Summer in the Sandbox

Comparison is often the topic of many fishermens’ tales and talks, the pros and cons associated with their respective waters. Relations between individual experiences unearth a deep connection for men and women that have spent hours on the water, a sort of unspoken bond generated even amongst strangers, purely based on common ground.


The desire to experience certain facets first hand, or rather collaborate in enlightening a friend about tips and tricks to resolve the repetition of “The One That Got Away”.  All these contrasts of exposure were the foundation of most reunions upon arriving back home for the 2month vacation. With tears of laughter wiped away with shisanyama flavored fingers while trying to locate your Black Label through a kaleidoscope of rosy cheeks and pearly whites scattered loosely around the braai area.


However as soon as the first night with the boys had started, so it seemed it were time to say goodbye as I lugged my heavy bags and oversize rod tube back to the Emirates check-in counter.

The initial stages upon returning to Dubai were exhausting to say the least, greeted by 48 degree Celsius heat the morning of my arrival, dealing with another taxi drive home that consisted of heavy Bhangra tunes and an absence of change for the fair. Nevertheless the various boat owners who had been off the water for the Holy Month, and majority of the summer had noted my return.


Itching to  get on the water, they held no reservations on spending a few hours off Dubai, a few hours in that sort of heat is physically unbearable, with 250ml bottles of water flowing down the gullet every couple minutes.

We did however, uncover a lethal pattern for enticing shoal size king mackerel on the spinning gear or micro bait trawled lures, deceivingly targeting these fish is bath temperature water, often in no more 12-15meters of pea soup coloured water. We experienced an environmental issue pinned down to Algae blooms in the Arabian Gulf, as well as other warm water regions across the globe.  While its took the visibility from a general 5-10m down to 2m in most low current areas. Allowing bait to congregate and feed on the algae and phytoplankton without noticing the rocket darts blasting through and sometimes reaching in excess of 2m above the surface with a wake of frantic sprats scattered back into the frenzy.


Throwing a number of brand new Chase Spoons at the bait, it became very evident that the ability of a slower retrieve with maximum vibration and wobble offered by the new lighter S-Bends allowed for a much longer, shallow, sub-surface presentation of the lure, most times resulting in a change of direction for an airborne fish as I took up slack to pressure penetrate the hook rather than blindly striking at a fish that’s wildly attacked the lure.  Tackle used were the 2016 7ft Shimano Schimitar Rod, paired with C14 Sustain 3000’s and 15lb PowerPro braid, Verivas 50lb mono shock leader.


As if the flying king macks weren’t enough, I had the pleasure of targeting 20-30lb Amberjack in Southern Oman last year October, on the newly crazed slow-fall conventional jigging gear.

After Nick at Ocean Active suggested the possibility of landing these brutes on PE 2 rated gear, I remember glancing over my shoulder while allowing the jig to drop onto the 60m pinnacle and seeing Nick with the even lighter toothpick in his hand and a naughty grin on his face, 20lb depth hunter braid changing colour faster than a chameleon on LSD.    Long story short, we managed 70 Amberjack in 2 sessions, with the majority falling victim to rods you’d expect to find in the kiddies section at Spar.   However, the technology and science behind this gear is magical.   

I arrived back to my boat to find that the boat owner had done a little shopping spree and filled the remaining glove compartment with hard body stickbaits, micro jigs and above all, the rods and reels to go with!  It’s been a non stop, finesse factory of brutality on this ultralight gear! Whilst the absence of sharks around Dubai offers opportunity to play fish with very little risk of being taxed, it was premature to think that they were non-existent. However, the action and movement created by the correct pairing of tackle resulted in a handful of juvenile black tip reef sharks bending the hell out of this gear!