My brother, Martin, and I started our fishfecking from the humble beginnings of fishing down at the old marina docks in Abu Dhabi - float fishing for Rabbit fish (local name Saafi) using homemade flour based bait. Saafi are pretty small fish and although nowadays we are getting stuck into some monsters, nothing beats the excitement of seeing your float bobbing up and down knowing there’s a fish nibbling on your end. Hook end that is. From there, over the years we’ve ventured out further with Dad using bigger baits and new techniques to catch larger species and now fishing has turned into a healthy addiction.
Unlike most fishing locations, the UAE and Oman offer awesome fishing all year round. For the most part of the year, when the weather is cooler, we’re able to target king Spanish Mackerel, Queen fish, Grouper, Barracuda, Cobia and different species of Trevally in the Arabian Gulf. We do the majority of our fishing in Abu Dhabi on the old man’s boat, where the Abu Dhabi shipping channel has provided many successful days using light tackle to catch some big top water feeding fish.
Fishing in the Gulf in Summer slows down as not many fish can tolerate the high water temperature except the Queen fish; but a 2 and half hour car ride over to the Indian Ocean offers the best Dorado fishery in the world, Fujairah. It really is amazing how a short car journey across the UAE takes you into a completely different fishing habitat. A one hour boat journey in the Gulf will get you to waters only 20 metres deep – In Fujairah, the same journey can put you into 150 metres of water with a whole different scale of fish (see what I did there) to catch.
Fishing in Fujairah is unlike any other place in the world due to the large number of tankers. Anchored oil tankers present the perfect stomping grounds for the Dorado where they bully small bait that shelter under the ships. This also attracts other pelagic species such as Long Tail and Yellow Fin Tuna. Another hour or so out of the anchorage takes you over a deep underwater ledge that brings much larger Dorado, Sailfish, Marlin and more Tuna. Fishfeckers went out 2 weeks ago and we caught our first sailfish which was absolutely awesome. Even better, the fish was tagged and safely released – the most beautiful and largest fish we have ever caught. Mussandam (northern Oman) is another location we visit that has some of the most scenic fishing grounds in the world – there aren’t many places where you can chase the very sought after Giant Trevally surrounded by towering mountains sinking into infinitely crystal blue waters. We’ve been really lucky to do some great camping and fishing trips with the Wild Arabia guys who have the best hook ups in terms of locations and dhow captains.
What I think makes these fishing trips special for us is that it took us years of exploring and ‘hard graft’ to find our spots in the Gulf. We didn’t just jump on the boat and suddenly start catching 30lb king fish. We’ve had to do loads of recce trips over the years, try and test out new techniques, listened to old fishermen stories, and combined our local knowledge of the Gulf with new ways of catching fish on lighter tackle. There’s nothing better than landing a big fish in a location you’ve found yourself and with your own tackle. On top of that, you never know what you’re going to find out in the blue.
We did a recent trip to Fujairah where the fishing was absolutely dead – it looked like it would turn into a hard day and suddenly we had a juvenile whale shark swimming under the boat. Luckily we had our goggles and GoPro and managed to snap some pictures; truly a rare and special event for us! We’ve also bumped into countless dolphins, turtles, sharks, sea snakes and even sighted some dugongs off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
Why are the fishfeckers trying to increase our exposure on the net? Is it to simply land a dream job of getting sponsored by a TV show or a fishing gear manufacturer and go fishing worldwide for free? Definitely. Other than that, and a somewhat more realistic goal, we love people experiencing the UAE and Oman the way we have growing up . Having a new person on the boat, catching and releasing their first decent fish brings us the same joy as catching it ourselves (…maybe). Sure the UAE offers a glitzy city life with flash cars, fancy hotels with obscenely good brunches but the real jewel of the UAE is the sea. Our advice – sack that third brunch off you’re doing this month and get out there with a rod and explore!