Grunters on the Salt Flats – Fly Fishing Abu Dhabi

Back on the salt flats yesterday morning to further explore my old fishing ground with Captain B. Previous week it was far to windy to cast or sight cast and was very difficult fishing.

Left the house around 7.15 am and called to check on Captain B who was en route from Umm Al Qwain to join me for the morning. B was already close to the fishing grounds and i was just leaving, he’d made good time taking only two hours to get there! Time to put my foot down on the petrol and get a move on. It never seems to amaze me how easy it is to get up in the morning for something you love doing and have a passion for 🙂

Beautiful morning as i made my way through Abu Dhabi towards the flats and almost zero wind around. Got off the highway and followed the road down to the flats where i found B’s car parked up and i could see him in the distance already casting away. I geared up and packed the food and drinks into my ruck sack. Unfortunately there were no Chicken Francks for us today in the ADNOC station which is not a good sign. As i reported before, we live for fly fishing and chicken franks so had to settle for  a cheese, turkey and black olive croissant 🙂

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I set off to catch B up and after a good 20 minute walk reached the flats and spoke to B. No luck just yet on any fish so we had a quick chat and discussed tactics. The tide was rising slowly and flooding onto the flats which is a good sign that there would be some good predators around to target and as we scanned the flats, we could see some tails which were thought for a minute could be milk fish !!! After further investigation, we realized they were very large needle fish which we don’t really like as they annihilate your fly and although they dance and give a good fight, we were really after different species. I waded out to a spot and stood on the rocks, knew deep in the water and began with a small clouser, white and blue colour. A few casts and some small strikes later i caught a bloody needlefish hahahaha! A quick retrieve and release, i cast again and carried on. Ten mins must have past and then i changed up my fly for a green and white deceiver which had weighted eyes so i could get down a bit further as i felt the fish were deeper and i also had on my intermediate fly line. Several casts later and with a slow retrieve i get a very good take on the fly , boom and the rod bends and line goes tight (we all know that feeling… 🙂 )!! This fish felt good and started to take line , i turned to B who hadn’t noticed and shouted “FISH ON”, then he noticed 🙂  Deeper the fish dived and more line taken, i was wondering what it was, hammour nah, couldn’t be, queen fish, could be but hadn’t seen any jumps yet, needle fish (i hope not…) and then i got a real good flash of silver and a bit of surface and i could see it was either a sea bream or Nagroor (grunter).

 

Fish dived again and took more line, i tightened the drag more and got the excess line back onto the reel and got in control. Still knee deep in the rising tide i stepped back a bit into the shallows and began to play the fish towards the shallow waters and eventually landed a very nice Nagroor.

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I decided to keep this one for the table and dinner on Saturday. Whilst i took the fish back onto dry land, B stepped into where i ad been casting and fished on (tag team you see 🙂 ). After a good 10 minutes away fro the action and putting the fish away, i saw that the fly was quite badly damaged from that action so checked the box and didn’t have anymore of the same size flies so went up a few hook sizes and put on the same fly but larger. I moved back into place and cast again, several casts later i got another cracking take and this felt the same as before but a bit stronger. Same process and play time i had a feeling it was another nagroor and after 5 minutes of playing the fish it came up to surface and it was indeed another nagroor only slightly fatter. Again i backed into the shallows and as i bent down to grip the fish, it flipped and i got one of its spines in my thumb, line snapped and after running for a second in pain from the inserted spine in my thumb, the fish swam off laughing as it went…….! I took the snips i had and pulled out the spine , cursing as i did and allowed the blood to flow.

 

We then had a visit from the coats guard who asked us to move on from where we were fishing, so we packed up and made our way back to the main land and take a break and have a cheese,turkey and black olive croissants.

We fished on for a further 30 minutes making our way back to the cars as we did and eventually reached the other side of the flats and broke down the gear and packed up to drive home.

Another great adventure and a fish for the table!

 

 

Tight lines, fish on and fly fishing Abu Dhabi!

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