Oman Q2 2007

Oman Q2 2007

The onset of the hot season marked the usual change in fish species and fishing styles.  With the warmer water came the appearance of barracuda, dorado and longtail tuna. The yellowfin tuna made their usual disappearing act and it was time to stow the heavy tackle and concentrate on light tackle sport. I was mindful of the fact that this would probably be my last season in Oman – I was growing restless at work and starting to look at changing company and perhaps moving to another country, so I was keen to make the most of my remaining time in Oman. My son, Siôn, was also eager to catch more game fish species – his confidence was up since his “Dorado Day” experience back in November (see entry 27.10.06). We kicked off in April with a camping / fishing trip to Oman’s fantastic south coast at the mystical Ras Madrakha:

 

Ras Madrakha South Beach (April 2007)

Date: 11.04.07

Weather:Breezy, cool onshore wind.

Water Temperature:c.25°C

Time:AM-PM

The wife had returned to attend to some family business in Japan, leaving me home alone with the kids. Now, I’d been planning a trip to the south coast with my mate Kamal, but the timing wasn’t  working in our favour. With summer (and the impending Khareef) closing in fast, there was very little space for a serious fishing trip. So, with the wife away, and the children on easter break, I decided to join Kamal and his family for a camping trip to Ras Mad South Beach. I managed to leave on-time in the morning (for the first time ever for our family) despite being on my own and having to prepare food and provisions, camping and fishing kit, get the children ready and fed and pack all the gear in the 4WD (wifey take note!). We met Kamal at a petrol station on the edge of Muscat and headed off on the long journey south.

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Ras Mad - journey scenery (1) (11.04.07) Ras Mad - journey scenery (2) (11.04.07)Desert scenery on the journey south

 

We arrived late afternoon and immediately set about making camp – more hard work after c.6 hours + of driving. I gave the kids some snacks and then set about doing some late afternoon fishing. We set up the chairs near the (fairly heavy) surf and put out some prawns on running ledger rigs. It wasn’t long before the rod tips were rattling – Kamal was shoing his experience and expertise bringing in bream and pompano’s. We, on the other hand, could only manage a string of “trash” fish – I think that we only managed catfish, much to my eldest son Siôn’s disappointment. Infact, after busting my balls all day getting the stuff prepared and packed, then driving all day and having to set up camp, my son’s constant moaning and winging about only catching catfish pushed me over the edge – he was soon on the receiving end of a tongue lashing! He needed to realise how lucky he was to be camping and fishing in such a unique location! We finally finished off the session with a small blacktip shark, to add to my trash fish species count!

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Waiting for a bite (11.04.07) A Bream for dinner (11.04.07)Bream for Dinner

 Kamal stalking permit (11.04.07)Kamal stalking dinner ….

 Kamal & Saif with a nice Sharry (Emperor fish) (11.04.07)Saif & Kamal – Nice Sharry (Emperor fish)

 Sharry close-up (11.04.07)Sharry colours

 

We finished the day with freshly grilled bream and sharry, courtesy of Kamal & Saif, washed down with beer and wine, before hitting the sack for a much earned rest.

 

Date: 12.04.07

Weather:Moderate onshore breeze

Water Temperature:c.25°C

Time:AM-PM

We started the day bright and early – a full days fishing lay ahead. After breakfast, we again set up our stuff at the waters edge and alternated between fishing and eating. The children added playing in the sand plus playing in the surf whenever it got a little hot. We caught fish throughout the day, including pompano, bream and, yes, the occasional catfish. There were two species I really wanted to catch – a bluefish and a guitar fish. I put out my heavy telescopic beachcaster with a whole scad (dead bait) to try to tempt a big guitar, whilst we fished prawns on the lighter spinning rod. In the early afteroon, the beachcaster was nearly ripped from the rod rest. I picked up and tightened into a good fish that soon showed itself to be a decent bluefish by making repeated leaps in the surf. I soon subdued it on the heavy tackle and, after a few quick pics, revived it in the surf before releasing it. I was very pleased with this c.6kg fish, although I would have preferred to catch it on lighter tackle. Still, it was another new species to the list. Later in the day, Siôn got a decent fish on the prawn rig – he played in a small guitarfish (in the 6-7kg range), only for the (light) leader to break as I was leadering the fish in the surf. Siôn was unhappy not to get a picture, but we convinced him that it classified as an official catch and release.

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Ras Mad Bluefish (12.04.07) (i) 6kg Ras Madrakah Bluefish (12.04.07) 6kg Bluefish close-up (12.04.07)My first ever Bluefish, Ras Mad South Beach

 Siôn's dinner (12.04.07)Sion with a nice bream for dinner

 Siôn plays Guitarfish (12.04.07) Siôn playing Guitarfish (12.04.07) (i)Sion playing guitar ……

 

Kamal (and his son Saif and daughter Shareen) on the other hand, were doing well, landing numerous pompano, bream and a very nice permit. All in all, we finished the 2 day session with 10 different species. Kamal’s crew had taken the premier slam – pompano / permit / bream. The Griffin’s had managed the trash fish slam – catfish / shark / guitarfish!!

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Ceri & Saif with a pompano (12.04.07)Saif & Ceri with a Pompano

 Saify with another pompano (12.04.07)Saif with another nice Pompano

 Shareen puts the heat on a permit (12.04.07) Shareen fighting a permit (12.04.07) (r) Shareen with prize (12.04.07)Shareen with a nice South Beach Permit

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I really enjoyed this trip and vowed to come again, the next time sans family for a serious go at the game fish of Ras Mad …!!

 

 

Siôn’s Solo Barracuda (20.04.07)

Location:Fahal Buoy and surrounding area

Weather:Flat calm

Water Temperature: c.28°C

Time:AM-PM

A late afternoon trip with the family. After spending some time searching the usual shelf-break haunts for activity, we finally ended up at Fahal Buoy and the surrounding area. We commenced trolling red and white small squid daisy chains just after passing a small pod of dolphins. We were rewarded with an immediate hook-up by a c.3kg longtail tuna which put up a good scrap for my son, Siôn, on light spinning tackle. After releasing this fish, we re-set the lures and commenced trolling, getting hit again, this time with a kawakawa of c.1.5kg, again released. We noted the periodic tuna activity at the surface and, as conditions were flat calm, decided to spend some time drifting live baits. I soon got a half take on the livie, but failed to hook-up. Then Siôn announced that something was having a go at his bait, resulting a few minutes later in a hook-up with a good fish. Siôn played this fish to the boat, struggling to control it’s short, but powerful runs. I took the leader as a decent sized barracuda surfaced. We wanted to release this fish but it was deeply hooked. As I hit it with the gaff, the mono leader parted! I swung the fish aboard, a ‘cuda of c.6kg, that we would give to the boat boy back at the marina. Siôn was particularly happy as he’d cast, struck and fought this fish the all important “all by himself” way!

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Siôn fighting a Baraccuda (20.04.07) Siôn playing a Kawakawa #2 (20.04.07) Siôn playing a Kawakwwa #1(20.04.07) Siôn with personal best  Baraccuda #1 (20.04.07) Siôn with Baraccuda #3 (20.04.07) Siôn with Baraccuda #2 (20.04.07)

 

   

More Omani Gold (26.04.07)

Location:Fahal Buoy / North Fahal Island

Weather:Moderate chop (5-10mph wind)

Water Temperature: c.28°C

Time:AM-PM

A week after Siôn’s personal best barracuda, we were out at Fahal Buoy again. We started off at the buoy, trolling squid daisy chains. On the second (eastwards) pass, I got a big strike on a chain of 3 medium sized pink squid. This fish proved to be a good sized bull dorado (8kg) that I quickly brought to the boat on 30-50lb class trolling gear – my first good fish on a recently acquired Shimano Tekota 700 reel. We made several more passed of the buoy after this fish without incident. We then decided to head to Fahal Island to see if there was anything going on there. On the way, we picked up a small longtail tuna (released) and then joined some Omni boats that were trolling up longtails. We failed to get any more strikes, so we decided to return home, passing Fahal Buoy on the way back. We put out 2 scad live-baits on circle hooks and were rewarded with multiple dorado strikes. We were fishing with drags set at trolling pressure (ie no drop-back) and we had three fish fail to hook-up. We also lost 2 fish during the fight, only managing to land (and release) two fish. Now, when we fish for tuna, we get very good hook-up ratio’s using circle hooks with no drop back. I realise though, that for improved hook-up rates for dorado, we need to use a light drag or give a little drop-back to allow the fish to take the baits down before letting the circle hook do it’s stuff. Even after all the experience gained over the previous 3 years, there is still a lot to learn!

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8kg Bull Dorado #1 (26.04.07) 8kg Bull Dorado #2 (26.04.07)A nice Bull Dorado

–o0o–

 

Wednesday Evening Dorado (2.05.07)

Location:Fahal Buoy

Weather:Calm

Water Temperature:~29°C

Time:Late PM

Finally, finally, after many attempts, I managed to have a successful fishing trip with my mate James Gittins! We snuck off early from work and rushed down to the marina to get a few hours of fishing in before nightfall. Conditions were perfect – calm seas, if a little hot. We spent 20 minutes collecting a limited number of live baits, scad (8) and sardines (6), on sabiki rigs in the marina and then sped off to Fahal Buoy, hoping to catch dorado. We reached the buoy and started off by trolling small squid lures to see if the fish were holding at the buoy. The second pass produced a smallish cow dorado for James – his first ever dorao (& first fish caught with me). Although it was a little small, James wanted this one for the pot. “We may not get another”, he said …. (oh ye of little faith) …!! We mad a number of further trolling passes, all the while James pestering me to start live-bait fishing. I relented after a few more fruitless passes, and we each put out a live-bait. James got a good strike first, a decent fish that he managed to lose by pushing the lever drag to free spool by mistake (instead of strike) ….! This resulted in a bird’s nest and lost fish! I then hooked up a good bull on light tackle – at this time we were SE of the buoy and I could see the fish running to the NW of the buoy. It was strong and once it had past the buoy I knew that there was a good chance of losing it around the buoy’s anchor chain. “Back-up, back-up” I shouted at James, but he was preoccupied with his own tackle and wasn’t paying attention. By the time he’d got his act together, the fish was wrapped at least once around the buoy. I couldn’t regain line, but the fish kept taking more line. We tried to circle the buoy to untangle the fish to no avail. James wanted to go in the water and untangle the fish – this was vey tempting at the time, but I decided James’ life was worth more than a dorado (but it was a close call ….!!). We broke the fish off and, with time (and the light) fading fast, made one last set. I immediately felt that something was playing with my bait. I gave some slack line and waited. After a few minutes, my line started to move off and I set the drag on a decent fish – a large bull that immediately started stripping line from my 30+ year old Abu 7000 reel, and started leaping into the air in the distance as it headed towards the horizon. This was a good fish on light tackle and I was concerned at getting spooled. James was on the ball this time, and we started to slowly follow the fish as I regained line (I guess that the fish was some 100-150m away at this point) – luckily the fish had run away from the buoy into open water. It was putting up a decent fight and I had to work hard in the sultry early evening heat. As I regained line, the fish made a number of shorter runs before coming to the boat, after about 15 minutes, done. Unfortunately, it was hooked deep (I wasn’t using circle hooks) so James took this one for the freezer! As it was now nearly dark, we cleared up and then set a course for the marina. I was pleased with this fish, that James later confirmed as being 8kgs exactly, caught on an old reel and a OMR10 Diawa Apollo spinning rod and 20lb mono line. This was the biggest fish I’d ever caught on the Abu 7000 reel and I planned to use it the next time I went out fishing for longtail tuna.

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James Gittins with Cow Dorado (02.05.07)James Gittins with Dorado

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Fighting Bull Dorado on spinning tackle #1 (02.05.07) 30 yr old Abu 7000 dangerously low on line (02.05.07) Fighting 8kg Bull Dorado (02.05.07) (i) 8kg Bull Dorado aboard (02.05.07) 8kg Bull Dorado (02.05.07) 8kg Bull Dorado (02.05.07) (i)A nice 8kg Bull Dorado taken on the vintage Abu Ambassadeur 7000 

–o0o–

 

Siôn’s Longtail Tuna Test (11.05.07)

Location:c.5km off Bandar Jissah

Weather:Calm

Water Temperature:~29°C

Time:AM-PM

This was the last significant trip of the quarter. We were having a beach BBQ in the afternoon with my wife’s friends fro the Japanese community and I used this as an excuse to get out and fish for the longtail tuna (sahwa in Arabic) that had made their usual appearance over the past few weeks as the sea temperatures picked up with the onset of the hot season. Siôn and I headed off relatively early in the morning with spinning gear (including the old favourite Abu 7000 reel) to chase these extremely tough game fish. We had a bit of luck at the marina – as it was early, an Omani boat was brazenly netting the sardines that were forming large shoals inside the marina (fishing is prohibited in the marina, but it never seemed to stop the locals coming in to stock up on live bait!). We approached the boat and asked if we could have some bait and were very happy to receive about 60 sardines! We exchanged some tins of pocari sweat (isotonic beverage) and set out to fish – we had good bait in abundance and extra fishing time!

 

Conditions were perfect and we headed out about 5km off Bandar Jissah. Omani boats were scattered over a wide area, meaning that there were large schools of fish moving through the area. We put out 2 sardine livebaits; one on a heavy action spinning rod (Penn Slammer) with 30lb line, the other on a 9’ Daiwa Apollo medium action rod paired with the old Abu 7000 reel spooled with 20lb braid. After setting the baits, I chummed some live sardines and we waited for the action to start. Within minutes we took a strike on the port rod and soon had a spirited c.3kg longtail tuna in the ice box. This was followed shortly after by a c.2.5 kg fish, which we released.

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??????????? Siôn's catch (11.05.07)Sion with his first Longtail tuna

 

The action was pretty constant, with strikes coming every 20 minutes, or so. These hard fighting tuna are good sport, and one of my favourite light tackle game fish. As the session wore on, we started getting larger fish, with Siôn struggling to bring fish up to c.6kgs to the boat. Compared to the similar sized dorado and barracuda that Siôn had previously landed, these fish were beasts! It was also pretty uncomfortable in the mid-day May heat. After landing 4 fish, releasing 2 and missing a couple of strikes, we decided to try to cool off a little by trolling lures for a while. We were soon hooked-up again, this time to a small frigate tuna that struck a pink hard head squid lure, although the trolling action was pretty slow. We finished off the session in the early afternoon with more live bait fishing. I took a 6kg fish on the lighter spinning rod / Abu 7000 combo – the rod was doubled over like a horseshoe and the old reel screamed as the fish made repeated powerful runs before finally being brought to the boat (another satisfying catch on the old favourite reel …!). As we were preparing to finish up, Siôn got a good strike on the Penn Slammer – a powerful fish that he struggled to subdue, passing the rod to me for a breather after ~15 minutes of fight, before reclaiming the rod and landing the biggest fish of the day, a respectable 6.5kg longtail. It had turned out to be a very good session landing 7 fish from 9 hits, releasing 3.

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Siôn's Longtail Tuna (11.05.07) (i) ??????????????????????????????? KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERASion with the catch

After the last fish we realised that time was ticking by – it was ~1.30pm and we had to make a hasty return to the marina. We unloaded and washed the boat down in double quick time before rushing back home to prepare the fish for the BBQ. Finally, it was a mad rush to PDO beach to start the party with the Japanese group. Despite being a little late, you can’t go wrong bringing fresh tuna to a Japanese party!!

This entry was posted in (2) Oman, Barracuda, Bluefish, Bream, Dorado (Dolphinfish), Emperor fish (Sharry), Guitar Fish, Permit, Pompano, Tuna, Tuna - Longtail. Bookmark the permalink.

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