Fd: When did you start fly fishing? Could you tell us about your memories from those times?
Clare: I started fishing when I was around 5 years old. I have wonderful memories of warm summer evenings spent with my dad practicing to cast a fly on our lawn. During the weekends he would take me down to the Test river in Hampshire, England to catch trout. By the age of 7 I was exploring the river on my own and totally hooked on fly fishing.
Fd: What can you tell us about fly fishing in Oman?
Clare: Oman is an amazing place to fish, its so rugged and untouched with so many thousands of kilometres of coastline to explore. Our season runs from October to May and we fish from two locations. The first is boat based where you can target both inshore and offshore species. From drifting the secluded bays and beaches along the coast in search of Bluefish, Bream, Africanus (one of 2 species of permit we have here) and multiple Trevally to fishing the reefs for Amber Jack and GT’s. Then chasing bait balls being annihilated by queen fish and Tuna or trolling the drop off in search of pelagic such as Dorado and Billfish. There are so many species to target and all with the drop off so close (a few hundred meters in places) to the shore you can do it all in a day!
Fd: What is your favorite saltwater specie? Why?
Clare: Oh that’s such tough one. It depends on my mood I think. If I am fishing from shore then nothing compares to the stealth and cunning that you need for Indo Pacific permit. If I am wading the flats then the rush you get from a meter plus GT charging you and inhaling your fly as it reaches the end of your rod is second to none. If I want arial displays and a mental and physical battle then it has to be large billfish on fly!
Fd: How did you become a professional fly fishing guide?
Clare: I would say I am more of a fly fishing fanatic than a guide. Since starting our company Arabian Fly Sport Fishing here in Oman I do guide for permit occasionally but I leave most of the guiding to my husband Brandon…..this way I get to fish a lot more in my off time as he has to guide me hahahaha.
Fd: When you visit new waters: Do you prefer to be guided or fish on your own?
Clare: Although I do love to explore and often spend a few days in each location that I go to doing some DIY I think it is really important to support local businesses, hotels and guides that have dedicated their time to learning the waters around them so that their clients get the best out of their days on the water. I know from experience the blood sweat and tears that goes into setting up a fishing business. Turning up in a country with a rod and a tent hoping to catch the ultimate prize fish does nothing to help that country or its community.
Fd: Which spots and species are in your bucket list?
Clare: I would love to go back and spend more time in Australia, the saltwater experience we had there fishing with Jono Shales in Exmouth was outstanding.
I would also love to do a dedicated billfish trip on fly but I haven't decided where yet.
Species wise….it has to be my nemesis fish, the sail fish…..they just do not want to play with me at all!
Fd: What does fly fishing mean for you?
Clare: An escape to my own private paradise, it fills my heart with happiness and makes me feel sane in a world of craziness. It’s meeting new people and being with the ones I love. A chance to get to be part of nature and walk where no one else has been before.
_Thank you, Clare!