Leaving Oman – Q3 2007

Oman Q3 2007

This was to be my final phase of fishing in Oman. Although it was a hard decision (to leave Oman), work was getting me down and I’d decided to accept a job in Kuala Lumpur and had handed in my notice. I decided to get in as many trips as possible during this period (temperature and fish activity permitting). I was also hoping to get in that serious fishing trip to Ras Mad, but time (and the Khareef) worked against me – this trip would have to wait for another time! And, so it was, that I made my final fishing trips aboard my own game boat, Sirocco. The highlights of the quarter were as follows:



Sifa (6.06.07)

Location: c.3km off Sifa / Sifa Bay


Water Temperature:~30°C

Time:AM – PM

This was a trip with Kamal Busaidi to see if there were any kingfish around. The weather was calm but very hot. We found fishing boats c. 1.5km off Sifa and we started off trolling rapalas. Kamal got a good strike almost immediately, but lost the fish when the hook broke off the lure. Shortly thereafter, I took a nice 5kg bonito (kawakawa) on a red and white lure. Unfortunately, the fish made a scorching run managed to wrap itself around the anchor line of a local fishing boat & was dead by the time we’d got the fish boatside. We traded the fish for some sardine live bait from the local fisherman and commenced bait fishing. We soon attracted a school of aggressive (and annoying) garfish, working them into a frenzy next to the boat. I landed 6 of these together with a small queenfish before tiring of the action. All bar one (deep hooked) fish were released. Kamal persevered with his fly outfit, finally taking a gar (a new species) on the fly. To round the day off, we move position and found a school of ?tunas. We could get them to take dead bait chum, but they charged hooked live bait only to turn away at the last minute without striking, apparently leader shy. We changed to lighter leaders but lost the school before we had a further chance of action.


 Big Kawakawa #1 (6.07.07) Big Kawakawa #2 (6.07.07)Nice, c.5kg Kawakawa, off Sifa

School of garfi sh chase the fly (6.07.07) Kamal hooked-up (6.07.07) Garfish on the fly (6.07.07)Kamal – garfish on the fly

The cliffs off Sifa (6.07.07)The cliffs of Sifa on an extremely hot and humid day



Fishing with Glenn Orr (2.08.07)

Location: Fahal Buoy & Island / Off Muttrah Port entrance / Off Sidab


Water Temperature:~30°C


This was Glenn Orr’s return visit to Oman, following the exciting fishing action that he’d experienced on his previous visit the year before (see previous entry: A (Blacktip) Shark Tale (20/08/06)). Unfortunately, his timing was off, he arrived a little too early in the season and this was the first of only two trips that we made during his visit. We hit Fahal Buoy searching for Dorado with no luck. We then did circuits around Fahal Island, with only a foul hooked bait fish to show for our efforts. On our way back to port, we trolled on gull activity off Muttrah Port, again without luck. Finally, we got a decent strike on the final leg of the home journey, between Sidab and the marina – a reasonable kawakawa of c.1.5kg that Glenn brought to the boat. Not a big fish, but a new species for Glenn, and he was impressed with the power, given it’s small size, of this feisty fish.


We made on further trip a few days later on 6th of August, but finished early due to the unfavourable chop and lack of activity. All-in-all, poor fishing, especially when compared to Glenn’s previous visit the year before.



Solo trip targeting Kingfish (11.08.07)

Location: Al Bustan Bay / Sifa Bay

Weather:3’ Swell, light (5mph) wind

Water Temperature:~29°C


After seeing good catches of Kingfish brought in to Muttrah fish market, I decided to head to Sifa for an afternoon session to try to catch one of these (now) elusive and rare fish. I started off trying the bait balls I encountered in Al Bustan bay & picked up a joey & then a good kawakawa (of c. 4kg) after seeing fish hit the surface. I retained the larger fish for my boat boy and then followed the local boats heading to Sifa (as they passed they all gesticulated towards Sifa)!


At Sifa, I pulled a variety of white/red headed lures, apparently good for kingfish. I had 2 strikes during the course of the afternoon –  one not hooked, the other pulled hooks near boat after an initial long run. I rurned the fish and worked it near to the boat. It turned to make another run and the hook pulled. This was probably a kingfish (the lure came back with a row of small, evenly spaced puncture marks). I finished off the session by live baiting with sardines, taking 3 small queenfish and a garfish (releasing all but two deeply hooked fish).


4kg Bonito in the boat (11.08.07) 4kg Bonito (11.08.07) 4kg Bonito - close-up (1) (11.08.07)

A nice, c.4kg kawakawa (aka bonito, mackerel tuna) 

.Mixed Bag (11.08.07) (ed)

 Mixed bag of kawakawa, queenfish & garfish


Once again, the sought after kingfish managed to elude me!



Last trip on HMS Sirocco (16.08.07)

Location: Sifa / Bandar Khayran Shelf-Break

Weather: 3’ Swell with 10mph winds (AM) / Calm (5mph winds PM)

Water Temperature:~29°C

Time: AM –PM

This was a memorable trip – my last trip on my game-fishing boat Sirocco with my friend Kamal. It was also memorable because the fishing was excellent and Kamal managed to land a yellowfin tuna on fly fishing tackle!


We started the day searching for live bait with little success, trying the marina and Cat Island without success. We then tried Banda Jissa, near the arch. There was a strong swell (c.3’) and bait was elusive, and we only managed to collect 1 mackerel scad and one blue-line fusilier. After an hour, we called it a day and headed, through the heavy swell, to Sifa in search of kingfish, which were reported to be in the area. When we arrived, there was an amarda of boats live-baiting (without apparent  success, apart from the odd garfish) for kingfish, such is the market value of these fish since overfishing has depleted stocks. We trolled red/white diving lures around the frenzied activity for around 3 hours without a touch. We realized that there was nothing going to happen here, particularly without live-bait, so we decided to run back towards the marina via deeper offshore waters. En route, we saw Omani fishing boats chasing dolphins at the shelf-break off Bandar Khayran and headed towards the action. As soon as we arrived at location I slowed the boat to trolling speed; Kamal immediately deployed a home-tied green-yellow clouser on an eight weight fly rod. Even before I could put out a lure Kamal was hooked-up to a decent fish which tore off line and then sounded, bending the light rod into a horse-shoe. Kamal then skillfully played the fish, carefully guiding it towards the boat as it made a number of deep diving runs. After some 15 minutes or so, I managed to leader and gaff the 13kg yellowfin tuna, landed on light fly tackle and 25lb fluorocarbon leader! A memorable catch.


Kamal - Fighting 13kg Yellowfin on fly_16.08.07 Kamal - 13kg Yellowfin (on fly) goes deep_16.08.07 13kg Yellowfin on fly (1)_16.08.07 Kamal - 13kg Yellowfin on fly (3)_16.08.07 Kamal & 13kg Yellowfin on fly (2)_16.08.07Kamal Busaidi – nice schoolie yellowfin tuna on light fly tackle

After landing this fish, we continued trolling, Kamal with the fly, me using the trusty orange rebel. However, action was slow, and we could see the locals taking sporadic fish on live-bait. We stopped alongside one boat and managed to trade some isotonic drinks for live-bait, although the fisherman himself had struggled to get bait, and was only able to give us 5 or 6 scad. Still, this would be enough to ensure some good sport!!


With more live-baits in the well, we started to follow the Omani fishing boats as they chased the tuna schools, which were occasionally crashing the surface chasing bait. As we neared some surface action, I saw a fish streak past the boat. I ran towards the bow and cast a livebait. Bang ….. the bait was immediately hit and line started stripping from the open spool. I flipped the bail arm only for the bait to pull from the fish’s mouth! I started retrieving and could feel the bait was still on. “Leave it”, said Kamal. I stopped retrieving and, sure enough, the bait was struck again. I let the fish run before closing the bail and tightening in to a reasonable fish that immediately started leaping and thrashing at the surface ….. a reasonable dorado. After a short, but powerful fight, I brought this one to the gaff, a cow of c.5kgs. This spelt the start of some spectacular dorado action. Almost every livebait I put out was hit by a dorado and I quickly added 2 more fish to the ice box. Kamal was not faring so well, he had a couple of half takes on the livies, but no hook-ups. Given the action, we soon ran out of scad live baits. I looked in the well and there was just one bait left, the large blue-line fusilier. I didn’t think that this would be any good – it was big and had a set of spiny dorsal fin rays. Still, beggars can’t be choosers, I thought …. And it was very strong and lively. I hooked it up and cast it out. Almost as soon as I put the rod in the holder the reel started screaming as a decent fish hit the bait and took off!! Proof positive – the spiny reef fish work as live-bait!!! After a short fight I brought a c.5kg bull dorado to the boat which Kamal revived prior to release.


Fighting dorado number 5_16.08.07 Cow dorado (on orange rebel lure) comes to the boat_16.08.07 Bar of Gold (1)_16.08.07 Bar of Gold (2) (16.08.07)Cow dorado


Fighting Bull Dorado (16.08.07) Bull jumping (16.08.07) Dorado Jump_16.08.07_MOV01011 001 Dorado Release_16.08.07_MOV01013Catch & release bull dorado


As that marked the end of the live-bait, we decided to troll back towards the marina following the shelf break. We’d barely been trolling for 15 minutes before I got a good strike on (yes, you guessed it) the magic Omani style orange rebel. Another (this time cow) dorado, which was duly released to fight again. We continued to head for home. After about half an hour, Kamal got a good strike on a white (old and worn) Omani rigged rebel. This fish put up a good fight, eventually revealing itself to be a 5kg longtail tuna. That fish marked the end of the session and we powered up for a fast run back to Marina Bandar Rowdha.



Last trip on Sirocco  – Andrew Griffin & Kamal Busaidi


What a fantastic last trip on Sirocco – 7 good fish caught, 3 different species including a yellowfin tuna taken on the fly. Excellent. It was sad to see the boat go but she’d served me well. I gained a wealth of game fishing experience in a relatively short period of time and made some impressive catches. This phase of my life was going to be hard to beat!!


Return home - Al Bustan Palace Hotel_16.08.07Al Bustan Palace Hotel

Return home - Quantab Cliffs (1) (16.08.07) Return home - Quantab Cliffs_16.08.07 (2)Return to Banda Rhowda Marina – Quantab Cliffs

.Return to Marina Bandar Rhowda (1)_16.08.07 Return to Marina Bandar Rhowda (2)_16.08.07

 Home Port – the entrance to Banda Rhowda Marina


Leaving Oman – Last game-fishing trip (26.08.07)

Location: North of Fahal Island to Shelf-break

Weather:2’ Swell with 5mph winds

Water Temperature:~29°C


This was going to be my last game-fishing trip in Oman (at least for the foreseeable future). I  left work early to go out with my son, Sion, and my mate Kamal using a PDO fishing club boat. The weather was fine & we were out for one last trip (the packers were due in the next day to prepare for my impending move to Malaysia), targeting longtail tuna. We headed out a few clicks past Fahal Island where we encountered schools of small longtails, but got no takes on trolled lures. We then came across a large, floating wooden object at the shelf break. As we pulled our lures hard to the object, BAM, we got an immediate strike. A large bull dorado started leaping skyward. We gave the rod to Sion, who played the fish towards the boat, unfortunately pulling the hook as the fish came alongside.


We turned back and started trolling towards Fahal Island, picking up a small frigate tuna along the way. Then, as we got near the island, we got a double hit from good fish. Mine went deep before the hook suddenly pulled. Kamal, on the other hand, was well hooked-up on a red and white fly. The fish put up a good fight on the light fly rod. Initially charging the boat, making it difficult to keep the line tight on the low retrieve fly reel; then making a number of powerful dives, before finally succumbing and coming to the boat – a decent c.4.5kg bonito (Kawakawa). Kamal tried in vain to remove the hook for  release but the fish was caught in the gills, so it ended up in the cooler to be used to make fish paste sandwiches. Pity!

Siôn losing a Bull Dorado (26.08.07)Sion fighting (& losing) a good sized bull dorado 


Kamal hooked-up on the fly (26.08.07) Kamall fighting Kawakawa (26.08.07) Kamal unhooking decent kawakawa (26.08.07) Kawakawa on the fly (26.08.07)Kamal playing a good Bonito (Kawakawa) on the fly


Kamal playing a good Bonito (Kawakawa) on the fly – the video

 Siôn with Kawakawa (26.08.07)Sion with the catch


Siôn with frigate tuna (26.08.07)Sion with a frigate tuna


That fish marked the end of the session as it was getting late. Oman treated me to a final, beautiful sunset as we returned to port, the sun slipping nbehind Fahal Island as it set. I was left to reflect on my very enjoyable years in Oman. “I will return,  one day”, I thought, to this quirky, but enticing country.


Sunset over Fahal Island (26.08.07)Final Fahal Island sunset

 My last Omani sunset (26.08.07)Sunset off Muscat


This entry was posted in (2) Oman, Dorado (Dolphinfish), Tuna, Tuna - Mackerel (Kawakawa), Tuna - Yellowfin. Bookmark the permalink.

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