Dubai On The Fly- A Behind The Scenes Look

T&T Ambassador, Captain Nick Bowles, Owner of Ocean Active Fishing, takes us to one of the world's most interesting fisheries in the F3T feature film Dubai On The Fly.  Dubai, located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf is known for its iconic skyscrapers, luxurious hotels, 5 star restaurants, and rich Middle Eastern culture. While Dubai is known for many things, fly fishing has not always been one of them. Giving a new meaning to the term "urban angling" the waters surrounding Dubai are filled with an abundance of aquatic life. Among the more desirable species to target on the fly are queenfish, kingfish, barracuda, golden trevally, orange spotted trevally, and cobia. There aren't too many fisheries that allow you to chase such a wide variety of fish in such a small concentrated area and with the some of the world's most astounding architecture in the background.

Nick uses the Exocett series to tame Dubai's wild locals...

Nick Bowles T&T Ambassador holds a big queenfish caught in Dubai.

Queenfish are one of the targeted trophies while fishing in Dubai's waters.

You might be wondering how someone lands such a dream gig in one of the world's most interesting places and how the idea for Dubai On The Fly came about. In the interview below, Nick gives us a look into his world.

How did you find your way to Dubai?

I was living and working in London when my then girlfriend now wife joined Emirates Airlines and moved to Dubai. A year later I joined her in Dubai. Initially, I had to Google Dubai and Google Fishing in Dubai! Saw the weather was warm and there were a lot of fish to catch and booked my ticket! 16 years later, two kids and a fishing business it was the best move we ever made!

What sets Dubai apart from other fly fishing destinations around the world?

Dubai is what sets Dubai apart from the rest of the Worlds fly fishing destinations. It is truly unique in so many ways; firstly it is in the Middle East, it is in the center of the World and accessible from anywhere. Then you are fishing the biggest man-made reefs in the World with the Palm and World Islands. Our fishing is half day, and then the rest of the day you can go up the biggest Building in the World, stay in the Worlds Tallest Hotel, Snow ski, desert safaris or chill out at one of the 5 star hotels or water parks. Dubai is truly an adults Disneyland!

How did you first become involved with T&T? 

Being South African I have been lucky enough to have great friends in the Industry including Keith Rose-Innes who at the time was testing out and helping with the design of the Exocett range. The rods sounded truly incredible, and I wanted a piece of the action. Keith introduced me to Neville Osmond, and we got on like a house on fire, and as they say, the rest is history. One of the most amazing parts of getting involved with T&T it is like a family you are getting into a relationship with people, not just a rod. 
How is T&T viewed as a brand across the world in Dubai?
T&T has had a huge revival, and we see a lot of clients fishing T&T but also interested in the brand, tradition, and philosophy behind the brand. T&T is viewed as a high-end hand made rod, this is rare in the world of Fly Fishing nowadays with so many brands making mass production rods in China and Korea. With all the modern day consumerism and drive for instant gratification it is satisfying that there is a company like T&T that wants to keep old-school values and products. There is a  tradition that people buy into when they buy a T&T rod, I think it says a lot about the person wanting to have a rod that is handmade by craftsman and willing to buy into a lifestyle that will be with them for life. 

What inspired you to make a film about the fishing in Dubai?

I loved watching all the amazing fly fishing films that have been made and at ICast I had been to the Drake Awards, and I just thought it was truly fantastic what people were doing and I thought it would be great to do a fly fishing film in Dubai as Dubai is such a different place and is a thriving modern City. I thought how awesome it would be to show the fly fishing World, something totally different and a new species. No one had ever done a fly fishing film in the Middle East, all we see about the Middle East in the news is generally negative, I wanted to show what I see and experience every day, an incredible country and place with some wild fishing! So I started speaking to Jako Lucas, and he introduced me to Sarah Grigg and then to RA Beattie. I spoke at length with RA and Sarah, and a plan was hatched, and they pulled this whole film together, and the end result is the first fly fishing film in the Middle East showing queenfish on the film tour for the first time, very proud and excited to have done the film!

What was the filmmaking process like? Have you done this before? Do you have any B roll footage you'd like to share?

We have been lucky to have done about 25 different shows for TV, so I thought I knew a little bit about the process and work, but the film was a whole different level. The crew worked extremely hard and were dedicated to the film and getting the story, filming, people, etc. all correct! We had to get a lot of permissions and approvals which Dubai Tourism helped us and so in the end with all the hard work and long hours it paid off, and we got some great footage! I do have a little bit of B Roll of some of the family in Dubai explaining our story which is great and will share. ( We'll keep you posted on that B Roll footage)

How do you see the fly fishing scene and community evolving in Dubai?

A few years ago there was no fly fishing in the Middle East and Dubai, and we are very proud to have introduced fly fishing to this region, and for all the support we have received from companies like T&T, Dubai Tourism, Yellowdog, Alphonse Fishing Company, etc. This has helped us put Dubai on the International Fly Fishing map, but the great part to see if how many local people and expats are fly fishing and we have a very nice community building. As for Dubai as a destination, we are very lucky that Dubai is a travel hub with Emirates flying to 140 destinations World Wide, and bringing so many people to Dubai for tourism, events, concerts, business, etc. So Dubai is truly one of the first Global Fly Fishing destinations available to anyone.

For more information on fly fishing in Dubai head over to the Ocean Active website here, and make sure you check out Dubai On The Fly at a Fly Fishing Film Tour stop near you!


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