I can’t get over Musandam, Oman. I’ve seen most of the world but never any place like this. The region is really unique and our ninety minute boat ride north to the top where Musandam juts into to the Strait of Hormuz provided another spectacular sunrise.
There’s sort of a gateway where you go from the Gulf of Oman into the Strait of Hormuz. Basically you travel up the east side of Musandam in the Gulf of Oman all the way to the top. Both mornings it’s been fairly calm and easy boating. Then you come to this jagged rocky opening between two mountains of rocks. Once side is attached to the mainland and the other side is the face of a rock island. When you pass between them you go from gentle seas of the Gulf of Oman into the frothing whitecaps, wind and waves that is the Strait of Hormuz.
Undoubtedly, it’s a place where big fish prowl. Cameron has had his best luck on the turbulent side so both mornings I braced myself and launched some bombs while struggling to stay on my feet. The entire time here yesterday I tossed the sailfish popper. I started the same way today but despite my efforts I can’t bring up a giant trevally.
As always I have heaps of rods, reels and lines to cover most situations or in this case possibilities and I asked Cameron if dredging a pushy fly down deep might get the job done. He liked the idea. I already had my second 12-weight Winston rigged with my Ross Momentum LT #8 reel and a 700-grain Bluewater Express sinking line. I tied on a black brush fly and handed the rig to Granny.
Granny’s reaction was, “I can’t cast this?” But when dredging a 700-grain line you don’t need to cast (See last day in the Seychelles). I had her feed out the entire fly line – straight down. Then I tightened the drag on my Momentum almost all the way. I had her brace herself then point the rod tip straight into the water and strip as fast as she possibly could. It’s a ton of work and the girl gave up on it way too quickly.
I took the rod and went to work knowing I had to prove something. I let that line go down then shoved half the rod down in the water and stripped so hard my left shoulder aches tonight. As we drifted and bounced along I kept going. Finally I got rocked!
I don’t know what’s down beneath the surface in the gateway as far as structure but looking at the rocks out of the water I have to assume it’s rocky below. If you can help it in this situation, DO NOT let your fish make much of a run. Keep a slight bend in the rod and have confidence in your tippet.
This size of this fish greatly surprised me. Seriously, the first minute I was sure I had a good size giant trevally. It’s hard to believe a 12-weight can be bent so much. But slowly the fish gave up. And when I landed him he was much smaller than expected. But it was a new species for me – a sharp-looking blacktip trevally (Caranx heberi).
This is actually a good size blacktip trevally. What’s neat about this catch is that until this trip I was completely unaware of the species. While I was at Ray Montoya’s house in Muscat he showed some fish pictures and he was holding one. I wanted one right then and now I have one!
That was the first time Cameron has ever seen a blacktip trevally in Musandam. There are plenty down south but up here this was a first. After the catch Granny was in the game and she went to work and for the next two hours we took turns and tried several promising spots. Nothing.
I appears now the blacktip trevally was a lucky catch. Not only was he the one and only big fish of the day but even the Strait of Hormuz went calm and like yesterday, the only fish we could find were Granny’s new favorite, the orange-spotted trevally.
While one good fish in the first two days may not satisfy most, I am very happy tonight with the new species for my list. One of the local boats here got a memorable fish as well. A bull shark that took four guys to hoist up on the boat launch. We’ll head out on our last day tomorrow. . . .