The summer heat has been bearing down on us for a couple of months, all but a few brave souls have stored their gear for the summer, some have left the country for cooler climes. It is indeed the best time of the year to check one’s gear, change old rusty hooks on lures, stock up on the bits and bobs needed for next season and more importantly, do the much needed check up and maintenance on the gear to minimize surprises in the coming season. This has been the case year in and year out, the norm, so to speak. The heat of the summer is quite too much for a lot of us, but the question remains – Is there really no fishing in the summer months?
In last month’s article, we talked about the options you have in the summer, fishing in earlier in the day or towards the evening when the temperatures are slightly lower and more bearable. Oman and the East Coast would be a bit cooler facing the Indian Ocean and it’s Monsoon season.
The truth of the matter is that there are fish around and regardless of the time of day or the side of the country you choose to fish in, the discomfort summer brings to bear is just too much for a lot of people.
Aside from the heat, there is very little difference in summer and winter fishing. Around Dubai, you will find that the fishing is just as finicky as ever. The main difference in fishing around Dubai as the brave ones that do go out would know…the species of fish you catch also change with the season.
While some fish migrate to deeper and cooler waters to spawn and grow, there are some species that head to the shallow and warmer waters of the coastal areas to do the exact same thing– To spawn and grow. This is something well noted by those that are brave enough to venture out in the heat; the kingfish we love chasing after in the winter months are not really seen, however, there is sport to be had with the influx of sharks, barracuda, grouper, grunter and bream.
For the brave, sharks are great game…a bit too much on a kayak for the faint hearted, however, there have been some recorded catches of sharks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the past years…Brave souls!
A couple of weeks back, I made a call and asked if there were some fishing to be had in Fujairah, east of Dubai and one of the places I take refuge when the weather in Dubai is too much to bear.
After confirming with Bobby, one of the brothers running Soolyman Sportfishing in Fujairah, we had a trip on. The trip was scheduled so I could have stock images and footage of fish swimming underwater as well as some images of blue water light tackle fishing. The dorado that are even present in the tankers made for some great fighting fish, the sizes were nothing out of the ordinary so it was perfect to target them with 4000 sized reels paired with rods and line that would give us a little challenge.
A day before the trip and another quick call confirmed my suspicion, the waters that side of the country is, at that time pretty turbid, although blessed with scattered days of crystalline flat water, The Indian Ocean is only as forgiving as the monsoon that is also pounding the shores of the Indian peninsula. Being the coast that faces the Indian Ocean, the biggest factor to consider if you plan to fish the waters of the east coast, is the very fickle weather.
The plan was for me to be joined by a good friend, someone who has not gone offshore fishing and more importantly, someone who has not caught a fish that really pulls…yet.
A HUGE TRIP
We were quite lucky to be hosted by Calvin and Brandon on this trip, even if it was just a short morning run, these guys have a track record for providing the goods. The boat is as always, well cleaned and organized, I did not even know that there was live bait on board, we just loaded our gear and off to the deep we went! First stop was for some deep jigging, while the souls on board were willing to tough it out with the elements, after a while, we paid the price – my guest of honor started looking for Rolf. If you are not acquainted with Rolf, he is the guy you look for when you get motion sickness; there is a predefined style in looking for Rolf; almost always on the side of the boat, the heave and then the abrupt cracking sound of the call. The whole process is painful, and just as painful to watch. The rocking and rolling of the boat did not deter the 3 other anglers that were determined to catch something, upon deciding to slowly go back and stop at the tankers, we were greeted with schoolie dorado that were willing to play. I thought we hit pay dirt and this would be the source of this morning’s entertainment before the sun gets to be a bit unbearable, as it stood, we had Harry floored and no fish in the icebox. When water conditions are too choppy, the bite also turns off, fish could get finicky even if the water clarity was good, too much chop in the water seems to turn the fish from feeding close to the surface as well. It was one of those days that even a fish as gregarious as mahi-mahi was knit picking. The live bait supply was dwindling, all sorts of jigs have been tossed and aside from a few suckers from each location eating the live baits that were flylined out, the bites were few and far.
After a while of playing around with some experiments, I tied on an old school tried and true lure. A Bucktail Jig.
Before the popularity of plastic baits, the most popular lure used in its place was the bucktail jig – I love it because it lasts a heck of a lot longer than the plastics. While their use have dwindled in favor of the plastic baits in recent years, the bucktail jig’s fish catching quality has not. There were a couple of ships that produced a few dorado and there were blitzes of boiling fish right in front of us, there was at least one occasion where one of our members was calling Rolf as well as chumming the waters for us.
There were at least three instances when the whole school followed my lure right at the side of the boat, but refusing to eat even the live bait – for some reason, they were just not in the mood to eat. There were also occasions when they would hit right in front of the boat, before you lift your lure out of the water to make another cast. It startled me a few times when they would just follow the jig to the boat and smack it at the very last minute. Needless to say, because I was using braid and a short heavy leader, I lost all of the fish that did this, there was simply no stretch to cushion the impact of the strike. The fish, although not too big in size, make up with their acrobatics and energy, plus – since I started eating fish, I’ve always wanted to know how they tasted like, there were 4 of these guys joining me for dinner.
While the action was hot beside the boat with several schools of fish boiling in front of us, poor Harry was still floored. Before he could complain I stuck a rod in his hands and asked him the reel. Like a soldier, he endured the dizziness and reeled. He did manage to land his first fish on a rod and reel – but I think at that point and time, he was just interested to rest his head and take the trip in stride. Calvin asked if I wanted to check out more boats on the way back, I thought to myself, hey, I could really make this an unforgettable trip for Harry, but then again, the sun was also starting to sting. When we got back to land, it was as if the spirit that left Harry’s body miraculously re-entered and he was back to his old self again. He managed to take a few pictures even if he was really dizzy, fought a fish while the core of his being is only interested in turning his stomach upside down – he survived.
“Let’s go when the water is a lot calmer dude!” I said.
“Yeah, like really really calm!” he exclaimed.