Oman, April 2017
„Long cast - big fish“ or where the monsters live...
This year I wanted to give it another try and flew to Oman for the third time in succession to fish for monster GTs with the No Boundaries operation. Having gained some experience on my last two trips I knew what to expect. The weather was good this time, a bit too good in fact for popper fishing. We had very little wind all week and at times it was flat calm which made the boat trips out to the fishing grounds considerably more relaxed and comfortable.
As everyone knows fishing is at its best when there is plenty of wind and waves but what should I say? Things turned out completely differently. It was to be an unforgettable week with mega action and extremely pleasant sea conditions. What more can a fisherman’s heart ask for?
Day one: Shortly after arriving at the fishing grounds and after the first drift it was clear that we were in for a cracking day. We had fish following the lures from the first cast onwards. However, these fish were not particularly aggressive. By the end of the day we had 6 strikes of which three were hook-ups. We weighed, tagged and released 3 GTs weighing 43, 47 and 43 kilos. A further 12 fish chased our lures right up to the boat. One monster GT (I have never seen such a huge one in all my life) jumped completely clear of the water but unfortunately failed to take the large stick-bait – which another GT literally inhaled a few seconds later.
Day two: The evening after our terrific start Ed Nicolas, the owner of the lodge, asked if he could join me the next day. Naturally I said he could as I was eager to learn more from this GT monster professional. It didn’t take long for the first GT to take one of our lures. After a short and violent fight it was weighed, photographed and released. The scales shot up to 43 kilos. An hour later a shoal of milkfish, bonitos, gars and other forage fish churned up the water behind our boat in panic, performing long jumps and somersaulting past our boat. A few seconds later the water about 30 metres dead ahead of us exploded when a good dozen monster GTs smashed into them. Ed cast first and boom, I followed up with a stick-bait and boom! A double strike. Ed had naturally hooked a giant while mine, which we quickly unhooked and released without a photograph, was well into the forty kilo range. Then a few minutes later Ed’s submarine weighing 54 kilos was on board absolute madness.
After changing spots a couple of times we discovered a huge shoal of permits under our boat. We grabbed our snorkels and dove down to have a closer look at this spectacle. There were about three hundred permits and we were able to swim in their midst.
Towards noon we saw some big splashes on the surface some distance away. We hoped they were from hunting tuna and sped off towards them. They weren’t tuna but hundreds of dolphins jumping out of the water and corralling a large bait-ball. We were able to watch this from very close quarters and even sent up the drone – which was frequently attacked by the birds – what a day!
Day three: We were wrong to believe the fishing would continue like this. The morning passed with nothing serious happening. With a lot of effort we managed to catch a few small mahi mahi and entice a sailfish and a wahoo to follow our stick-baits and poppers. Towards lunchtime we tried our luck with light tackle in search of smaller fish – again with only moderate success.
In the afternoon we had the bite we had been waiting for and wrapped up the day with a 35 kilo GT.
Day four: Ed had to go back to Salalah. In the early morning we caught of GT weighing an estimated 35 kilos but after that nothing else happened unfortunately on this calm and hot day.
Day five: Yet another day in the blazing sun with hardly any wind. Towards noon, after hundreds of casts, a 27 kilo long-tail tuna took my stick-bait fished about 8 metres down and shot off – the beginning of a tough fight in shallow water☺
Later on we found another bait-ball on the surface and the first cast resulted in the water exploding. After a hard and fierce fight we had a beautiful GT on the boat. The scales stopped at the 45 kilo mark.
Day six: A light breeze today with some ripples on the sea surface. After arriving at the fishing grounds we had fish following our lures on the first few casts. Towards 10 o’clock we had a massive bite in shallow water but hook failed to set. After that we caught a smaller one weighing about 15 kilos. An hour later there was a tremendous commotion in shallow water and we managed to land a specimen weighing 42 kilos.
For the last hour of our expedition we steamed out to a deeper reef. After the third cast we had a fish following the lure and then all hell broke loose. A huge bite on our popper and as soon as we pulled the fish over the railing we knew it was the fish we had been hoping for. It tipped the scales at 52 kilos and the trip ended with a great shout and me jumping into the sea butt-first. Great elation all round.
Still highly motivated we cast into the reef a couple of times and believe it or not we had another massive bite which we were unable to follow through. Then a grouper took a popper and then it was really all over.
Summary: If you are thinking of including Oman in your fishing plans you must be well-prepared. Apart from having the best tackle available on the market, being well prepared also means having a high level of physical fitness, otherwise you will soon reach the limits of your endurance. With this kind of fishing it was demonstrated yet again that commitment and application are required because you will be making long casts time and time again with heavy tackle – this is not the place for a “day outing” using light gear.
Over the six days I caught 11 GTs weighing 15/35/35/+40/42/43/43/45/45/47/52 kilos. In addition I had a 27 kilo long-tail tuna, a 15 kilo grouper and a few fish taken on lighter tackle. Considering the average weights this is in my opinion a world-class fishery and one it will be difficult to beat.
Naturally we mustn’t forget Ed’s 54 kilo. Somehow I get the feeling that Ed has trained these monsters to take his lures fish to ensure that his guests keep coming back☺ I for my part will be booking my place now for a week’s monster fishing in 2018.
For further information on the lodge and the fishery go to: www.noboundariesoman.com