Rods form circles in front of the room, right behind the glass windows. Butts on the floor while tips are in the air. The rods are huddled together by “height.” Some up to ten feet long. Each huddle categorizes the rod’s purpose: light tackle, jigging rods, popping, casting, spinning, trolling rods. In the middle of the room, a customer lingers on an item and calls out to the man behind the counter. Counter guy answered him. Customer then took the item and went to pay, chatting while he does, “You think the weather is good?” asked Mr. Customer. In fishing, the weather is a legitimate subject, not an awkward conversation. “Still good. Try going to The Palm, within branches. We caught some huge ones there the last time,” said counter guy. Mr. Customer smiled, said his goodbyes and left. For the next few minutes, the shop was empty except for me, Marvin - counter guy, Arlyn - his colleague, and shelf after shelf of fishing gears - a wide selection of rods, reels, baits, lures, jigs, rigs, and other paraphernalia. I call it a shop. Marvin and Arlyn call it the showroom, and for good reason.
Like so many people who grew up near the coast, Capt. Borja couldn’t resist the call of the sea. So after 12 years of working on land, he finally decided to become a seafarer, and eventually a charter operator.
Capt. Borja shares with us life on board a commercial fishing vessel and the perks of living in Basque Country.
Like most men his age, he has a day job. But unlike most men his age who love fishing, he doesn’t have to wait for the holidays to use his tackle. Neither did he wait for retirement to get his own boat. That’s the beauty of having your own charter. And he takes full advantage by sharing the fun to others, even a few fish tales which he shares below.
Where were you born? Baghdad, Iraq
He is one of the most prolific charter captains in Muscat, an excellent fisherman with excellent people skills. He’s such warm person, you can feel his enthusiasm oozing from the phone. There are captains who thrive in fishing but fails to connect with the anglers. This one can be terribly sweet to the people on board. He keeps you entertained, attends your needs, and teaches you how to work the rod and reel. He has the balance of guiding you and letting you do your own thing.
The goatee and tattoo screams “I’m rebellious.” The shaved head, sun-kissed tan, and penchant for fatigue short gives off a marine vibe. He’s been places – from Oman, across the Arabian Peninsula all the way to Egypt, then down to southern Africa. He’s been to Florida then the waters of South East Asia: from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia to Thailand.
Wild, that’s probably one way to describe him. Quite appropriate as well since he lived most of his life in the Spanish “wild coast”, literally translated as Costa Brava – a 160 km coastline from the town of Blanes (sixty minutes north of Barcelona) to the French border. This is rugged land, rocky hills and green mountains rising from golden beaches – yet another reason why we oh so love the Mediterranean.