Angling anybody? Muscat has many opportunities for this interesting hobby

If you are looking out to spend time fruitfully with a new hobby, how about angling?

The name ‘angling’ might sound strange to the novice, but ask those hooked onto this hobby (no pun intended), it can be a really soothing experience for some, and a meditative initiative for others.

Angling can enjoyed in fresh water ponds and lakes as well as at the seafront. Oman has a massive community of anglers. Though it being a niche and expensive hobby, that doesn’t stop anglers across the sultanate in indulging in the ‘sport’ of catching fish.

There are two common types of fishing activities in Oman – bait fishing and lure fishing. Bait fishing is fishing using dead bait such as worms, bait fish etc to get the catch. Lure fishing is done using plastic imitations of fishes reeled in the water which usually results in landing a bigger catch.

These fishing variations have their own unique fishing equipment, know-how, and technical skills that may be specific to the type of water in which an angler will be fishing or the kind of fish targeted.

Going fishing requires the art of patience. Fishing is a different ball-game, so expect things to go wrong. Bear this in mind and make allowances. Ultimately, when fishing, you need to make it interesting and fun for your first fishing trip, enjoy it, and hopefully, you catch some fish.

Below are some tips and tricks when taking a fishing trip in Oman so you can enjoy this great pastime:

1) Keep an eye out on the terrain
Before spending money on equipment, one must first study the waters, says Harish an avid angler, who spends long hours on weekends with this favourite pastime. There are plenty of rocks on the shores in Oman and when lure fishing, your lure might get snagged by the rocks, he cautions.

So avoid using expensive lures on the shores. It’s better to fish during a high tide when shore-fishing to avoid such calamities, says Harish who has joined a popular group of anglers who regularly meet, share experiences, assist each other as well as accompany each other whenever possible.

2) Equipment
There are several stores across Oman for fishing equipment. Make sure you have a good rod, reel and braid also known as a fishing line. When it comes to the rod, make sure the rod is light – preferably made of carbon to prevent strain on the arm after several casts.

“For new anglers we promote our low-cost fishing tools because there is more chance of breaking rods and reels due to lack of experience” said Mr. Iqbal, owner of a fishing shop in Mutrah Souq.

Make sure your fishing braid is of excellent quality for bait casting reels. Choosing the correct reel size is as easy as determining the size fishing line you intend to use most often. The lighter the line you intend to use, the smaller the reel you should purchase. Speak to your local tackle shop vendors to guide you in purchasing the lightest and cost-effective reel.

3) Time of day
There’s no thing as the ‘best’ time to fish. It depends on the area and water levels you can decide to fish but make sure it’s a dry and sunny day and the weather is warm. There will be times when you don’t get anything. If you have the passion, you will go again.

In Oman waters, fishing before sunrise is preferable as it’s the time when fish start feeding near the shores. In Omani summers the best time to fish is early morning before sunrise. During the winters, the catch is better from dawn to dusk.

4) Fishing hotspots
In and around Muscat there are fewer hotspots with fish traffic. However, the shorelines in Quriyat, Dabbab, Bhamma, Finns, Tiwi are good spots. From Dabbab to Sur there are various spots you can fish. Moving down south towards Salalah there are various other fishing hotspots namely Al Ashkhara, Masirah Shannah, Ras Madrakha, Lakabi, Minji, Shuwaymiyyah, Hasik proves to be a good hotspot for seasoned anglers.

Going deep sea fishing requires valid permits from the authorities as per the safety guidelines prescribed by the Oman coastguard and the ROP. Make sure you’ve taken all precautionary measures and enjoy the sport.

5) Be patient
Initially don’t expect to get a bigger catch. Oman waters have a plethora of fish with a vast marine life. The most common ones found across the shores are trigger fish – they are bright coloured reef fishes. Another common ones are eels which are edible but most Omani anglers release them. Along the shallow shores one can also find puffer fish (Species of Fugo fish) which are poisonous fish covered in spikes which can release deadly toxin when threatened.

Flounder fish are found near the beaches of Oman. If you do bait cast fishing you may tend to get some flounders. The chance to catch flounder fish is higher in the winters than in the summers. Various kinds of tuna, bonito are also common in winters.

6) Handling fish
When catching fish you will get excited and may want to hold the fish. You need to know how to handle fish carefully and gently and return them to the water as quickly as possible. Handling a fish too much can harm the fish by removing the slimy coating on its skin which is a protective coating. If you want to take a picture of your children with their catch take a photo quickly and release the fish to the water.

Fishing is exciting and fun when you are getting lots of bites and catching fish, but as with most things it doesn’t always happen that way. Fishing adventures provide the opportunity of spending some quality time together with family, friends or even alone. This can build memories that will last a lifetime, just remember to keep the process simple and pleasurable.

(Text by Fletcher Dsouza)


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