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“Go big, or go home” will be the theme – or the red thread – of this report, as I think the phrase captures the essence of what fishing for Giant Trevally (”GT”) in Southern Oman (”SO”) is all about. If you come to SO to catch many GTs, you are likely to return disappointed. On the other hand, if you come to SO to catch the GT of your life, then SO is your destination of choice. The chances of catching a +50kg GT are better in SO than most – if not all – other places on earth. Especially now when there is a civil war raging in Yemen, which means that Socotra is off limits. However, fishing for GTs in SO is very demanding – physically, mentally and tackle wise.

Physically because you will be casting +200g lures for six hours each day in a rocking boat, under a scorching sun and the farther you cast, the greater are the chances of catching fish. Mentally, because you may only get one or two GT strikes in one week(!), despite casting continuously. And tackle wise, because a +40kg GT will expose and mercilessly exploit any weaknesses in your fishing tackle. Only fishing tackle of the highest quality will stand up to the abuse that these GTs put it through. PE10 is the go to standard when fishing GT in SO. My strong advice is, do not use anything less, despite occasionally reading about people catching GTs on PE 8 or even PE6 in SO.

Henrik Sandahl, Christer Mellberg and I returned to SO once again to tangle with one of the most ferocious fish species a fisherman can target, the GT. This was Henrik’s and my fourth and Christer’s third trip to SO – even though we had to cut the most recent trip in October 2015 short due to cyclone Chapala. My nephew, Markus Fredén accompanied us to document the trip on film.

Again, we had chosen to fish with No Boundaries Oman, whose fishing lodge is located in the small fishing village Shuwaymiyah, some 280 km north of Salalah. The drive takes roughly four hours, depending on whether or not you opt for the longer, but more scenic route along the coast line.

Getting to SO from Stockholm is not straightforward, unless you are going on a charter trip. You typically have to make two stops to get to Salalah. This time, we changed flights in London and Doha on the way down and when we landed in Salalah at 4:10am we quickly realized that our rod case was missing. Further investigation showed that it had been left in Doha. We therefore arrived at the camp just before 9am, without any fishing rods.

Luckily, Andrew Smith of Ebb Tide Adventures had booked the other two boats the same dates as we were fishing and he had brought with him some other fellow fishing maniac from Australia – Sean Tieck, Michael and Hayley Bonnici, Mark and Matt West - who were carrying more fishing tackle than they could use. They and the No Boundaries crew hooked us up so a couple of hours later we were all rigged for the following day’s fishing. During the night, Qatar Airways managed to get the missing piece of luggage out to the fishing lodge and we managed to rig all but one of our rods.

I had set the alarm at 4:30am to prepare the last things and apply sunscreen lotion before breakfast. Around 5:30, Captain Mo, or “Mighty Mo” as we call him, came into our house shouting: “Let’s go”. Within a few minutes, we were all sitting in the car on our way to the launching ramp, a few kilometers from the camp.

The approx. 1 hour ride out to the Hallaniyat Islands went according to plan. Bean sacks makes the ride endurable, even under pretty windy conditions. The first day we fished around Monster Rock, Bagdad and No Fish – code names for fishing spots used by the No Boundaries captains. We were mentally prepared for the hard fishing and were not really expecting much as we set up our first drift. The first strike, already on the second or third drift, therefore came as a surprise to me. Nonetheless I reacted by instinct and set the hooks with a couple of distinct strikes. I was fishing with a Carpenter Endless Passion KLL 82/42, Stella SW18k 2013, SOM spool loaded with Varivas Avani GT Max PE10, Sunline 210lb leader, NT 2/0 swivel and a Carpenter 350lb split ring. The lure was one of my new stick baits that I had brought to SO to test; a MAK Sandz 270 in blue with silver spots, armed with two BKK GT Rex trebles – a 6/0 on the belly and a 5/0 on the tail. The fish had hit the lure after only a few meters of retrieve in 12 meters of water so I put maximum pressure on it straight away, while keeping my rod tip high. The GT put up a decent fight, but just as last year, the Glide rod belt helped a lot during the fight and the fish came to the boat in around five minutes. The fish was in very good condition and measured 116 cm, straight fork length. Not a giant, but a very nice start to our trip. The fish was returned unharmed and we continued fishing. The following drift, I had another strike on the MAK Sandz, but did not manage to set the hooks this time.

However, already one hour later, I had a new strike. This time on a Carpenter Seafrog Twinhook 120 in Pink. Unfortunately, the fish missed the lure. I put in another cast in the same direction and only had to pop once or twice before coming tight. The GT made a run to the side and once again, I had to put max pressure on the fish, while keeping the rod tip high. The water depth was 14 meters, so I was not taking any chances. The fish was brought to the boat in just over five minutes and Mo set the gaff like the pro he is. This GT was larger than the first one and measured 130 cm. The fish was caught on a borrowed Carpenter Monster Hunter 80H, a Stella SW18k 2008, SOM spool with Varivas Avani GT Max PE10, Sunline 210lb leader, NT 2/0 swivel and a Carpenter 350lb split ring. Hooks – an Owner ST76 4/0 on the belly and OMTD Strong Single 8/0 hook on the tail. We took a few photos of the fish before returning it safely to the sea.

A few drifts later Henrik suddenly got very excited when a big black shadow tracked his lure all the way to the boat. We first thought it was a massive black GT, but soon realized that it was “only” a big sailfish, accompanied by a slightly smaller one. Another memorable moment from the first day was when a big wahoo casually swam passed the stern just under the surface, completely ignoring our lures. The day did not produce any more fish. Christer came closest when he lost a grouper that hit his ASWB SS 130 Scad, a few meters down, just next to the boat.


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