My last run in with an Arabic GT ended in tragedy, that was of the Omani variety and for whatever reason, when I first headed off to Sudan i didn’t consider that these too were Arab geets.
Teasing on the bommies and shelves was fantastically exciting, but with increasingly impressive leg infections and easily bored eyes, Stu and I turned to land to look for the free swimming variety. The triggerfish frenzy had finally started to wear off and I quite fancied the idea of a GT now.
Moored in one of the most incredible lagoons I’ve ever seen in my life, we set off to the GT highway. An area that had produced my favourite trigger on the same session. We spotted two GTs and I managed to get the fly in front of both, but, none had a bite. I was still dead set on the Game Changer that had worked so well on everything, but I was starting to see funny behaviour.
What really made me worried was a pack of small GTs that came in on a tease with Nicola the previous day. They had chased and followed, and one bit the tail of the fly gently. Yes. Odd for an animal that bites first and asks later.
I continued, because for whatever reason, the Bluefin could not leave the game changer alone and would refuse everything else. The Bohars even more so, and my insistence on 150lb hard fluoro was quickly appreciated by Stu when the fluoro fought a bohar on my behalf around a bommie. I unwound it and finished the fight. It was a good size fish and one I’ve never got before, so I was particularly chuffed. The light was great too so Stu and I took our time taking pics, thank goodness for nets.
Stu had a plan for this sunset, beers on his lookout point, and, flatfooted most of the time I was excited for another climb and some views. We spoke a bit of shit, had some beers, took some pics and then stumbled back down to the tenders. What a place.
That night my mind kept drifting to the game changer, but, I decided to continue with it. The next day Stu wanted to head to a spot where Kevin had lost a good Geet previously, and, although not a spot for teasing, the chances were good at cruising GTs in the shallow surf zone in the rubble.
It was me and Pete the brit this time, and as we hit land and took off on the eroded elevated shelfs so famous now from Tourette pictures, Stu immediately spotted a GT. I ran ahead, but as I peeked my head up over the shelf to cast the fish saw me and spooked. Dammit.
It wasnt 20 paces and I spotted one well ahead, I bolted off and got a perfect shot, leading the fish by 10 or so meters. It followed and had a look but didnt eat. Game Changer game changer. This was now really bugging me.
At Kevins hole in the shelf I spotted another, which also resulted in a refusal. Im not used to GT refusals. Im not used to any refusal on a game changer. Shot 4 was useless. The fish was moving laterally on a sand spit and started away, I waded out fast and he turned to see what the movement was. He spotted me and spooked.
By now Im feeling like an idiot with all these wasted shots and I know what each one of them meant. Pete was not feeling well, and Stu headed off with him to the tender. I stood guard at good high ground and spotted another fish that ended up refusing.
Enough of that I thought, and changed to a black semper. Stu headed back down and you could sense the demotivation. He voiced his opinion on this fussy behaviour and I told him I changed flies. “haha good, I didnt want to say anything, but I was starting to think that was the problem”.
Fede was arrived today, and Stu had sent Bujarab on a triangulated course which included dropping Pete and collecting Fede. It had been an hour or two now and Bujarab was nowhere in sight. To make matters worse, we had lost radio contact with everyone which was strange. We continued along in the hope of radio comms and I managed to find a nice blue matt for my Trigger Gyotaku, keeping that fish confused the hell out of the entire boat.
I finished my water and now was starting to get a little worried. If Bujarab doesnt find us, we have no water. And then ahead of me I saw it. A big GT and three bluefin in a shallow milky bay, surrounded by grass. I didnt allow myself to think of how ideal it would be to hook a fish here, I just ran hunched over. Stu knew the body language and caught up and kneeled next to me.
I stripped off carefully and took my time. These fish were terrorizing a loose bunch of bait and had kicked up all the sand. Milky water. My fucking best.
I had to be careful in landing the fly as there was no chop here, and Stu mumbled, “if one of those bluefin eat it im going to grab it out the water and Smeagle bite it in half”. I chuckled and dropped the fly. The GT spotted it first and chased “hes going to eat”, but he missed. “FFu$%(#^@!! saakeeesss” from Stu.
I dropped it again. This time he refused it and turned back to his neon blue pansy friends. I had one final shot, far off to the left. This time the fish chased and ate properly. Hallelujah! I held on to the line for my life, and as the fish tried to move off I burnt myself thoroughly with the line. Its fine. Its worth it. Still holding as tight as possible the fish struggled to get momentum.
I had a surprise for him in store. There was a Fortuna X3 waiting for him on the other end. Ive been waiting too long for this I thought. As the fish got on the reel I locked up, and he nose planted into the grass hard, tail in the air. Maybe 6m from where he ate. Cleverly he sensed he could only run the tether at the end of the line, with our vantage point up on the eroded shelf, this was an insane visual. The line talked and squeaked and moaned as it moved taught to the left. “Maybe ease up a little bit” came from Stu. “Hes buggered”. “Hes mine”, I said under my breath.
The fish turned towards us and Stu jumped off and grabbed its tail. A delayed scream came from us both. “Shit I needed that” said Stu. “Tell me about it man. Me even more so”. The adrenaline had left me almost unable to stand. I needed this fish so bad. Ive never taken any sort of hard drug, but nothing can feel like this kind of heroin.
As I released that fish I could only think of one thing. My unfinished business in the Halliyanat islands.