Category Archives: Lure Fishing

Catching GT in Djibouti

When a Plan Comes Together

After the disappointment of the previous couple days we retraced our steps back down the coast to Lac Ghoubet, to a spot we’d eyed out on the first day. Our trip had proved frustrating thus far as the coastline looks amazing but is mostly inaccessible and we just couldn’t get to the water’s edge. At the back of Lac Ghoubet there’s a small dirt track to very basic tourist camp right on the water. That’s where we aimed and straight away it proved the correct decision.

Rocky Djibouti Coastline
The bays and ridges of Lac Ghoubet held amazing fishing

Striking Gold in Lac Ghoubet

As we arrived we saw shoals of bait fish get smashed on the surface. Grabbing our rods we sprinted to point straight directly in front. From the first cast the sea was alive and the fish were feeding! Fred landed a small GT then got bust off by a really good fish, I hooked and lost a couple fish. Finally we’d found the fishing we’d been searching for. With the first taste a good one we packed bags for the day and begin exploring the coast properly.

GT Caught in Djibouti
Fred with a beaut GT caught on Fly
Fishing in Djibouti
One of the many fish caught on light tackle

The Excitement of Catching GT

That day and the next the fishing was just phenomenal. The fish we saw, landed, lost was the stuff dreams are made of. The reefs and drop offs are almost untouched and produced a variety of reef fish from grouper, snapper and emperor to napoleon wrasse, coral trout and more. The coral trout destroyed us. I cringe at the number of lures lost to them diving between the coral. We saw a number of big trigger fish and shoals of milkies but frustratingly they wouldn’t eat the flies Fred presented to them.

Lastly but definitely not least were the GT. Man alive did we find the GT. Off the side it was by far the best GT fishing that I’ve ever experienced. Throwing spoons, stickbaits and poppers on a 11ft Assassin Spinmaster 2x Heavy paired with a Stella 10k the geets gave me a solid workout. In the space of 24hrs, One afternoon and one morning session, I had 14 pulls! Landed 4 geets between 10kgs and approx. 25kgs, got bust up by another 2 fish that must’ve been around the 40kg mark. There was also a monster coral trout that kept following my lure but just wouldn’t commit. Fred during the same time found a pack of GT smashing bait fish up close to the side, whipped out the fly rod and hooked up first cast. After an exhausting 30min fight, getting dragged up and down the rocks he managed to landed a beautiful GT!

Photos were taken by Fred Davis of Feathers and Flouro. Check out his account of our trip at

Fishing in Djibouti - The First Impression

Arriving in Djibouti

After the weeks of planning and dreaming about the potential fishing in Djibouti may hold we were finally on our way. One minor hiccup left, making sure our luggage wasn’t over weight. I have enough gear to equip an army so there’s always the challenge of keeping to the weight limit. Needless to say there was some last- minute repacking at the check-in and sweet talking which would make Casanova proud but we made it through without paying an extra. With that taken care of it was time to hit the lounge for quick beer to get into the holiday spirit. 

Landing in Djibouti at midnight we were greeted by a typically African airport, old, rundown and the only plane on the runway but still took an age to get through customs. 

Rocky Djibouti Coastline
Rocky Djibouti Coastline

Getting through customs

 As with most African countries the customs officials have some strange ideas. Firstly they want your boarding passes from your home country till arriving in Djibouti, not just the last flight into Djibouti. Took some convincing that we had SA passports but lived in Qatar and hence had only flown from Qatar to Djibouti. Secondly and most strangely they ask for second ID to check your passport against. One passengers in front of me produced a library card because that was the only other ID on him. The customs officials seemed happy with that. TIA - This is Africa, don’t ask questions if it works for you.

That night we’d booked an Airbnb accommodation with Tom, an American guy that had lived in Djibouti for the last 14 years. He was a decent guy and was at the airport to meet us once we got through. He did charge us $20 for what was a 4km drive back to his place but hey it was midnight.

Getting Organized and Heading out into the unknown

After hardly sleeping  we were up early the next morning to Rachel, tom’s wife, making a breakfast which hit the spot. With breakfast done it was off to pick up our car, an awesome old school Land Cruiser.

Next it was to the shops for food, supplies and 20lt containers for fuel. Then back home, packed our gear and we were off, all before 10am. Dam good going and way quicker than expected.

Our trusted steed ‘Donkey’ the Land Cruiser

Driving out into the unknown

It was a slow drive getting out of town. Firstly, because the cruiser we’d already nicknamed ‘Donkey’ battled to reach 100km/h downhill and second the hundreds of big trucks that head off to Ethiopia taking cargo from the harbor. Fortunately about 60kms in we turned off the RN9 towards Lac Assal and that road is all but deserted.

Excitement levels were fever pitch, Fred and I bubbling about the fishing that lay ahead when suddenly the mood sobered as we both stared in disbelief at a rocket launcher resting silently and abandoned in the desert not far off the road. Wild thoughts immediately start rushing through your head and you wonder if you’re bitten off more than you can chew. A little further down the road we came across a few American soldiers who had set up post a little way of the road next to their vehicle and with their own rocket launcher. We jumped to the conclusion that the army boys were carrying out a training exercise. True or not we’ll never know but with our minds at ease we plowed on forward. The thoughts of fish overpowering the worries of abandoned rocket launchers. 

Two hours after leaving Djibouti we got our first glimpse of Lake Ghoubet. A stunning view over the whole bay as you descend down the rocky, barren mountains . The sea is beautiful, blue and deep while the coast rugged, broken volcanic rock. It’s quite a sight for a fisherman to behold. 

Detour to Lac Assal

Before reaching the sea we made a quick detour to Lac Assal, the lowest point in Africa and the saltiest lake in the world. It’s located at the very top of the Great Rift Valley where the African continent is tearing itself apart. Staring at the lake and landscape around it you can how the rocks are being twisted and tortured as the continents separate. Desolate and other worldly is the only way to describe it. It looks very much how you imagine Mars with volcanic rock surrounding vast white, salt flats and a lake frothing white and lined with crystallized salt. Once on the salt flats we met two young Afar men that made a living selling salt, crystals and most fascinating salt encrusted goat skulls. After the customary bartering we came away with two goat skulls and a few salt crystals as mementos.

Fred in Lac Assal
Fred in Lac Assal

Our First Taste of the Fishing in Djibouti

With out tourist excursion done it was back on our main mission, finding a spot to wet a line and test the fishing in Djibouti. The first place the road came near the coast was at a small, derelict harbor. The harbor was really just a rocky break water that ran out a couple hundred meters.

Habour in Lake Ghoubet
Break water forming a small habour isn’t much to look at but held incredible fish

Normally not a spot we’d stop at but being the first water we reached we decided to give it a bash. Not expecting too much we strolled down to check the water. First thing we found was a monster trigger fish caught in an abandoned fishing net in the back corner of the harbor. After rescuing it we then found a baby turtle also requiring rescuing.

Fred with a Trigger Fish
Fred with the Trigger Fish he rescued

A dream start to the trip

With our good deed done for the day I pulled out my heavy GT setup. More because I wanted to test my new rod and reel, an 11ft Assassin Spinmaster and Shimano Stella 10k, than expecting a pull. Cast, cast then bang! On my 5th cast on the sheltered side there was a monstrous explosion behind my v-shape spoon. A 30kg plus GT smashed my spoon right on the surface and took off towards the old buoy lines still anchored in the bay. Knowing I’d lose the fish if she made to them I locked but after seconds of chaos. The worst feeling in the world, slack line. The hooks straightened by it’s incredibly powerful jaws.

Sprinting back to the car I tackled up properly with GT strength hooks and to replaced the slops with shoes. Minutes later was back casting a chisel nose plug. First cast nothing, second cast smash! On again but this time with a good barracuda. Djibouti had us hooked. What a dream start!

Barracuda in Djibouti
First fish landed and not even in fish gear yet

We fished the wall for another hour with follows from bonito but not more hook ups. Then we had to leave to make it around to our camp site near Tadjoura.

One last evening session

On arriving at camp just before sunset the water directly in front was too inviting not to have a throw.  Out came the lighter setup, 30lb gear and a Rapala long cast stickbait. Fishing in shallow water over pristine coral reef I hooked a 7kg grouper. It dived straight for the coral, every time I pulled it out one hole I dived for the next. Eventually landed it and what a beautiful fish to end the day with.

With that day one was over and we were well and truly hooked on  Djibouti.

Fishing in Djibouti - Grouper
First Grouper of the trip

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