We came on a moonless night, when the waves were high and the planktons were plenty. We saw fishes when a strong flashlight was pointed at the water. We were camped a few kilometres from the small village of Fins, on a rocky cliff where a cave system was formed underneath by the constant ebb and flow of water. It was a good spot, melodious at times, as the ground holes sometimes sing songs when the water hit its columns at the right spot. Even the breeze often sings along.
Embraced by a 20-degree temperature, we had a bonfire going. Five tents and a large gazebo were strategically placed beside each other.
Armed with fishing rods, five of our companions were determined that they are not going home without catching anything.
I told them that they will be having tough luck. With so much planktons in the ocean, I explained their chances are slim. But humans will always have faith and determination is something you just can’t fight with.
We drove from Muscat to Fins taking the usual route. The highways were monotonous but the landscape was entertaining. Located around 200km from Muscat, we divided the group into two.
I was part of the advance party tasked to select a good camping area and with the help of one Omani who lives in Sur and spends most of his days camping in Fins, we settled at this place where he said is deep enough that gives us a big chance of catching big fishes.
It wasn’t the first time that we headed out to Fins for a night camp and on most weekends, we are not the only ones.
A sleepy town loved
by hobbyist fishermen
The small village of Fins is as sleepy as any town can get. On cursory glance, you’d think nothing much happens around here. There are a few stores that sell essentials and you definitely can’t expect that it would become a booming town soon.
But apparently, most of the locals like their small town the way it is. And it’s not always true that nothing is happening.
“There’s a lot of people coming here especially on Fridays. On weekend especially when the season is cold, you’d almost have difficulty finding a good spot to camp on,” Thalal, a local we met who frequents the area, said.
“I live in Sur but I also have a house nearby. I also love fishing and this area here, as people would come to discover, are good spot for fishing. I prefer fishing on boats but some prefer the comfort of sitting by the cliff and wait,” he shared.
As Thalal would share, the beaches of Fins are as diverse as it can get. There are small pebbled beaches while the sandy ones are where most people would go to.
“Right now, there are definitely a lot of campers here and for sure, they’d be setting up their own fishing rods as the evening progresses,” he said.
For Lucybel, a flight attendant who also loves camping and the outdoors, Fins is the easiest and friendliest place to pursue her hobby.
“I’d been here a few times. I enjoy the company of my friends but extraordinarily, I like the fact that we’ve come here several times and we always have the luck of bringing home some amazing catches,” she shared.
She pointed out that compared to a few years back, there are more people coming now.
“I think it helped them discover this place more because the roads are slowly being fixed,” she said.
“It’s a first come first served place. And different spots offer different challenges,” she added.
Come back another time
On the Friday evening we spent at Fins, luck, as I predicted, wasn’t on my friends’ side.
“We’d been fishing here for almost two hours and we didn’t catch anything,” shared the local who was headed to a different spot when we got there.
“Has it always been this way here?” I asked.
“No. Only for today. There’s lot of algae on the sea right now and it’s posing a lot of challenges,” he said.
Not heeding the warning, we set up the tents and they set up their rods. Two hours after they came back complaining. I, on the other hand, was enjoying photography and a hot tea.
When the rest of the gang joined us in the evening, sitting around a bonfire, the conversation became about techniques and baits — things which were foreign to me.
Five of them would eventually head back out to the edge of the cliff trying their luck even more. When we gathered the next morning, we saw about five fishes, some of them long eel-like ones which they said isn’t edible.
“So what now?” I said.
‘We can always go back next week,’ was the response.
Funny thing this fishing game. It requires a lot of patience which I don’t have.
And sure enough, my gang of 15 will be headed back to Fins soon. And hopefully by then, we’d go home successful bringing with us a hefty catch.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN GOING FISHING
FIND THE RIGHT PLACE
Steeper cliffs make easier fishing spots – cliffs that slope outward make it difficult to drag your fish to shore. Try find cliffs that aren’t too tall making it easier to pull in bigger fish. The bottom structure surrounding a cliff is completely different for each location, this is important and needs to be paid attention to is because it can cause snags and it matters to how much tackle one will lose during every trip.
REELS & RODS
Depending on what you’re planning of catching, some people prefer heavier 10-12’ surf poles whilst others enjoy to fight the fish on lighter tackles with shorter 7-8’ rods. This would also depend of the strength of the current and height of the tides, making adjustments according to these parameters.
TACKLE & RIGGING
The most popular rig for cliff fishing is the dropper loop rig, although it is confusing at first, it gives the angler the chance to tie their own leaders and control the length, quality and hardware of individuals rigs. In rockier or stony terrains, the torpedo sinker works better by sliding in and out of rocks and other snags whilst the pyramid sinker tends to snag more but makes it easier to plant on the bottom better (this is the better option in sandy openings)
The Carolina or sliding sinker rig allows your bait to drift around rather than be fixed to the main line allowing you to cover more water whilst dragging the bait around.
In Cliff fishing, there are many options when it comes to lures and baits, Live bait being the best choice, can sometimes be more cumbersome and expensive when compared to frozen bait or artificial lures. Good live bait options are pile worms, blood worms, grass shrimp, sand crabs, ghost shrimp, etc.
Frozen bait is also an excellent and much cheaper option which fish also seem to enjoy. Frozen squid, shrimp or small fish make good bait whilst saving you money and still landing you quality fish.
Lures are perfect for the big fish, they tend to attract a more ferocious bite and larger fish. Fishing with live bait can often get boring for those who enjoy a bit more action and exciting, for these anglers, lures are the way to go!
OF YOUR GEAR
Cliff fishing is great fun but can ruin your rods and reels along with the added attack of the salty sea water. Taking care of your gear is important, starting at cleaning. After every trip, remove all spools from your reel and run them under warm water, dousing the reel may leave water in unwanted places, slowly causing the metal to rust over time. Warm water cleans off salt much better, a little bit of soap also helps but simply wiping down the rest of the reel with a dampened cloth works perfectly well!
Prepping for the day of fishing only to land there at a bad times seems like a trip gone bad, so to avoid disappointment, be sure to check when the tides come in and plan your trip accordingly. Reaching your destination only to find the tide going out with not much of water or fish can be avoided with a little bit of extra research.