landed a permit so quickly. However we all know that permit are permit, sometimes they play ball and sometimes they don’t. So we persevered and as the good light was starting to fade Brandon got his shot, landing his own beautiful piece of Omani Gold and ending the day on a high!

Brandon King, Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

Before we hit the road the next day it was too much to resist not spending a few hours on the beach. Today was not my day though, seeing 10 fish all of whom had no interest what so ever in my fly. In fact I had one heart in my mouth moment when I cast out and was waiting as a beautiful permit was swimming dangerously close to my crab only for another cheeky little guy to swoop in from the other direction towards my fly. My heart was racing, who would win the battle and what luck….2 permit fighting over my fly. Alas it was just a tease and culminated in them both having a stand off and spooking each other back into the deep. As I gave up and started to head for the car I could see Brandon kneeling in the water and waving frantically. Sprinting down the beach to him I could see his beaming smile from ear to ear…. Another stunning permit laying in his hands!

Brandon King, Clare Carter, Permit, Indo-Pacific Permit, fly fishing, Oman, fly fishing Oman, Arabian Fly, Arabian Fly Sport Fishing

So 3 permit in two days….a worthy detour for sure….now off to new exciting destinations!