Fishing in United Arab Emirates

In the shadows of some of the most futuristic skyscrapers of the world you can catch some of the most popular fish.
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About United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates have access to waters that count as some of the most marine biodiversity-abundant in world - the Arabian (a.k.a Persian) Gulf on the western coast of the country, and the Gulf of Oman on the eastern. Both belong to the aquatory of the Indian ocean, but significantly differ from each other. The Arabian Gulf is more shallow and warm, while the Gulf of Oman is deeper and more promising for big-game fishing enthusiasts. Fishing here is an ancient tradition and an inalienable part of local lifestyle. Commercial fisheries and hi-tech fish farms provide for the market - no nation in the Middle East eats more fish and seafood per capita - and recreational fishing is also well developed. The Emiratis and the expats alike enjoy the opportunity to rediscover their ties with nature with the help of fishing, and even many companies hire fishing-charters for team-building events. You can have a good time fishing in the United Arab Emirates at any time of the year, but overall the winter months are to be preferred. Starting with the fact that the weather in the winter is much more pleasant, summer heat makes the fish migrate to the deeper layers of the water column, while in the winter the fish is found closer to the surface - and is more active at that. The king mackerel arrives at the local shores at about September and leaves in March, and queenfish, groupers and trevally take the bait more readily in the winter, too. Fishing for sailfish and mahi-mahi, by contrast, is believed to be better in the summer.

Fishing Types

As the United Arab Emirates have hardly any rivers, and only one man-made lake created out of purified waste water, the fishing in the country is invariably saltwater, offshore and nearshore. Fishing from the shore is mostly practiced by local residents, while tourists and expats typically use the services of captains and charter boats. Massive shore development around the nation’s bigger cities resulted in the creation of numerous artificial reefs, which offer excellent opportunities for reef fishing.

Targeted Fish Species

The seas around the United Arab Emirates are inhabited by literally hundreds of species of fish. Some of those have a special significance to both locals and tourists. One of those is the orange-spotted grouper, known locally as hamour. Another is king mackerel, whose migration is one of the most significant happenings on the local fishing calendar. There are also a number of emperor (sultan) fish species, and the barracuda, red snapper, queenfish, cobia, trevally and groupers are also abundant. In the Gulf of Oman recreational anglers target big-game pelagic fish such as mahi-mahi, and the location is considered to be one of the world’s best for sailfish.

Fishing Techniques

The fishermen of the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman have developed a number of unique fishing techniques, those, being of the fish trap variety, are not used in sport fishing. Your fishing trip in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Fujairah will call for the habitual methods used by fishing charters all over the world. Bottom fishing, either with dead bait such as squid or with lures in the form of jigging is the most common fishing technique, and large companies of inexperienced anglers are likely to be treated with the simple fun of handline fishing. Trolling is no less popular, with heavy tackle and large lures used to catch fish as big as mahi-mahi. One local tip for fishing in the UAE is that the blazing sun of Arabia has a similar effect on fish as on humans: both are naturally attracted to shade. Therefore, shore anglers have an excellent time fishing under the bridges, and charter captains look under trophy pelagic species in the vicinity of supertankers!