The temperature’s dropping, birds are singing and team TOAD are crawling out of their damp, air-conditioned shells into the blinding sunlight and beautiful sea breeze. And what better way to enjoy the sea than by taking a boat ride into the middle of it, and perhaps catching some fish?
It’s worth pausing a moment to mention that we at TOAD do not condone any type of senseless killing, especially not the killing of mother earth (cue background violins and nature montage), so if you’re going to head out fishing, you ought to first browse www.choosewisely.ae (and click on ‘how can I help?’) and find out what type of fish are overfished. One of your most likely catches will be Kingfish (Kanaad), which is seriously overfished; so we suggest you throw those back in if you catch any.
Eco-consciences at the ready, we were strapped into life jackets (or carried one loosely around the shoulders, in the case of our oversized editor) and barely sat down when the boat jetted off into the great blue. Once past the coastguard, our captain donned a sneaky smile and – egged on by our cheers – pushed the small craft into F1 mode. Thirty minutes of thrilling wave-smashing later we slowed down to a crawl and cast our lines – four in total, three fishing rods and a deep-sea line.
If you’ve envisioned a scene of utter tranquillity with snow-white writers holding their fishing rods and staring into the sunset (hey, why are we dressed in pink?) then you’re way off. Gone are the days where it was just you, the sea and the tranquil waves; these days you trawl for fish. Team TOAD sat back and relaxed, and waited for the lure to do its thing.
An hour later we’d forgotten all about the fish, and were busy trying to get some colour when our captain said ‘Expect something soon.’ Whether he’d seen some signs of fish, a group birds or fishermen, or was simply clairvoyant we’ll never know. But lo and behold, minutes later we got our first bite.
If you’ve never done it before (we hadn’t) reeling fish in is tricky business, but between the frantic advice of the captain and our own shrewd intellects (mostly the captain’s advice though) we managed to reel in a grand total of five large fish, and only lose one. When the fish were close to the surface (and identified as safe to fish and eat) our captain expertly snatched them up into the bought, and straight into our team cooler.
There’s something to be said about eating what you hunt, something that makes it less senseless butchering and more primal instinct. But whether it was that or the skill with which the fish was cooked, our catch did taste that much better than regular fish.
When we got back to the Hiltonia, Vasco’s restaurant was more than happy to take our fish and turn them into dinner. This set us back about Dhs75 per person, but Dhs75 seemed a fair price to pay to save our kitchens from the smell of fish, and the animals themselves from our sub-Michelin cooking skills. You can even watch the good folks as Vasco’s work on your catch, and they’ll throw in some steamed veggies and basmati rice to boot. All in a day’s work.
Fishing trip costs Dhs750, and our boat could comfortably fit five people. Cooking costs an additional Dhs75 per person. For more information call the Hiltonia Beach Club on 02 681 1900.