Dr Gold Thumb

When the sport was cigars, egos and Pargo off Cabo
He was on a skiff with Westbys, fleeing crabs and wet seas
Cathy would find it and name it, my homie too humble to claim it

Then from the smugglers of Belize he headed east to the Middle East
He met Barry and Kamal and found some Perms in the valley

The holy grail was gold and chrome
He invited strangers to his home

Dr Gold Thumb is born
A legend made but also torn

Does he share and care
He does but also just beware

Now whether Bonnie knows ill never know
But she finds a tag meant for herself
Not knowing its directed at yourself
She tags and brags
Hoping money comes
But hashtag #crab

So get money, I believe in Rand
But don’t fuck with someone else’s home
Just to make a couple grand.

If you support an asshole you’re an asshole
That fish for 8k is not O.K.

So if you’re on the hunt for gold
And for it to mean something
Rent and drive and survive
And let Bonnie and Clyde take a dive

But if you go with them and grip and grin
Know you’re on some hallowed ground my brother found

And if you get that fish you don’t deserve
At least mail the man and thank the man

And not the man you paid right by your side
Dr Gold Thumb that you pushed aside.



54 thoughts on “Dr Gold Thumb”

  1. Matthew 'Beefy' Cocks says:

    Boom boom…love it!!! Very apt and describes the current situation with much accuracy!!!

    1. Chris Bamford says:

      Dude, I am sorry you feel that way. I get you have invested so much of yourself to catch gold. I get that. I honor that. That is a very personal thing. But I am surprised that you agree with this threatening message. If fly fishing is about this level of personal attack and down putting, then either I am missing something important, or I really disagree with this.
      Help me understand….

      1. Matthew Cocks says:

        Dude, I wasn’t judging anyone, that’s not me…just replying to what is a very clever rap which sums up an interesting and developing situation.
        I have watched with much interest the development of AF and the way they are going about promoting themselves…I even respect and envy them, because I thought, once, of starting up a kayak fishing concern out of Salalah, but didn’t have the resources or balls to follow through with it.
        However, what I don’t like is that they seem to be claiming a lot when it comes to ‘discovering’ things about Oman, which I don’t believe they deserve credit for because much of it was off the back of others, not only Ray, and they seem to have left a trail of bad taste behind them as they aggressively move forward…
        I was looking at the post, not from its aggressive nature, but more from its clever construction…

  2. Kamal says:

    Love it!
    Real gansta shit!
    Bonnie and Clyda can eat a big fat d@#K!

    1. Chris Bamford says:

      wtf? this is fly fishing? This is how we hang? Help me understand?

  3. Ray Montoya says:

    Um…hello? Yes, I would like to report a drive by…

    Cray-cray Safo!

  4. Andre Van Wyk says:

    Drive by’s and Permit Flies…. Bloods, Crips and overpriced Trips… Clyde and Bonny, betta watch ya back Sonny….

    1. Chris Bamford says:

      so, are you really threatening them on the internet? Are you planning to do harm?

      1. Andre Van Wyk says:

        Chris… Not even in the slightest…. I love Ice Cube, I’m a piss poor rapper, and was merely trying to write something that Rhymed…And if you were ever a Gangsta Rap fan, “Watch ya back” was about as common a line as “Muthaf*cka”.. . Trust me, if you knew me, which you most certainly don’t, threatening someone I don’t know is probably the last possible thing I’d ever do… especially on the inter web…

  5. Chris Bamford says:

    What a bunch of low class crap. Seriously? I am really surprised by this rather threatening, ill tempered, BS. (watch your back? really? is that a threat to do harm? WTF?) Some Dude puts his videos all over the internet, blogs about his trips, then people get upset? Not everyone can make weekly trips. And, have you ever thought that more eyes on the fishery give it a better chance of surviving? In my trips down there, I think there are more threats to the permit than a young couple trying to make their way. I am always a bit shocked at how fly fisherman can be so vicious toward each other. Step back an think about who you should be focusing you stuff on.
    Yes, DIY is the way to go. But be realistic. Not everyone can. I spent years exploring Steelhead Alley, only to find guides leasing up stretches of river and owners posting them as private. Oh Well, move on. Find new spots. Keep doing your exploration. Yes. the couple are friends of mine, full disclosure. But why such public trashing? Low. Very Low.

    1. Leonard Flemming says:

      Dear Chris, all this talk about things that are ‘not forthcoming to fly fishing’ is 100% bollocks. I’m human and so is the rest of the fly fishing community and I’ve come a long way to realise that the majority of the human population is a selfish lot that seems to choose not to use their brains. So, the majority of fisherman, including fly fisherman, are selfish and choose not to use their brains (and I have had 1st hand experience with this as a professional guide and committee member of rather big fly fishing organisations in the RSA). But hey, times are changing and there is an increasing trend in fisherman, although still only a small percentage, to respect their resources and their brothers-in-arms. These guys, like Pete, respond with emotion to those anglers that do things in the traditional, ignorant manner. If Arabian Fly wished to earn respect from the rest of the fly fishing community, they’d start with Oman community based education projects, including litter cleanups and an Omani conservation movement to cure over exploitation of their coastal fishes. I have visited Arabian Fly’s Facebook page and blog and unfortunately there is none of that.

      1. Brandon says:

        Hi Leonard

        Maybe if you wrote to us to find out what we are about you would also have a different opinion.

        Maybe you are unaware of the process it is to start a company in the middle east. It is a slow frustrating process. But in that process we have already approached government ministries and schools in Oman with the help of our Omani partner to try educate and promote a sport that is based on conservation.
        Unfortunately it does not happen overnight. I would appreciate it if you based your opinions on facts


      2. Leonard Flemming says:

        Unfortunately the proof is in the pudding Brandon, so where is the pudding?

      3. Brandon says:

        As I said; unfortunatly things do not happen overnight here.

    2. Peter Coetzee says:

      Hi Chris, when we sat down and decided to do this blog we all agreed that we wouldn’t kiss anyone’s ass and if we had an opinion on a piece of tackle, etc we would be honest about it. None of us have any commercial interests in the industry which gives us the luxury to do so. In this case it’s the actions of a guide operation we don’t like. You have the option to not enter the url in your browser or open a specific post.

      I don’t agree with this nonsense of it being a gentlemens sport. It’s a sport based on what is essentially trophy hunting, and any sport that resolves around an individuals ego can’t be considered gentlemanly in my opinion. Luckily the guard has changed and it’s not just cigar smoking old bankers who can’t cast catching saltwater fish.

      By reading the comments above I can see that you don’t understand the post. I drew inspiration from the rap battles that came from Ice cubes fall out with Jerry heller and Eric Wright, and the effect of that on rap culture and how conflict was handled as result . Andre and Kamals responses are not literal, a “battle rap” uses words and a beat to convey sentiment and emotion, and to educate the listener on the scenario and emotion of the artist. Others also play on the classic rap battle theme and culture. Not understanding the genre and its history, you will not understand the piece or comments.

      We seem to also differ in that you believe that by posting something publicly you deserve to have someone make commercial use of it. I could not disagree more. General rules of conduct should still apply, and just because something has been placed on the internet does not mean that we can do whatever we want and be immune to judgement just because its online and its now public domain. In our sport this sort of behaviour is generally backed up by some sort of conservation or passion claim. Intentions aside, the result is the same.

      1. Chris Bamford says:

        Peter, you are right, I have zero knowledge of rap. So yes, I took the original post literally and as rather threatening. Kamal’s comment seems a bit vulgar to say the least. I can’t follow your meaning in the last paragraph. Can you help me with that?
        And believe you me, I am no gentleman. I do smoke cigars though. Fly fishing (and life in general) is an opportunity to lessen the role of the Ego. Yes, pursuing fish by fly has a component of ego, but to allow ego to dominate, one runs the risk of missing out on so much. It is not just about the fish.

  6. Ray says:

    Never met these people, full disclosure.
    I think the real story here is about the bridges we burn and these posts and comments are bridge burners for sure. But bridges were certainly burned by Arabian Fly in building their venture. I don’t know all the details of their relationship with said outfitters, but to come in and start a business based on the culmination of more than a decade of exploration and hard work, and then make the claim that it was all founded on thier own DIY explorations is simply bullshit. I’m sure AF are decent folk, two people who saw an opportunity to do what they love, but in their desire to realize their vision they have burned some bridges. But I’m not a hater, hate is too heavy a burden (MLK). If you have followed my posts and videos you will see that they are pepper not only with tributes to others and their success and the necessary info anyone would need to do what I do, but also with many warnings about the destruction of Oman’s inshore fishery, the netting, plastic and greed, and you know very well in this region the risk one takes when one is critical of one’s host country. So please do not question our stewardship…ever, or it will most certain be on. If anything, let’s examine AF’s portrayal of Oman. Thus far all the pics I’ve seen from Arabian Fly have been carefully framed to depict pristine beaches, far removed from the reality on the ground. I wonder what their clients say when they arrive and see this mess? The sad truth is that AF missed an incredible opportunity. They should have been here 15 years ago.

    As for guides in general, I’ve been in this game for thirty years and I’ve fished with some incredible guides, but at the end of the day, in spite of the camaraderie, a guide-client relationship is a business transaction, not a “family” as AF would put it. I personal would never charge family or friends four grand for three days of walking a beach that they could easily access with a 2WD, and if I did, I would provide beer! Hell, it is sign posted all the way. Guiding from a boat is a different matter, a guide/captain is essential for access to the fishery and safety. If AF wants to do that, fine, but to walk rich clients on our public DIY beaches is messed up. Let’s clear up a few things about DIY. Firstly, many of us do it out of necessity (Many of us cannot afford to fish St Brandon or the Seychelles). But we soon discover that DIY is the only way to properly fish and we become addicted to that “rush” that AF describes, though I’m pretty sure it cannot be the same with a guide standing next to you. Anyway, we spend decades exploring, and perfecting our techniques, hundreds of fishless days are paid in dues, and then, to see someone show up on your beach who’s paid an exorbitant amount of money to have this same experience condensed and encapsulated…it is disheartening because it is a reminder that it is not experience and hard work that matters in life, but simply how many Benjamins you’ve banked. So fine, come to Oman and walk our DIY beaches with AF, but if you see me on that beach (in a white Patrol), please back the fuck up, find another beach and leave me in peace.

    1. Brandon says:

      Hi Ray

      I understand your opinion. Maybe if you took us up on the offer to meet you then Im sure you would have a different opinion.

      We are all here for the greater good of trying to protect a fishery.Guides and fishing outfitters are the reason that some fisheries have survived.(Unfortunately some are not able to see this).
      I guess it is easier to sit behind your computer and publicly pass judgment without facts.

      Please explain DIY (DO IT YOURSELF).
      We hired a car and spent a month exploring the beaches of Oman WITHOUT approaching you for information.Since then we have done even more exploring. If that is not DIY then what is it?

      After our (DIY) trip we approached you to meet up to show you what we would like to achieve in Oman.Instead we got ignored and this public trashing.

      PS. The offer is still there to meet up.


  7. Ray says:

    Oh, I almost forgot to apologize for my mate Kamal’s vulgar comment (also a common gangsta rap expression), but he’s just an OG and cannot help himself. Still, I imagine it seemed harsh to the uninitiated. Kind of scary to think that such a gentile and civilized sport like fly fishing has been infiltrated with such riff-raff.
    Also, I might add that calling shit out in the industry is actually a kind of stewardship, whether it’s chumming geets in Christmas Island or making misleading claims of discovery.

    1. Chris Bamford says:

      Agree, we need to be stewards. But I am not sure I see chumming for GT’s on Christmas Island equivalent with not giving you and others who first fished these beaches credit. Anyone, well at least me, who fishes there know’s your work and honors what you have done. For real.

      1. Ray says:

        Thanks Chris, but somehow the real issue has become convoluted. I post to document a cool and unique fishery. It’s all out there for anyone to use and many folks have taken ad anyplace of it. I guess I naively thought that sharing this info would make a commercial guiding operation unnecessary. Why pay for something when it’s being given out for free? I still cannot understand why someone would pay to fish places like Markaz. You can drive there in a 2WD, it’s sign posted and the road is sealed all the way to the beach. Like I said, I’m naive.

  8. Chris Bamford says:

    Here is another perspective I would like to add. That of a client. Lets say some guy or gal works 60, 80 hours a week. They are a professional or executive somewhere. They have worked hard all their lives, first in school, then building their career. They have decades of experience, and they have banked Benjamin’s. While they don’t have experience on the beach doing DIY trips, they have put in their time. And time is the most precious and limited resource they have. Between job, family, and community service, time to spend on their true passion, fly fishing is very limited. Their choice, right? So, they book a few days to walk a exotic beach to fish for an exotic fish. And they get the job done. Success and reward. Not the same as yours or the others who have put in the years of searching and exploration, but the reward of their hard work in some far off office. They have earned the opportunity. As I mention above, I spent 25 years walk the rivers of the Great Lakes in the US fly fishing for steelhead. Almost all the spots I discovered are now leased up by fly shops, outfitters, and guides and posted to keep us DIY’ers out. Guys pay crazy money to fish “my spots.” It took years of no fish on a fly rod, while guys using bait and hardware were catching. But I put in my time, years and hundreds of mile walking and learning. So, I get the tension you feel, I really do. Now, Joe Orvis can walk into a fly shop, get all geared up, walk on to a river with a guide, and catch a fish! Shit! But his experience is not the same as mine. No one can take away my experience, it is mine forever. Is his fish as rush-worthy as mine? How can I judge? Probably not, but he is still pumped and grinning from ear to ear. Good for him. In sum, fishing guides open up the opportunity for others to have a encapsulated experience of a lifetime. Some clients appreciate it for what it is, some take it for granted.

    1. Peter Coetzee says:

      Hi Chris, I happen to be one of those guys or gals. Im in telecoms and work 80 hour weeks. Sometimes , like in the case of VD Kloof, I will have to find time to manage things on the fly. In December that meant climbing to the tops of boulders in the middle of the lake for cell reception to do uptime checks and negotiate as we were in the middle of a Series A. I work like mad to get the time to do that trip once a year where I try to do something special or explore a new destination. The nature of my work or time spent on it has no bearing on what sort of angler I am. Ive banked the benjamins, I go on guided trips. I don’t do it because of time. Many of my DIY trips are shorter than a conventional trip. I go on guided trips to fish with special guides. Im a sucker for the history of the sport and so fishing with a Robert Hyde in Hondurus or an up-and-comer like Jako Lucus who I believe has a firm place in the history of the sport is my reason for going. I go on those trips to learn from these people, not because of its convenience. A DIY trip costs me far more than a guided trip purely because of the opportunity cost of the time spent preparing.

      1. Chris Bamford says:

        Ok Peter. I was on Alphonse in Oct. Been doing a trip every year with 3 friends for 25 years. So, why the attack on the guides in question?
        Why the hatred? Just trying to understand.

  9. Nick Bowles says:

    Hi Chris, I could post quite a long list as you are aware.

    They have just done things badly in Oman and rubbed people up the wrong way. Who is to say it is right or wrong but my feelings are negative for people I extended friendship, work, hospitality, respect, information and knowledge which to me are some of the basics in our chosen passion.

  10. Ray says:

    Brandon, fair enough, I really don’t know you. I ignored Claire’s invite last spring based on what I heard of your exploits with Nick, though in reality, I only know one side of that story, again, fair enough. But let’s not be naive about intent, yours or mine. You’re running fishing operation, and I selfishly want to hold on to the exclusivity of my weekend fishery, or at least keep it guide free. While I understand the argument that fly fishing operators bring with them many benefits, most importantly, conservationism, I’m also trying to balance that with having to share what little permit, bream and trevs we have left with a commercial operator. Dude, yes, you reached out to me to share, and if it were simply a matter of sharing, I would have happily invited you into my home, as I have dozens of DIY enthusiasts from around the world. But alI I saw was a fishing guide doing some recon. In short, I did not see it as genuine. But that’s what guides have to do, info is everything. I understand that. It goes without saying that guiding is a tough way to make a living, one that I cannot even fathom, especially here in Oman. For the record, I’ve witnessed a bit of attrition in the Oman guiding biz, both blue water and land based. The few who have succeeded did so through a long and slow process, building up a reputation with locals and clients. So admittedly, you kids have some cojones, and your work cut out for you. Im sure that you also know that if you are in this for the long haul then AF has some big time conservation work ahead, especially with your shore based fishery. Good luck navigating the cultural, economic and political hurdles to undo the unbelievable damage I’ve witnessed over the past 14 years. I say undo as we are almost past the point of preservation. If you do manage any movement or progress in this regard, AF will have gained my respect and admiration, and I suppose it will have been well worth having to share some of my favorite drive-in beaches with a commercial operator. Finally, If you send me a SMS (lost my phone over the summer) I would be happy to send you a text whenever I’m down south. That way we can avoid each other and any awkwardness, especially if you are with clients.

    1. Brandon says:

      Hi Ray, thank you for your understanding,I appreciate it. Yes we are here for the long haul and hopeful we can make a difference.

    2. Chris Bamford says:

      Thank you Ray. And I hope we can meet some day. I have incredible respect for your adventures and accomplishments. When books are written, you will be mentioned again and again.

  11. Richard Morton says:

    I don’t normally get involved in controversies of any kind, but in this case I feel the need to put in my 2c simply because I’ve known Brandon for a long time and consider him a friend (as do I with Clare). Look, the way I see it is, yes, Ray did put in a huge amount of effort discovering how to crack the fly fishing code in Oman. He gladly shared his knowledge with other DIY fly fishermen. He shared this on the internet for Pete’s sake. Peter got wind of it and made a mission to go there himself and also posted his findings on F&F. People who are in this industry to make a living will naturally look for every opportunity they can to make business for themselves and, as it happened, they found a potential opportunity and they acted upon it (aided by the content you guys made readily accessible to everyone with interest). It happens all over the world, in every imaginable industry. Why knock someone for trying to make an honest living? I have nothing but respect for Brandon and Clare as this isn’t an easy business for starters.

    The sport fishing industry is rife with these controversies. Seychelles, PNG, Oman, everywhere in fact, even Kanton atoll. That’s just how it works. I don’t think it’s fair to give Brandon and Clare a hard time about this especially when I know that they will do the best they can to bring the fishery up to it’s best health. How can you all be so narrow minded as to not believe that conservation is in their best interests? It may be a job that is unattainable (I wouldn’t know the first thing about permit, yet alone Oman) but I hope they succeed with what appears to be a monumental task. It would appear to be beneficial to the country and it’s people though.

    And putting my thoughts above aside, forget the sport fishing industry. Look at human nature in general. That’s the reality of the situation.

    I wish Brandon and Clare all the best for their venture.

    To end this off, I know most of you guys (some more than others) and all I can say is life is too short to bitch and moan about what is in fact a trivial situation. There are bigger problems in the world. Why not just forgive and forget. That makes sense to me.

    1. Chris Bamford says:

      Well said Richard. I respect that fact that you did put your 2c in.

    2. Peter Coetzee says:

      Hi Rich, for the record, I did not “catch wind” of Rays exploits and “make a mission to go there myself”. Ray and became friends over a period of almost 2 years before my first trip out. I know all about fishing sensitivities and never did I request information on any beach or location. What was given to me was shown to me by Ray. I did not push or poke around in an attempt to gather info. I printed high res maps of the entire southern coastline hoping very well to fish every permit looking beach there.

      Take note of your reference of the AF efforts being beneficial to the country and its people (and when I make my point to your comment directed to Ray). Additionally, how well do you know the people concerned and their individual characters that they will do “the best they can to bring the fishery up to its best health”?

      I assume you know both of them personally and have visited the fishery to see the challenges it faces to be qualified to make that sort of comment? What is your opinion on the crude oil refinery north of Markaz and the 5000 employees that will be spending lunch time on the beach? Do you think the docking facility will mean contaminate spills? I think you get the point…

      We all have things we believe in and fight for. This is one of mine, because it is fishing related makes it no less important.

      1. Richard Morton says:

        Hi Pete,

        I have never been to Oman but I have been to Socotra and have seen the widespread devastation so I have a pretty good idea of how much work is necessary. It may well be impossible for them to do alone but as far as I can tell it seems that this thread is going in a direction where all of you guys can work together to try and get some conservation model going through education, government support and so on.

        When I was in the Socotra archipelago I was shocked at how much pollution was on all the islands we visited. There is virtually no system for the removal of waste and everything is just dumped on the spot. Very sad, and quite possibly near the point of no return. Ed Truter and I talked about this a lot and we pressed the locals on the issue. They simply didn’t care. It all comes down to education of which is probably the most vital first step. As a side note I saw the same behaviour in PNG, the locals just dump their waste (of their own accord, under Rock they collect it, but I suppose it gets dumped out of our sight). They don’t care. We are all educated and understand the dangers of this. They don’t.

        I have no issue with any of you guys. All I wanted to say was that I thought it was unfair to give Brandon and Clare a hard time. This all started out with a rather aggressive verbal “attack” towards Brandon and Clare. Wouldn’t it have been far more constructive to have just brought up your concerns in a more appropriate manner (ie. saying, hey look, you guys gotta work on the conservation. Are you doing this? We will help you etc.)?

        It might be well that the Omani government simply don’t give a rats ass but perhaps all of your combined efforts (Arabian Fly, Ocean Active, No Boundaries etc.) can have a positive and resounding effect on conservation. Why not work together as it can only benefit all of you in the long run (including those who DIY).

        PS: Pretty cool written rap thingy I have to say. I’m only talking about the way it was written, not implying any preference to the actual meaning of it.

      2. Peter Coetzee says:

        Hi rich, sorry I think you were confused by question. I wanted to know how well you know B and C that you were certain their efforts would restore the fisheries health? I assume you’ve spent a decent amount of time with them to know this?

        OK noted you haven’t been to Oman, socotra is a completely different Country I wouldn’t draw any inferences to it purely because it’s in the middle east. It’s like comparing south Africa and Madagascar.

        This was not an “attack” on anyone, and to reduce it to that is an insult to the effort I put into it.

        -Please respond to the question above-

      3. Chris Bamford says:

        Peter, I assume you know Brandon and Clare well enough to be critical of their efforts…So, how well do you know their character. This seems to important to you for someone who supports them.

  12. Richard Morton says:

    Oh, and Ray, this is directed straight towards you. I would like to point out one little fact since you are unhappy about Arabian Fly building a business in “your” fishing grounds. Consider this: you have given people (anyone cares to look for it) information about how to DIY on Christmas Island. I found this information a while ago (thank you) and did further research myself and I’m still very interested in this for my own selfish reasons. I personally get much more satisfaction in finding fish by myself, and traveling without the aid of an outfitter. Having said that you have potentially caused more harm to the local guides (who likely have families dependent upon them) on Christmas Island by taking business away from them and, when you consider the fact that the cost of living in the remote Pacific islands is exorbitant, you certainly haven’t done anything to help their situation which is certainly more dire than yours. So, essentially you are being a hypocrite about a small outfitter taking clients to “your” grounds.

    I don’t know you personally of course, you do seem like a very nice and genuine man, but at the end of the day everyone is blowing this well out of proportion.

    1. Peter Coetzee says:

      Rich this is an interesting contradiction. Think of your comment above, “…why knock someone trying to make an honest living”. Now lets say I use the information you’ve posted on Kanton (boats, flights, etc) to set up a guide operation there. I employ no local guides (like some guide operations), my company is incorporated elsewhere, so essentially the money I make locally has no benefit to the local economy other than the tiny margins made on supplies I buy. Do I still have your blessing for “acting on the opportunity”? (remember Im just trying to make an honest living, I had great intentions).

      Remember many guide operations do not involve locals to the extent Rock does. I applaud him for that and you guys seem to have had a tremendously positive effect on the local people from what I gather from Facebook and your posts. Not everyone operates that way. I wish they did.

      Any tourism has a tremendously positive effect on an economy, and results in job creation regardless. Maybe not in creating a local guide, but maybe just in someone operating a little skiff (like in Shumway.), or a tour operator, or an interpreter. Anything that doesn’t directly help a locally trained guide does not automatically not count.

      1. Richard Morton says:

        To be honest I don’t know how Brandon and Clare operate their business but I do get your point. All I can say is (if they don’t rely on any local support); how can they be expected to employ locals in the early stages of the game when they have made a financial commitment to a business that could potentially fail (I speak about their DIY)? It makes no sense to them since they don’t need any further support. I assume that this will change with the addition of boats etc. and once their operation scales up they will almost certainly require local support which I am sure they will seek.

      2. Peter Coetzee says:

        Again, I think you’ve missed the point here. I created a hypothetical situation and asked you what would be your feeling to this? (for clarity – the Kanton scenario)

        This reply was direct to you. I have no clue in AF hires local Omanis? That wasn’t the question or the point and that scenario had nothing to do with them.

        How would you feel about an operation like the one I presented? Would you wish that person well? -this is not hypothetical, please respond.

    2. Ray says:

      You have no idea of reality.
      Yes, I do DIY fish Christmas regularly. I’ve have also DIY’ed Los Roques, Belize, Chile, Mexico, Cuba, New Zealand, the Cook Islands…you get the picture. I’ve also fished with many many guides and stayed in many lodges. Let me tell ya something about some of these lodges. Many are owned and operated by families or individuals who control the wealth of the island. Some owners may not even be residents. Theses lodges often insulate their clients from the reality of the local populace, providing a sanitized version of paradise, and many do not provide a fair share of the revenue to their guides. There is a reason that lodges want to provide all inclusive packages, the better to control the illusion and the money. As for the guides, the money that they may not receive from me does goes somewhere else. Do you think I live on the beach and eat snails? Instead of paying someone to stand next to me, telling me where and how to fish, I get to move about freely, explore on my own, fish or not fish, hang out with locals etc. Aside from car rentals, the money I spend on the island goes directly to the island residents, the ones who own/operate small shops, restaurants and businesses. Nothing trickles down from the lodges to these folks. I typically drop a few grand when I’m at Xmas. I move about, eat, and lodge wherever I choose. So you see, I spread my money amongst a wider segment of the community, and he best part, I don’t have to fish and share lodging and meals every night with the typical bunch of old cigar smoking fuck tards.

      1. Richard Morton says:

        Hi Ray, all good points which I cannot argue. Thank you. Clearly I don’t know much about how things operate there. Respect to you for your DIY efforts. People will always exploit others. That’s the sad reality of life.

  13. Ray says:

    Damn Peter, you beat me to the punch. Well said.

  14. Peter Coetzee says:

    @Brandon. Apologies for posting down here, it seems two replies is max for a sub comment. If your conservation efforts are as vast as you are saying, I can guarantee you that you will see a 180 degree change in direction in my stance, and you will have resounding support from me.

    Oman will never leave me, and at the current rate those fish are doomed as you are well aware. The political effort required to make the difference in legislation for net fishing, pollution and the oil industry is going to be immense and I imagine a lifelong struggle. And lets be honest, cleaning beaches just doesn’t work there. We got rid of hundreds of bottles, to be greeted by hundreds of fresh ones (with a few freshly-dead plastic ingested turtles).

    An important part of this conservation is going to be educating those outside oman. Fisherman like myself who have an interested in the protection of something like that. I would suggest more honest pictures of the situation on the beaches. We know it is not paradise. Its paradise underneath a plastic landfill. Any picture that is not an honest portrayal helps the mantlepiece, but not the cause.

    Again, any sort of campaign for conservation legislature can only be helped by shouting from the hills and garnering support. So please send us what you are busy with and we will circulate and help. Im sure the likes of Ed Nicholas would also welcome this and his comment and connections in the government would be very helpful. I will be there later this year again (and every year going forward), so my offer for assistance is genuine and I do not shy away from some hard work, like that required for this conservation.

  15. Fred Davis says:

    Dear Brandon (and all others involved in this thread, whether actively or not)

    You asked me on my Instagram account what “are you as DIY fishermen doing to help?” (https://goo.gl/jZcmEV) I responded there but lets explore further:

    I can only create awareness, keep people honest and do my little bit on each trip. Can I presume that, with you being based there and taking this operation seriously, we’ll soon see an Arabian Fly community type camp? Or something similar that truly adds economic and education value to at least a small area of the region. I’d presume (and hope) that there’s a plan to create meaningful reinvestment in the area. Where you proudly say that you are indeed creating at least an awareness that will help the future sustainability of the area. You don’t create a sustainable fishery by arriving with paying clients, releasing a few fish and getting on your way again.

    The Tourette camps in Lesotho are a great model on which you can base yours in Oman. Have you chatted to Rob or Keith to find out how they did it? Have you put a plan on paper and approached the relevant authorities and local community leaders? Business plan? Proposals? This would be a great time to share those ideas.

    What I, as a DIY fisherman, can do will always be limited. But I have always done my best to be open, accepting and willing to share- my own and their meals, ideas, thoughts, frustrations. I try to observe, engage, and where possible make suggestions and set an example without being condescending. Unfortunately, ours is a fleeting moment in which it’s difficult to give more than a genuine attempt to help attitudes and understanding. You however are using an area that sits on the knife-edge of an ecological disaster to make money. Your duty is give back in a way that can justify what you are taking from it. Please, prove us – your naysayers – wrong. Because that will mean that a real difference will made to the conservation of the area. But I saw nothing in those communities that suggest even the possibility of these efforts. And please don’t get yourself confused with a DIY fisherman. You never headed south with anything but the goal of gaining information to create a commercial opportunity.

    “Please explain DIY (DO IT YOURSELF)” you asked earlier. DIY is about the personal exploit of individuals to further their experience without the help of guides and operations. I’ve heard a lot of people claim to be DIYers but after listening to their stories one realizes how they miss the point. Catching the fish is only just a small part the experience. The only thing a DIYer really wants to take from a trip – besides bent rods and a few photos – is the experience of doing something for yourself in a manner leaves everyone a little richer and better off.

    From what I deduce, and this is speculative, the only reason you got hold of Ray was to find out where Camel is. Not to share your experience. Or let him know how yes, you’re planning a commercial venture, but you’d love to pick his brain for advice on how best to create something meaningful in those areas you’ll be exploiting. Because that is what you are doing. Exploiting a resource for monetary gain.

    Richard, this why the sports fishing industry is “rife with these controversies”. Because people exploit without reciprocal compensation of any form. Besides hiring a few local guides, boats, accommodation and buying some local produce, what does Rock Expeditions put back into the Kanton community? Yes, it’s a start and more than many do, but I’m talking social development here, not catch and release. What is being done to breed sustainability in between the few groups of privileged fishermen who can fly in and out again. As for Oman, how will the fishery be brought up to its best health? Of course conservation is in Arabian Fly’s best interests: if the fishery collapses, so does business. But conservation is not picking up a few bottles and throwing a few fish back. It’s providing communities with an alternate that makes them realise the importance of an eco system that is sustainable.

    So. Brandon. Please prove us wrong. Make a difference that only a commercial venture can begin to dream of. Put your money where your mouth is. I, and the rest of us, will be right behind you.

    1. Richard Morton says:

      Hey Fred, I get your points. We can all agree that the conservation efforts are going to require tremendous efforts. I think it’s time to stop sniping at each other and just try find a way to work together to play a small part in improving the health of the planet. It can only benefit all of you (despite the fact that you are essentially all competitors along with a few hardcore DIY enthusiasts fighting for what they believe in).

  16. Richard Morton says:

    And here is my final contribution to this thread. This is clearly a problem that probably can’t be completely solved by a few sport fishing operators alone. You guys can all provide a starting point into getting the wheel actually turning by talking to bigger organizations, getting those people in to do a survey of the situation (I’m pretty sure this data already exists). Get all this information and get these organizations behind you and approach the government. Work to get this going outside of Oman as well. The planet is is bad, bad shape. The human race is out of control. What we (as catch and release sport fishermen) have to contribute plays a very small part in improving the health of the planet but something is better than nothing. I have a very pessimistic attitude about the future of our planet, but I still do my very best to recycle etc. and to try plead others to do the same.

    1. Peter Coetzee says:

      Rich this original post was about isolated events, on some isolated beaches. It was not me not being happy about someone’s conservation efforts. You can see my response to brandon on that. I will be his biggest supporter. This became about conservation as that was the defense. I’m happy it went there though because it’s important. Conservation does not work as a whisper so I think all of us are keen to see what these efforts are.

  17. Ray says:


    What does a DIY fisherman contribute? Well for one, DIYers are out there experiencing the communities they fish in beyond the illusion that the lodge offers-both the plight of the people and the environment. Unlike a lodge based fisherman, we see it all. I could write volumes about this.

    Here in Oman? Well, Aside from continuously talking about it with anyone who will listen, each year for the past three years I’ve organized a a clean up trip. I take 20 of my students (a mixture of of Omani and expat kids) south to clean up beaches. We basically live and work on the beach for four days. Even with that amount effort, we only manage to clean a small fraction, typically just a kilometer, but the real purpose of these trips isn’t cleaning beaches, it’s exposing my students, some of them Omani to the problem. Believe me they (my Omani kids) are embarrassed when they see these state of these remote beaches. Many Omanis only visit beaches nearby the capital which are cleaned daily by expiate workers, so they have no idea. Over the years I’ve posted a number of videos highlighting the problems of nets, over fishing, and plastic waste in Oman. Every time I expose the problem by postIng a video, I worry that my visa may not be renewed. Talking to fishermen in the boats does no good. Most are Bengalis and either don’t give a shit cause they have bigger problems, or simple do not understand. So we do what we can which mostly involves simply getting the message out and informing the public here in Oman, especially my students (a captive audience, ha). I’ll tell ya though, sadly I barely notice the nets and plastic anymore, but I never not notice the eerie emptiness of life that used to thrive on this coast.
    Hopefully this is my last post on this thread, though I may continue my rant on my own blog. My wife is advising me to stop before I blow a gasket. I’ve said it before, no one can pull a few scabs or get a conversation started like my brother, Peter. Thank you Peter!


  18. Richard Morton says:



    Hi Pete,

    The answer to your question is implicit in my first response to this thread. To clarify; I have spent a few weeks fishing with Brandon over the years and as for Clare, i have only met her once in person. I have talked a lot with both of them on Facebook/emails. I consider them friends for many reasons I won’t list here.

    Also, I have never implied that their efforts would DEFINITELY restore the fisheries health. All I said was that I know that they will do their very best and nothing more than that. I obviously hope they succeed (as I said initially).

    My perception of your post was that it was aggressive. That’s just how I perceived it. It wasn’t meant as an insult of any kind. I was merely pointing out that perhaps you could have done it a little better and thus not having this huge controversy as a result.


    Hi Pete,

    This isn’t really a valid hypothetical scenario since Kanton and Oman are completely different things. The logistics of Kanton are IMMENSE. There isn’t any simple and practical process to getting there (for starters), so I really can’t give you an answer to your hypothetical since it’s equivalent to comparing apples and oranges. Good luck to anyone trying to start up a guiding business on Kanton. It’s most likely impossible and practical without a huge amount of resources.

    All I can say is that Arabian Fly are providing a service that makes it straightforward and practical for specific people to do a trip to Oman to fly fish. Not everyone has hardcore DIY in their bones, and many would not even have the time and/or motivation to do the necessary research etc. to do a DIY trip there. So, essentially, Brandon and Clare are providing a valuable service to those people.

    1. Peter Coetzee says:

      Thanks for the answers and for engaging Rich. I disagree but thats fine.

      1. Richard Morton says:

        No problem Pete, we all have our opinions. That’s just human! Looking forward to seeing the rest of posts on your last Oman trip (those parrots looked wicked). Peace to all!

  19. Ray Montoya says:

    lets end this by boiling it back down it’s original intent

    1. AF saw an opportunity
    2. AF moved on it in bad form
    3. AF has left ill feeling in their wake
    4. AF has some work to do

    Lastly, I leave you with the opening line from one of my favorite Dre songs, Lil’ Ghetto Boy, from his Classic album, the Chronic.

    Youtube that shit and groove

    “All you Africans need to start saving your money, quit spending your money on jheri curls, quit spending your money on perms, save your money”! And if any of you Africans want to DIY Oman, contact me, Ill draw you maps and even loan ya a cool box and cot!


  20. Ray says:

    So I finally had a look at AF’s website and FB page. I’ve just been putting it off out of shear fear. Man, I should not have gone there. With the exception of the very early pics from Brandon’s boat explore sponsored by Oceanactive, all of the DIY discovery permit pics on their site are from Ras Markaz beach and The bay between Camel Rock and the wreck. This is the water that Kamal and I have been fishing for at least eight years. Granted, it is not our water and it has never been much of a secret, I’ve posted dozens of photos of each local. My question is, am I supposed to believe that AF didn’t simply do five minutes of Internet research and simply drive directly to these beaches? That they just happened upon them? This is my home water, my weekend water. Imagine that you discover a magical place, two magical places. You return year after year for over a decade, logging dozens of trips each year. You don’t hesitate to share it with others, cuz I guess you’re a dumb ass rube. You even share stories and images with the world. People from all over want to see it, but only those who truly have heart and a spirit of adventure show up, and these people become life long friends. Then one day, out of the blue one of these intrepid visitors shows up unannounced, uninvited, and decides that your beautiful magical place can be packaged and sold like a cheap whore, though this little beauty ain’t cheap. So come on boys and girls, sign up for a piece of Omani gold. It’s only four grand a pop!

    1. Peter Coetzee says:

      Im sorry man. From a fellow country man nonetheless.

  21. Peter Coetzee says:

    To everyone that commented, thank you for reading, your time and your input. Combined we managed to make this our most successful and viewed post yet. To those who watched, messaged and called -finish the popcorn, thread is now closed for comment!

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