Omani GT - The First Encounter

Catching Monster Omani GT

Getting the opportunity to catch Omani GT is the stuff of dreams. Southern Oman is without doubt the best spot in the world to target giant GT. Between October to April each year is the  GT move into the area around the Hallaniyat islands of southern Oman. These are rough, rugged islands that rise up from the Indian Ocean hundreds of meters below forming the perfect terrain for GT to hunt in.

In October 2014 Matt and myself got a chance to spend a few days in Southern Oman with Noboundaries which is owned by Ed Nicholas. I was living in Qatar and had drooled over the fish that Ed had caught ever since I moved to the Middle East. So when the opportunity came along I jumped at it.

Planning and Tackle

Once we set the dates we dived into planning mode, we spent months working on every detail. What rod and reel setups we’d need, which lures would work best, what fish to target besides GT, we thought of everything.  My tackle recommendation for Oman would be the following setups for each angler:

2 x Medium offshore spinning (PE 2-4)

1 x Medium Jigging (PE 4-8)

1 x Heavy GT popping rod (PE 10 -12)

Check out our Tackle page for more details.

Best Laid Plans

Even the best laid plans occasionally unravel and that’s exactly what happened to us. Days before climbing on the plane ours plans were thrown on their head with one of the team having to pull out totally and Matt having to change his flight to a day later than originally planned. That left me flying in alone with all the gear, thankfully Qatar Airways is very lenient on sporting goods. What they aren’t so good at is the flight times to Salalah. So at 2am I climbed on the flight full of excitement but no one to share it with.

After a sleepless night I arrived at 6am local time and was met by  Noboundaries’ driver. Then came the 3.5hr drive across a Marian like landscape to the little fishing village of Ash-Shuwaymiyyah were the lodge is located.

The first GT landed in Oman

Time to Fish for Omani GT

With the first crack on light on the horizon we launched on what was beautiful, flat  Indian Ocean with hands shaking with anticipation of what lay ahead. The thing that amazed me during the hour-long ride out to the fishing grounds was the extent of life and action in the water. The whole way out there were schools of baitfish and larger fish breaking the surface. I’d never seen so much life visible on the surface over such a long distance.

Arriving at the islands we checked the tackle one last time then off flew the first cast of the huge 200g Cubera poppers. Wind, wind, pop and do I mean pop! You have to really give those huge poppers a good pull to get them making as big a splash and as much noise as possible to entice the huge GTs out the depth.  Don’t let anyone kid you popping for these giant GT is hard work and involves hours and days of casting that lure over and over again.

Breaking the ice

Until suddenly and almost unexpectedly there’s a huge explosion behind your lure. The first pull we had was from a pack of 30kg GT’s that came in swarming after our lures. Smash, smash and both Matt and I were on. Then just as quickly mine came off, wind, wind, pop and smash again. Strike, strike and I was back on again. Absolute chaos and excitement had us shouting with joy and beaming from ear to ear.

Once the initial chaos and adrenalin died down then came the task of hanging on. Trying to keep the fish from reaching the reef 30m down. It’s then that you realize how incredibly strong these fish are and this was only a 30kg fish. I couldn’t wait to feel the strength of a real monster. Within a few minutes the hooks pulled on Matt’s fish unfortunately but a little while later I managed to boat my fish. There it was my first Omani GT, by no means a monster for Omani standards, but still a really good fish.

After that first smash the wind died down and the sea glassed over.  With that the geets disappeared and it became a long, hot morning of us throwing cast after cast with no further action.

With the sun up high and the shoulders burning we decided to have lunch and turn our attention to light tackle. On the light sticks we had some great fun catching AJs, big eye and black tip trevally and bonito.

Light tackle Oman
Light Tackle Delights

The fish we came for

Rounding on 1pm we came across a shoal of bonito feeding on the surface. We were having some great fun getting stuck into these boys with light sticks and tiny spoons when there was a big swirl 200m in front of us. No one saw what it was but straight away our skipper gunned the motors to get in range. I dived for the big GT stick still with the Cubera popper on from the morning.

First cast, pop, pop and up came the most monster smash I’d ever seen. The swirl it left was just enormous. Instantly my line went taut. Striking as hard as I could to make should the hooks penetrated through its bone hard mouth. Then the fight was on, the drag almost full. At stages I thought I may even get pulled out the boat. It was immense, I’d never felt a fish that strong. After 20mins of back-breaking tussling  a giant Omani GT head broke the surface to screams of excitement from all aboard. Mo, the skipper, gaffed it in the lip and together we lifted a 50Kg monster on deck. What an incredible fish, beauty and power combining to form one of the most formidable predators in the ocean. Quickly  we weighed the fish and after a few quick photos it was carefully released to fight another day.

50kg Monster Omani GT
50kg Monster Omani GT

Home time comes too quickly

Even after all the planning and prep then last-minute changes we only managed three days of fishing. We caught some great fish and had a great time out on the water. Southern Oman is definitely worth a trip and there is some incredible fishing to be had but don’t let anyone fool you. Its hard fishing and long hours spent on the water, casting until your arms are falling off and your shoulders are on fire. Would I recommend a trip to Southern Oman to target Omani GT? Absolutely! And if you do, Noboundaries is the company you want to use. 

Tight Lines, then release

Shark Fishing in St. Lucia

The Shark Fishing was Wild

A few years ago Jeff and I spent a weekend shark fishing the beaches of St. Lucia on the KZN north coast. It turned into a weekend to remember.

As the sun began to rise Saturday morning we were already sliding our first baits into a sea that was too flat, calm and way to clean for us to expect to catch anything. We were just happy being on the beach with a rod in hand, the conditions were ay to perfect to catch any fish. To our surprise and excitement Jeff had the first bump of the day before his slide even reached his sinker. Knock, knock and away he went into a tug of war the lasted nearly 2hrs before being burnt off on the back sandbank.

After that first pull the flood gates opened. Every bait we put in the water got pulled flat often within minutes. The first fish I landed was a lovely 189kg Raggie. After a quick photo it was safely returned to the water.

First fish of the weekend, a 189kg Raggie.

For the rest of the morning we got pressed by monster fish. With each fish we’d be locked into a 2 hour-long battle before finally being burnt off.The dropping tide exposed the bank more and more to the point were we couldn’t pull these monster fish over it without the line wearing through on the sand. Come lunchtime the tide had gone out fully and fish with it so we hadn’t back to camp for a bite to eat and to reassess our tactics for the evening session.

Raggie of 195kgs taken at night

With heavier leader and longer traces we marched back to the beach just before sunset. As the sun went down the Raggies moved back in and we were in for some fun. After a few lost fish both Jeff and I landed ones of 193kgs and 195kgs respectively.

After a good evening session we headed back for a good dinner and a few hours of much need rest. Our bodies were burning after a long day of being dragged up and down the beach.

Sunrise the next morning were back ready for round two. Our excitement almost palpable as we imagined the shoals of raggies swimming just behind shore break.  We weren’t let down in the slightest right from the word go the raggies were feeding even more so than the day before.  We were wading into the water chest deep to get the baits to slide out faster and before we could even make it back to the beach we were getting pulled flat. It was the stuff dreams are made of. I landed two more raggies that Sunday morning the first 195kgs and the second a real monster of 223kgs. Still my biggest fish of the side to date.

Team photo of the first Raggie on day 2 - 195kgs


A really monster 223kgs Raggie.