Oman: Q2 2006

The second quarter was relatively quiet. Although I logged eleven trips during this period, very few of these trips were long events, but were mostly confined to late afternoon sessions after work, late afternoon on the weekend and a number of short trips snatched whilst running the engines or testing equipment following boat maintenance. The main quarry during this period was Longtail Tuna (Sahwa in Arabic), which appear off Muscat as the waters warm towards the end of April, and hang around for a few months before disappearing further north. These are relatively small but hard fighting fish, and they make good eating!

 

 

Longtail Tuna 22/04/2006

Location: BR Canyon – Shelf Break intersection & BK Break

Weather: Calm (5mph wind)

Water Temperature: ~28°C

Time: PM (After work)

This was a late afternoon trip after sneaking out from work fishing with Martin Healy aboard his 31’ Walkaround (a nice boat to fish from). In perfect, flat calm conditions, we ran out to the break and found c.30+ Omani boats fishing longtail tuna, and we commenced trolling around the edge of the fleet. Longtail tuna were periodically hitting the surface. I had a strike almost immediately on a small yellow rapala, resulting in a small (~1kg) longtail that we released. Martin then proceded to hook 3 fish on a grey-white rapala, landing 2 and losing one at boatside. These fish were all in the 3-4kg size range. After missing one strike I had a good fight with a decent sized fish that took a purple Predatek lure. This fish pulled the hooks near the boat, and that marked the end of the trip. We returned to the marina at dusk for a well earned lager!

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Fighting Sahwa_27.04.06 001 (r) Fighting Sahwa_27.04.06 002 (r)

  Fighting a longtail tuna

 

Longtail Tuna 27/04/2006

Location: BR Canyon – Shelf Break

Weather: Choppy (10mph breeze)

Water Temperature: ~28°C

Time: Mid afternoon start

The longtail tuna run that had started the previous week continued. Me and Mike took a late trip to take advantage of the situation. Unfortunately, the weather was blustery during the day, contrary to forecast. The wind appeared to be dropping mid afternoon. I called my friend Mohammed (who was fishing in the Sinbad Classic tournament) to enquire about conditions and fishing. He replied that the sea was calming and that the longtail tuna were at the break, so we decided to give it a go. We ran out to the Bander Rowdha canyon intersection with the shelf break in choppy seas, where we encountered a fleet of about 40+ Omani boats! We trolled around and in-between these boats – I pulled a small, Omani rigged blue rebel. Mike fished a large white-red rebel rigged conventionally. There was occasional (limited) tuna activity at surface and we had periodic strikes. Mike lost two decent fish shortly after hook-up. I had one good fish make a number of attempts at my rebel before succumbing and getting hooked. This fish put up a spirited fight before coming to gaff, a decent 5kg fish. I finished up with another (small) longtail whilst Mike picked up a kawakawa to completed the day.

 

 

After work pm trip (2/05/06)

Location: BR Canyon – Shelf Break

Weather: Calm

Water Temperature: ~29°C

Time: PM

This was another weekday, post work trip. This time I took fellow petrophysicists Tim Putnam and  James Gittins along. I ‘d had a number of unsuccessful trips with James and was beginning to think he was a Jonah! We can’t fail this time, I thought. I found the Omani boats in the same place again (the longtails stayed around this area for weeks). As usual, we set up to troll around the area (and take advantage of the fish drawn in by the Omani’s live-bait chumming technique). We saw a number of fish caught on live-bait, but lure didn’t seem to be working today, despite trying a range of rebel and rapala lures. Finally, James had 1 good strike on a small white squid that he trolled far back in the spread. This was a good sized fish and made a very strong run. The level-wind on James’ budget trolling reel seized immediately putting more strain on the line, and, shortly after, the fish pulled the hook after the first run. That was it for the day. James is Jonah!!

 

 

Solo Longtail Tuna (13/05/2006)

Location: BR Canyon – Shelf Break intersection & BK Break

Weather: Choppy first, calm later (15mph dropping to 5mph winds)

Water Temperature: ~30°C

Time: AM – PM

I had a lot on my mind at this time, and decided to take the day off and go out on my own to think. I started by collecting live-bait. I managed to collect 25 scad in the marina before departing to find surprisingly choppy seas and very hot, blustery conditions. As I ran offshore to the break I contemplated turning back, as it was a little too rough for comfort, especially whilst fishing solo. I was encouraged by a number of passing fishing boats that signalled to me that the fish were offshore, so I decided to keep going and followed their direction (it always amazed me that the Omani fishermen would guide you to fish, or give you live-bait readily, despite you being in competition with them as they went about earning their living – very pleasant, friendly people).

 

I reached the fishing ground by mid-day. There were a few boats, scattered over a wide area. Amazingly, as we went further offshore, the breeze died and the seas calmed down. I put out two rods, one with a single white squid lure, the other with a two squid lures. I was into my first fish immediately (on the double lures), a small longtail that I quickly released. I continued trolling and soon had another fish on, again on the double squid rig. 2 sets, 2 strikes, 2 releases, all within 15 minutes of starting fishing – this was shaping up to be a good day. As I was passing an Omani boat, I took another (this time better) strike off a good fish. This fish started dumping line off my Penn 7500ss spinning reel and I struggled to stop it’s first run. I turned the fish and started working it towards the boat. It took off on a second run, before coming to the boat. As it neared it turned again and I felt the hook pull …. damn!

 

I decided to stop for a while and try out some livebait, whilst downing some much needed fluids – the heat index was very high. I cast a livebait out on a 15-30lb class Penn Slammer spinning outfit and put the rod in the holder. Almost immediately, the bait was snatched by a decent sized longtail tuna, that set off on a scorching run. After a 10 minute battle, I brought a fine 6.5kg longtail tuna to the gaff – this was one for the ice box. I then put out another livebait and waited. It wasn’t long before I got another strike from another good size tuna.

 

After landing this fish, the forth of the day, I took stock. I was extremely hot and dehydrated after fighting these last two fish. I decided that I needed a cooling breeze, so put out the squid lures again (2 rods) and started to troll back towards the marina. I was about 3 or 4 kms outside the marina when I got another strike, again on the squid double, a slightly smaller fish of c.3kgs. I released this one and continued towards home. About 1km out from the marine I caught my 6th fish of the day. This one took the single squid lure (at last) and I was convinced that this was a bonito, but no, another plump longtail came to the boat. After this release, I returned to the marina without further incident. My final tally was 6 longtail tuna to 6.5kgs, of which I retained 3 and released the rest. Another really enjoyable, if ever so slightly hot, day on the water!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sahwa_13.05.06 001 (r) Sahwa (13.05.06) (i)

 Me with a nice 6.5kg Sahwa (longtail tuna) 

–o0o–

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Quick run after boat maintenance (25/05/06)

Location: Inshore from the marina, Sidab  & Sultan Qaboos’ Palace

Weather: Calm

Water Temperature: 32°C

Time: PM

Put boat in water at 4.30pm & commenced testing engines (trim, speedo,

fuel gauge), fish finder & livebait pump after some routine boat maintenance work. I found pods of bait throthing the surface off Sidab fishng village. I was trolling a small, pink, hard head squid lure and got one hit, from a small (c.1kg) longtail tuna when passing a bait ball! After a quick release I continued my run to Old Muscat, just of Sultan Qaboos’ Palace. With no further events I turned back & opened the throttles to return to the marina. It’s always good to take a rod with you, even when you don’t plan to fish, just in case you chance upon some surface activity!

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Kawakawa (2/06/06)

Location: BR Canyon – Shelf Break intersection & BK Break

Weather: Slight swell

Water Temperature: 32-33°C

Time: PM

I ran offshore mid afternoon to the break to fish a short session for longtail tuna. I trolled white squid, rapalas, rebels and bubblers around Omani boats at the break but the bite had been  slow since 2.00pm (pers com M.Jahwari). After a fruitless few hours, with spinner dolphins being the only surface activity, I decided to return. When running back to the marina, and c.1km offshore, I foul hooked a garfish & followed it with a good strike from a decent sized bonito (kawakawa) of around 2.5kgs. Both fish were released.

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Another quick boat run after maintenance work (23/06/2006)

Location: Off Sultan Qaboos’ Palace, Muscat.

Weather: Choppy

Water Temperature: 31°C

Time: Late PM

This was a late afternoon trip to put the boat in the water and give it the engines a run after further boat repair work. I got the boat back in the water at 5.30pm and immediately headed our west along the coast toward Muttrah port in choppy seas. I was going to run to a rock ridge just off the Sultan’s Palace, where the water depth changes sharply, from c.35m to c.10m over a linear feature I christened “the hump”. This always holds bait and fish, both at depth and often shoals of  baitfish at the surface, too.

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When I  arrived at the hump I found  shoals of bait at surface. I put out one of my small blue/orange small rapalas (one of my more successful lures) and commenced to troll around the area.  On my third pass over the structure I got a good strike that I quickly subdued and got to boat side – a c.3.5kg barracuda. Unfortunately, I’d left my fishing pliers at home & was unable to unhook the fish safely so I brought it aboard for my boat boy to eat. I then started to troll back along the coast towards the marina. Within 10 minutes I took another fish just off Cemetry Bay (between the Sultan’s Palace & Sidab). This time, it was a surprise baby yellowfin tuna of c.1kg which I duly released.  Not bad – boat re-launched, 2 fish in half an hour, engines tested and back to the marina inside the hour!

This entry was posted in (2) Oman, Barracuda, Tuna, Tuna - Longtail. Bookmark the permalink.

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