Who introduced you to fly fishing?
My grandfather, Kenneth Fox introduced me to fly fishing in South Africa at the age of 6 using split cane rods. He was originally from England and fished Norway and Scotland extensively for Salmon and was part of a management syndicate that ran the fishing for Tulchun Estate River Spey. So fly fishing has been a part of my life since an early age and was lucky to have learned from one of the best.
Can you tell us a little about your home waters and the fish you pursue there?
We are based in Dubai and have operations in Dubai and Oman targeting a wide variety of species. We have been very lucky to have started the first fly fishing operation in the region and discovered amazing species from Queenfish in Dubai to Milkfish and GTs in Oman. The cultures, experience and the sheer number of fish species we have is incredible.
What's the height of the season for you? What time of year is your personal favorite?
Our season starts in September and runs through to June. We live in the Middle East and desert so summer is extremely hot and shuts down our fishing. My personal favorite time is most probably October and April, this is when the weather is amazing, skies blue, water clear and fish are in good numbers and hungry!
What are your favorite travel destinations? What's on the bucket list?
We are lucky to be situated in the middle of the Planet and with Emirates airlines flying to 120 destinations Worldwide the World is literally our oyster. For me Alphonse in Seychelles is one of my annual trips every January, we call this our annual trip of a lifetime! The place is truly one of the greatest fly fishing experiences you could ever hope to have! The second annual trip is to Osen Gard in Norway to fish for salmon, green mountains, clear running water, green fields, it is a sensory overload! Plus there are salmon......
What do you like most about Thomas and Thomas rods? Which rods do you fish?
I have been lucky enough to have fished a lot of brands and when I started fishing the new Exocett range of rods I had finally found the rod that suits me as a fisherman and provides the important link to the heritage, etiquette, and traditions of fly fishing that I want to be associated with. In this day and age when everything is outsourced, made in big factories, it is refreshing to work with a company and be part of the family of tradition craftsman skills to make a rod that is technologically fantastic and fishes extremely well in our waters.
What's your current go-to fly?
We use mainly clousers in Dubai for the queenfish, we have developed a custom clouser with Flyz Inc for our waters. It is a sparsely tied fly with limited flash and works like a bomb in our waters. My favorite fly has to be a 10/0 Reaper Popper for GTs tied by Alec Gerbec. The thing makes a huge noise, is awesome to fish and you know if a fish comes up it is going to be a sea beast!
Other than fly tackle, what piece of gear do you find indispensable?
find the best luggage solution and set up for trips. But I think my best piece of kit which is very simple and cheap is the windless Bouz Lighter from Japan. This you can burn off tag ends on knots, light a clients cigar, light a BBQ on a remote beach, it is something that every time I use it makes me happy!
My favorite thing about guiding is:
As the years have gone by and I learnt and experienced the joy of putting a client onto a fish that he wants so bad and have a great experience that I know will last for a lifetime, this is for me is truly special, I know I have made a difference in someone's life and I know I have made a friend for life!
From the angler’s point of view, what do you see as the main value of going on a guided trip?
I would never go on a big trip to a destination I do not know and not use a guide. I want the best possible chance at catching the best possible fish in that area. A guide provides you years of experience, local knowledge, logistics, infrastructure etc to enable you to just walk onto a boat and get straight into fishing. You spend a lot of time, money away from work and family, why would you waste your valuable time trying to figure something out in a destination you don't know to save a few bucks! Use a guides knowledge and experience, it is worth every cent!
What can new fisherman expect to get out of a guided trip? My favorite thing to teach a client is ...
We get to introduce a lot of new fly fishers to the sport being Dubai is a new fly fishing destination and a lot of interest in fly fishing. But my favourite thing to teach new clients is that fly fishing is a lifestyle, no matter what walk of life you are from, when we are on the water we are all the same, we are all living for the experience,for the excitement and this you need to carry through to every part of your life, be an outdoor person, enjoy the environment, enjoy getting away from modern life with all the stress, electronics and do something that will provide a positive experience.
What's your ideal lunch when on the water? What do you actually pack?
Lunch on the boat in Oman and remote trips is usually sandwiches, fruit, and some chocolate to get some sugar into the body to keep the engines going! For Dubai, we are very lucky and will have lunch at one of the amazing restaurants on the water, so anything from foie gras to burgers to salads.
What fly fishing blogs/magazines do you read regularly?
We don't get any fishing magazines in Dubai so we rely on social media to follow the fly fishing industry, especially Instagram and then read online mags, but some of the mags I enjoy are The Drake, The Mission Fly Mag, Fly Fisherman, Catch Magazine.
When I'm not fishing you'll find me:
When I'm not fishing, you'll find me planning the next fishing trip at home making a braai (BBQ) with friends and enjoying Dubai.