If you want some info on what we use in Tauranga Harbour chasing Ray rider kingfish on salt water fly gear then peep the video below. Our season here is nearly done, don’t forget to secure your space for next year by flicking a message to the link here.
Leftys Loop Knot instructional video
We recently teamed up with the good buggers at Manic Tackle Project for a weekend of fishing. In-between all that I sat down and went over some basic set ups and preferred knots. Take a quick look at one of the strongest salt water fly fishing loop knots and a few tips to tie it crispy clean every time.
For a few other loop knot options jump back to a test we ran a few years back here.
The Rattle Piper
Wondering what flies to use on New Zealands flats Kingfish? The Rattle Piper takes its fair share of Kingfish every season.
Like it or not a bit of acoustic burley can really fire up most pelagic game fish, particularly our New Zealand Yellowtail Kingfish.
The Rattle Piper came about as a way of trial and error, much like most flies out there. Nowadays I prefer grey over off white and mostly tie them in the average sizes found in Tauranga Harbour (approximately 180-200mm). It represents piper, otherwise known as gar and also nick named kingfish candy by local livebaiters. Click this link for a previous post on piper. Something I picked up while livebaiting one night was their tendency to click, this noise is yet another trigger within the fly and should not be overlooked.
I tried adding rattles to my flies years ago with varying success. Glass ones kept smashing and I needed a way to tie them in stronger, quicker and stay inline. The plastic variety and some heat shrink now being preferred options for longevity and ease of use. Other triggers I’m a firm believer in are the slightly exaggerated eyes, two toned colour scheme, some red under the chin and the little orange UV spot at the end of their beak. This beak also adds some length to the fly and enables the fibers to be kept rearward, supported by the rattle they tend to tail wrap less in this manor.
The noise created can be amplified or dimmed depending on retrieve. Quick stop/start strips will see the bearings hit the back then roll forward as the epoxy head dives on the pause. Or for a more subtle action keep a steady pace and the balls will stay back yet still create enough noise to be picked up by nearby lateral lines. At times just the commotion of it hitting the water will induce an eat so be ready from the get-go. Especially if there’s some competition for the fly amongst kingfish.
Thankfully for you these are now available via Manic Tackle Project at most good fly fishing stores. Go pick a few up and try them out on our mossy backed, yellow tail thugs. You might just enjoy teasing them into a savage boat side eat that will be etched in your mind for years to come.Boat side eats are the best.
Early season flats Kingfish tips
Early season salt water fly fishing on New Zealand’s flats can be equally as frustrating as it is rewarding. Numbers of kingfish are moving back into the harbour, rejoining the resident winter fish and hounding the increasing local baitfish populations.
Challenges come in many forms at this time of the year. From terrible light to fussy fish there’s a hundred excuses for having a hard day. I’ve compiled a list of annoyances and ways to combat them while chasing our kingfish and other salt water species on fly. There’s always more than one way to skin a cat so don’t write previous failures off as a lost cause, just claim them as fine tuning your approach.
Spring winds: A real pain in the fly anglers arse.
- Seek out sheltered areas for early morning shallow water bow waves.
- Fish don’t mind the wind, plus it hides a boat nicely. Scan the backs/fronts of waves and use these as windows into the water.
- Practice casting over winter. Short, long and quick direction changes are all called for at some stage – often under pressure.
- Watch wind vs tide when navigating channels. Especially so on spring tides, it can get real ugly real quick.
- Check the weather forecasts. Plan for the best, prepare for the worst.
- Practice casting some more. Even better in a strong breeze.
Lighting: There one minute, gone the next.
- Find shelter (trees, cliffs, sand banks) either as a backdrop or to provide calm water to give kingfish disturbances away.
- Low light polarized sunglasses are a huge plus for tough light conditions. Check out Smiths Low Light Ignitors they are a deal breaker.
- When that one little patch of light is coming you better be ready to scan 360 degrees and read as much water as possible before the light shuts down again.
- Try to keep whatever light you have at your back.
- Don’t be afraid to cast at a lot of “is that, um, maybe, nah, yeah” shapes. When they light up with fish you’re in for a lot of fun.
Kingfish and flies: Put them together and you’re halfway there.
- Kingfish have arrived in the harbour with the influx of baitfish. As a rule of thumb flats Kingfish in really shallow love small generic crustacean/baitfish patterns. Kingfish in water deeper than 6ft typically get offered bigger baitfish and “noisy” flies.
- Stake out structure and areas of baitfish congregation. Soon enough you’ll be rewarded, although it could take some time!
- If light is good then cover some ground hunting for black stingrays. Sometimes they’re at the other end of the flat from the day before.
Fighting kingfish on fly: Your first kingfish for the season might just get the better of you.
- Be ready for action at all times. With each strip you should be willing an eat from any nearby fish.
- When they hit, you hit them. Do it quick and make it count. Do NOT trout strike!
- Keep your rod high and line short. Sea lettuce accumulation is a nightmare, even more so when riding solo. It should lessen in the coming months but can be a major pain over spring.
New Zealand salt water fly fishing intel: It’s all at your fingers tips, but best acquired with a rod in your palm.
- Looking at a computer only gives you a certain degree of knowledge. There is nothing more rewarding than getting out there and doing the hard yards yourself, plus you can’t spot a fish staring at your phone screen.
- Time on the water is crucial and should never be undervalued no matter the result.
- Why are you still reading this, go forth and conquer, or maybe go work on that casting.
Fish City Hamilton Salt water fly night
Don’t forget if you’re around Hamilton this coming Thursday 16th of November there will be a talk on all things salt water fly fishing in New Zealand.
Big thanks to Fish City Hamilton and Manic Tackle Project.
Snags and beers on the go. Kick off 1830, see you there.