Few other fishing disciplines seem to draw as much of an attraction/obession to the wierdo species of the fishing world than fly fishing.. think Triggerfish, Mullet, Parrotfish, some of the weird micro species in freshwater, Milkfish etc…
Few are weirder than Gotham City’s finest, the Batfish (Platax teira). I’ve come across these things in multiple destinations and scenarios on my travels.. I’ve caught one on the flats of St.Brandons where they are commonplace all over the flats, but despite hundreds of casts at them, with a huge multitude of flies, I’ve only ever had them totally spook, or more often than not totally ignore my offerings. Except for that one I caught which turned and ate a Spawning Shrimp so confidently I thought we’d be catching dozens after that. Hundreds of casts later, over two more trips, I’ve never even seen one inspect a fly, never mind eat it..
They seem to have an affinity to Motherships the world over wherever they occur. Like Pavlov’s Dogs, they seem to know that as soon as something big and beefy anchors up in a spot somewhere, there is bound to be a few barnacles or whatever on the bottom of said vessel, as well as the ever present food train of cleaned fish carcasses tossed over board to snack on, or kitchen scraps (the not widely known biryani rice hatch being a particular favourite). Whatever the case, these dustbin lid shaped weirdos show up in numbers.
They can be frighteningly frustrating to try and target though, because despite gorging on kitchen scraps, they will usually refuse any fly thrown, even when drifted through the Biriyani Rice hatch (note to self, tie some biriyani rice patterns for the next trip!).
On the 2nd evening of our first week on Notus Temptress with No Boundaries Oman, we noticed a half dozen or so ABSOLUTE giant Bats hanging off the back deck on returning from an afternoons chasing GT’s. Now while I’ve caught a Bat, and seen thousands across the flats of St.Brandon’s and the Seychelles, these Batfish were more than double the size of anything I’d seen before.
Hawaii-based Nate Tsao, one of the fishiest fuckers you could ever imagine with an appetite for chasing pretty much anything that swims, had barely stepped on board Notus off the centre consoles when he noticed the Bats hanging just off the port side. Like a ninja Nate grabbed a fly rod, tied on a lightly weighted crab, and drifted it down to the massive brown discs sitting about 2 metres below the surface. One of these thugs swam up, snacked that crab fly without hesitation and Nate was off to the races!
It’s hard to describe just how strong these bastard things are! While the rest of us were on the top deck watching this all go down, Nate proceeded to get his ass handed to him by this Bat. After a couple circles round the boat, some tense moments around motors, hanging half his body over the gunwales when needed, as well as having to deal with much abuse from the peanut gallery, Nate finally got the upper hand and Ed slipped the landing net under this behemoth weirdo. Nate was suitably stoked, along with the rest of us. Typically, as with everything else in Oman, it was fekkin enormous.They use that huge body to the best of their advantage in the fight and with strong currents the odds are seriously stacked in their favour!
We tried for the rest of that week to tempt another one to eat a fly and not surprisingly we got given the middle finger. They would simply not look at another fly… fuckers. But I guess that’s part of their enormous attraction. They are not easy, they fight like demons, and they will have you scratching your head like the Riddler trying to figure out how to get one to eat. Yet another extremely under-rated fish worth adding to your wishlist and for me, yet another reason to go back to Oman.
I dad a chat with the rest of the Feathers crew about these buggers. A few of the boys have had some good times off the back decks of various motherships, mainly in Sudan and Seychelles, specifically at night where they definitely seem a little bolder and more keen to eat a fly. Add to this the information coming from Peter Coetzee that they seem to love the aptly named “Poo Hatch” (some of the motherships in these far flung places are pretty rudimentary set ups when it comes to the bathroom plumbing which means that the Poo Hatch is a rather common occurence). Whatever the case, it turns these fish on in a big way, with the lads getting double figures on many nights. Judging by the pictures sent, being shirtless obviously helps too.
Viva the weirdos!