If you’re in the market for the best sport fishing in the Middle East, head to Oman. Straddling the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, this is one place where you can literally hook into gamefish left and right! Local waters are teeming with Tuna, Sailfish, Wahoo, and Giant Trevally, along with a variety of Snappers and Groupers. Spend a little time in Oman fishing for the likes of these, and you’ll soon forget you’re anywhere near the desert. Oman has no shortage of fishing spots, and you’re likely to find decent angling at almost any time of year no matter where you cast your line. That being said, a few places stand out from the rest and come highly recommended by avid anglers. Here’s a brief run-down of Oman’s hottest fishing spots from north to south. Dibba is located at the northern tip of the country, separated from the majority of Oman by the eastern end of the UAE. This city less than 2 hours north of Fujairah is one of the region’s finest fishing destinations. Anglers here fish the Gulf of Oman year-round for Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish, King Mackerel, Giant Trevally, Grouper (Hamour), and Emperor Bream (Sheri).The first half the calendar year tends to produce the best sport fishing.
Oman’s capital city offers excellent fishing and plenty of charters to choose from, many of them based at the Marina Bander al Rowdah. With the productive waters of the Gulf to the north and to the west, Muscat is yet another destination with year-round fishing opportunity. If you’ve set your sights on a particular species, however, the fishing here is a bit more seasonal than up north. Yellowfin Tuna are most abundant from September through May, while Mahi Mahi are biting most between May and January. When it comes to Sailfish, King Mackerel, Barracuda, and Grouper, you can count on fairly consistent action throughout the seasons.
Next up is Quriyat, a coastal city, about an hour’s drive southwest from Muscat. This is a popular spot for anglers, where you’ll find many of the same species that are swimming up near Muscat. Here, Sailfish make a more regular appearance, while the peak of Yellowfin Tuna season is slightly shorter (usually November-January). Shuwaymiyya is a coastal village on the southern coast of Oman, at the edge of the Arabian Sea. Here, the seasons are more distinct, which plays a big part in the prospects anglers can expect. A far cry from the glistening cityscape of Muscat, this village is renowned for some of the world’s finest Giant Trevally fishing. This prestigious game fish is at its peak in Shuwaymiyyah from September through May. Mahi Mahi, Queenfish, and Grouper are abundant during the same season. While you can still have good luck fishing from June through August, these months tend to be less promising.
Hasik is yet another coastal village on the south coast of Oman, about 2-and-a-half hours from Salalah. After Shuwaymiyyah, this town offers some of the best GT fishing Oman has to offer (September-April). Other gamefish in these waters include Bluefish, Jobfish, Black Bream, and Grouper. Ideal fishing conditions last from September through April, when the weather is dry. Summer months bring monsoons and the sea is often too turbulent to navigate on most days. Salalah is a scenic city in the southwest corner of Oman is a go-to fishing destination for anglers in the Middle East. The dry season (October-May) is the best time to go fishing in Salalah, when you’ll find a wide variety of fish at their peak–from Tuna and Barracuda to Spangled Emperor. Some species like Mahi Mahi, King Mackerel, and Wahoo continue biting year-round, but monsoon season makes it difficult to head offshore in summer.
Oman has two main airports with international air service, in Muscat and Salalah. Once you arrive, you can get around using buses that are operated by the National Transportation Company. If you plan to travel by car, renting a vehicle is recommended rather than hiring a taxi, since many cabs are unmetered and drivers are known to charge arbitrarily high prices for visitors. Be sure to negotiate a price with the driver before getting in if you decide to take a taxi. You also have the option to travel to some towns by sea. The National Ferries Company operates boats from Muscat, Khasab, Shinas, Lima, Shannah, and Masirah. You’re likely to see many speed boats for hire in smaller towns along the coast, but these are not always operated by legitimate businesses and are likely to have substandard onboard safety.
In recent years, the government of Oman has taken steps to better regulate recreational fishing. When fishing from shore, you do not need a license, but you are required to carry one when fishing from a boat. Many Oman fishing charter operators have licenses which cover the entire boat and all passengers on board, so you don’t usually need to buy a license when you book a trip with a charter captain. Always confirm this ahead of time so you come prepared. Most charter captains in Oman offer standard half day (5 hours) and full day (8-10 hours) packages. In some cases, you will find trips which specialize in specific techniques, such as jigging, popping, trolling, and bottom fishing. In general, you can expect to pay between USD $500-$700 for a half day trip and $850-$1,300 for a full day trip. Multi-day packages with lodging are popular among charter operators in small towns, especially those which are several hours away from big cities. Overnight fishing packages vary widely in price, depending on the size of your group, how long you plan to stay, and where you are fishing.
Visiting anglers will recognize many of the techniques used in Oman, from jigging and popping to trolling. Popping for Giant Trevally is a favorite among anglers on the south coast, while jigging is a popular way to catch Longtail Tuna, Amberjack, Mahi Mahi, and more. Bottom fishing produces Snapper, Grouper, Queenfish, and other species below the surface. Some anglers spearfish for Barracuda, King Mackerel, Rainbow Runner, and bottom fish. No matter how you hook into your next catch here, Oman is sure to end up on your list of top fishing experiences!