Mission Oman – Day 1 and 2

DAY 1  (07 December 2013)
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We woke up to the sounds of low geared, battered up and rusted land cruiser bakkies taking fisherman to the nearest village.  The Bengali fisherman locked on us with their trademark stare.  We drove around to find cell reception and then called Ray. He was on the way to our exact spot. What are the chances.

“Ill be there in 15! Hold on for me”.

Around the corner came Ray in his awesome Patrol.

“Peter!”

We had a bit of a chat and headed onto the beach, but before we did we had to cross a bit of slime where stagnant water stands. Not knowing Ray wasnt in 4×4, I got a lump in my throat watching him fishtail over the slick.  Beach driving isnt allowed back home, so this was entirely new to me.

We got accross without incident, and soon were following Ray on the hard sand of the beach, over the occasional dead stingray, commercial fishing is brutal.

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The first thing that blew me away about this place is the scale of everything.  Pictures do it no justice, these cliffs are grand canyon size.

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We reverse up out of the tide and begin to rig up. We head out into perfect conditions.  All three of us walk the beach, scouring the shallow wash for signs of gold.

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the first rig up -(borrowed from notemapez)
the first rig up -(borrowed from notemapez)
Choose your weapon! (borrowed from notemapez)
Choose your weapon! (borrowed from notemapez)

Ray retires in the shade of the cliff,  hes spotted a Bream on the rocks, i head off in search of it.  Im on the brittle sandstone trying to get some elevation when Iearn my first real Oman lesson.  Half the boulder breaks off and I jump out before it wedges my foot in the crevace, 127 hours still.  Shit that was close

Not long after and I get my first look at an Omani predatory fish.  Theres a bream way up in the water column, the black on the tail being a dead giveaway.  I get out a good cast, but the fish sees me high up on the cliff and spooks.  Ray leaves at around 2, and we make a call to move.

As beautiful as conditions are, there isnt much around.

We spend the rest of the afternoon trying to find camp later south where an American couple is camping, apparently in the middle of a bream feeding frenzy.  It sounds good, and the thick deep sand isnt eenough to deter us. We hike in, bumping into Mark and Naomi.  Hes got a big bream in hand.  Theo and I introduce ourselves and Mark offers to cook us all the Bream tonight.  Awesome.

Mark with a nice bream - pretty sure thats the one we ate!
Mark with a nice bream – pretty sure thats the one we ate!
Naomi, Mark & Ray
Naomi, Mark & Ray (you can tell from the grin he’s just destroyed everyone here at Bocce)

After 45mins we get on the flat, but light is low and the tide is high.  I cast ito a shoal of mullet over some structure, and quickly drop a Bream before we head back.

Theres an awesome spirit in camp, Mark and Naomi are 50 meters off, fire already going. We’re all here for the same thing, or same fish for that matter.   Theo and I finish setting up our camp before heading over.  The moon is still waxing, so camp is dark, over a couple beers we start the usual fishing back and forth, mainly about past experiences, hopeful future destinations.  I somehow always end on the Yucatan. It always seems to call.

The Bream is delicious, and two beers are about all I can handle before stumble back on the beach collecting fire wood.

DAY 2  (08 December 2013)

the walk in
Theo and I walking in

Theo and I gear up early.  The fish are around, and its always the rigght call to get to them when they are.  Chances in the salt are fleeting.  We walk with Mark and Naomi.  Its his last day on the flat, he’s jonesing for a perm.  Im open for experiences and hoping he gets his.

Its a diverse spot.  Mussel beds to the right, sharp as hell rocks, powder white sand, and then all sorts of the most beautiful coves youve ever seen with a wreck and reef on the horizon.

I want to start on the rocks. Theo agrees. We walk out and instantly I spook a Permit, almost standing on it and learning the first most important arabian permit lesson. They are always, ALWAYS shallower than you expect. The sea is up, but we spot another 3, and then nothing.

In the big swell you can see packs of bait, like ink stains in the turquoise water.  Wading is deep, wind is strong,  but the chest deep water and sea spray doesnt stop us from getting way out to the shoals.  There is a bream on almost every one, sometimes in the middle.  Absolute bad asses, just terrorizing bait, herding the shoals arround slowly, sometimes sitting right in the middle with a rinng of clear water between them and the bait.  I always wonder what is the trigger for them to strike, or if they just enjoy terrorizing their food.

that isn't reef…its bait. all of it.
that isn’t reef or weed…its bait. all of it.

Casting and line management are tough, but one of my first few shots gets a follow. Theo and I watch as the fish leaves the baitball, rises in the water column, lines up and then attacks.  An awesome first run ensues before the hook pulls.  We’re spoilt today without knowing it.  These are incredible sights.

Bream instruction
Bream instruction
first fish!
first fish!

The next cast on the next shoal produces another. This time I set as hard as I dare. We get the fish to hand and realease it, thinking there will be more.

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We spend the next little while getting Theo shots. They can be tricky buggers, and sometimes justt completely ignore.  We stupidly dont fish as hard as we should, thinking it will last forever and head back to camp.  Fools.

One thought on “Mission Oman – Day 1 and 2”

  1. Ray says:

    Bream, beer, bocce, butts, bongs, bacon, butter, billfish, so many great “b” words!

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