Summer is knocking on the door.

This season kicked off with good spikes in water temperature only to quickly shoot back down with the onset of the next cold front. The typical unsettled spring activity we experienced has now passed and we have good temps holding throughout the harbour. Loads of baitfish are prominent around key points with piper being the real standout – given these are regarded as kingfish candy it’s no surprise to see big sprays of bait getting chased around.

Scott sector, fly rod, fishing, salt water fly, guide, New Zealand, Tauranga, collingwood
The new Scott Fly Rods Sector is living up to its award winning label.
kingfish, flats, salt water fly, nz, Tauranga, ray riders
A nicely conditioned Kingfish that fell victim to a large well placed fly.

Stingrays are settling into their flats and the subsequent Ray riders are hanging on for the ride around the harbour. Whether they’re busting bait, snacking on flounder or sniffing about diggings they’ll take anything thrown at them currently, provided the presentation is on the money and the dreaded trout strike doesn’t creep in. Spending time staked out on the flats with the aid of the Minn Kota Talon has been great when you’re sitting in prime kingfish real estate, something I’m definately doing a lot when you feel it’s worth hanging about for some action to cruise past.

Minn Kota Talon, kingfish, flats, salt fly, fishing, boat, guide, charter, sea
Parked up waiting for the party to arrive.
Lamson Cobalt, Scott sector, kingfish, salt water fly, charter, guide, boat, flats, fly rod, fly reel, New Zealand, harbour
The Lamson Cobalt and Scott Sector are no match for the New Zealand Kingfish.

The entrance has seen some really good fishing also, with sessions of multiple fish coming to the boat, most of them making it into the net but some being just to smart or strong to make the full trip alongside. This bodes well for the next few months as fish transition into the harbour to cause havoc amongst the baitfish. There’s some big fish among them, so we’ve had the Scott Sector 10 and 12’s rigged for the chance of a bigger model.

King fish, snapper, fishing, fly rod, New Zealand, salt water, guide, charter boat, sea fishing
Putting the hurt on a good fish trying to hit some structure nearby.

Speaking of bigger fish there’s a few groups about the harbour that tend to follow the mullet schools around, it would seem they only eat once every day or three but when they do it’s pandemonium. It’s either a case of a big 6/0 semper styled fly on the 12 or a small snack on the 10 weight depending on the feeding vibe present. These fish are smart and really frustrating but the action they’ve provided over the years has been nothing short of heart stopping.

Kingfish, yellowtail, amberjack, permit, bonefish, salt water fly fishing, New Zealand
Even the smaller specimens will grab a bigger offering, often beating the bigger fish to the fly.

 

With all this life firing up it’s the perfect time to be chasing kingfish in the shallows, soon the Pohutukawa flowers will bloom and provide some of the most stunning backdrops the harbour has. We have dates available for December so if you want to come and tussle with some thugs drop us a line now. lucas@kingtidesaltfly.com

King Tide – A year on

It’s been a solid year since we put our latest boat on the water last December, there have been numerous voyages with clients, family and friends all enjoying the fit out during that time. What strikes me the most is how little I have done to change it, all the hard work and planning over the years showing just what is needed, or in a few cases, not needed onboard. The boys at FC Boats have done a great job on all the custom items, in particular the casting deck. Their ability to turn an idea into a functional item and work within restrictions and other curve balls showcase just how dedicated they are to their craft, the fact that no major work has been needed after purchase highlights this point. As expected with lots of custom work a few required tweaks here and there are always going to show up in the first few runs, thankfully these were facilitated within a tight timeframe.

King Tide Salt Fly, fly fishing, salt water, kingfish, snapper, trout, New Zealand

Since I hate unboxing reviews here’s a quick take on how things have performed over the year to this point.

Mercury 115 CT – this has been a solid workhorse, easily passing 200 hours of service without fault. Often pushing along some bigger loads with more gear and anglers I doubt I’ve heard it complain, it probably just growls a little more.Mercury marine, outboard, New Zealand, Tauranga, fishing boat, fc Boats, salt water

Minn Kota Talon – I was more than impressed from the minute this was added and have used it far more than I originally thought. Often clients don’t even know it’s deployed, neither do the fish. Being able to pull up to a dead stop at the push of a button is invaluable, especially for novice salt fly anglers trying to work out distance perception on moving targets.shallow water, talon, anchor, Minn Kota, king tide, salt water fly fishing guide

 

Minn Kota – really glad I went and slightly overspec’d this as we charge around the flats often and the current when fishing markers makes it work that bit harder than most other users in a day. Battery usage has never gone below half the supply voltage and recharge time is negligible between trips.Humminbird, solix, link, Minn Kota, talon, New Zealand, boat, fishing, salt water, fly rod, fishing guide

Humminbird Solix12 – Coming from a background of visually spotting fish these units have lit up my underwater surroundings. Infact they’re so good we put the original one on the bow and added a new Solix12 G2 with MEGA+ imaging to the console then networked them together. Having the bow mounted screen now gives me an extra vantage point and recently highlighted how allowing clients to visualise what they have on offer gives them the extra motivation to keep casting.FC Boats, Humminbird, solix, mega imaging, salt fly fishing boat,Kingfish, sounder, fish finder, side imaging, humminbird, solix

The “One Boat Network” that Humminbird is now rolling out is phenomenal, having the ability to control multiple facets of electronics from the screen is huge. Whether I want to operate the Minn Kota from the virtual remote (even steering it with your toes from the bow screen) , deploy/retrieve the Talon, plus the whole host of other compatible components that can be added into the mix.

U-Dek – A year on and it’s still looking good, despite the constant foot traffic its holding up really well. This is probably because its so easy to clean and can take a bit of punishment day in, day out.u dek, decking, boat, floor, non slip, king tide, fishing guideKing Tide, salt fly, guide, fishing

JBL stereo  – We had wired the boat for sound and only just recently completed this part It’s not only good for cruising and beach parties but will get some serious use alongside the Ocean Led underwater lights to help raise those inquisitive reef dwelling Kingfish to the surface.JBL, speaker, sounds, tunes, king tide, New ZealandJBL speakers, mercury marine, outboard, fc boats, fly fishing

FC Boats – this hull is a proven winner, it’s remarkably dry for an open boat, rides exceptionally well in all manor of sea states and has the stability to rival any alloy pontoon boat in the NZ market – with an 8 degree heel test and a survey tolerance of 15 it breezes through MNZ requirements.salt water fly fishing boat, golden bay, Tauranga, kingfish, ray rider, king tide salt fly, mercury, outboard

Click here to read the original King Tide on water article.

If you would like to be a part of the fishing this Summer now is the time to get out there and into the action, simply drop us a line to secure your spot before Christmas. lucas@kingtidesaltfly.com

 

Rebel riders

Over the years New Zealand’s salt fly flats have gained huge popularity, and deservingly so. The world class fishery we have right on our doorstep is a great attraction for fly anglers traveling from near or far. With this popularity comes a few points to note in regard to ensuring the longevity of these flats last for generations to come.

The pressure these fish now face is a lot greater than a few years back, it’s not a case of simply rocking up and throwing any bedraggled creation at an easy target. Interestingly so the biggest behavioural trait I have noticed over the last few seasons is not from the kingfish but from the stingrays we often seek. These rays are incredibly clever and have been seen rebelling from the encounters we anglers present. Charging around after them only upsets them and makes them wary of our presence. While it’s hard some days not to harass them for an eat from their counterparts the smart money is on trying to keep them calm and approaching with care. Especially so when wading, those tails are equipped with some heavy artillery [don’t insert Irwin joke here, I’ve heard a lot of them over the years].

stingray, ray riders, kingfish, salt fly nz, New Zealand, fly rod, fishing guide, flats
Parting ways with a stingray that is absent of Kingfish
ray rider, flats, kingfish, New Zealand, fishing guide, Lucas Allen, fly rod, flies, salt fly
Kingfish are incredibly alert, especially when the water is shallow and this calm

Boats are fast becoming mini game vessels and the amount of electronics onboard are mind blowing. I for one am lucky to be packing some great gear onboard, hence the 150kg of batteries I carry to operate it all. Once again the rays are in the sights here, their electroreceptors are capable of picking up electrical noise in the water and consequently disturbing their day. Upon noticing this we have been shutting off any units not required to successfully hunt the flats if the rays are showing signs of altercation. My Humminbirds are my eyes underwater, and when we’re off the flats they earn their keep then. The ability to distinguish what’s happening under the surface is key to presenting flies efficiently and I’d be stuffed without them.

humminbird, side imaging, mega imaging, kingfish, New Zealand, king tide salt fly
Kingfish as viewed on Humminbird Side Imaging
kingfish, sharks, boat, king tide salt fly, humminbird, solix
Bronze whaler sharks shadowing kingfish, time to move on
Kingfish sign on Humminbird Solix
Active kingfish chasing baitfish up and down some structure seen on Humminbird Side Imaging
salt fly, kingfish, fly rod, fly reel, boat,
The stoke is real when it all comes together

Minn Kotas have opened up so many fishing possibilities for New Zealanders over the last few years, with fly fisherman being some of the early adopters. This time the rays are coping it from over zealous remote control boat drivers. Take it easy, line up the shot with the Minn Kota then try ease into the zone, better yet drift in. Maximum thrusting in close quarters is only going to upset the ray and riders, sending them scattering. If your shot is squandered try shadow the target and let them rest, position your boat in the best visible sight line for the ray and stay as far back as possible, another shot should line up shortly. If you loose them you’ll find they track in a pretty straight line if undisturbed, take a bearing or landmark they were last on and stick to that, you should find them again when the light allows, the whole time thinking of the best lay up for the boat and caster to take their shot when it comes.

kingfish, fly rod, fishing guide, salt fly, New Zealand, boat, flats fishing
Sitting back and waiting for a show on the surface gave us a point of reference to catch back up with this fish.
salt fly kingfish, flats, New Zealand, Tauranga, Collingwood,
The result of a patient game of cat and mouse.

With the addition of a Minn Kota Talon on our new build there has been a lot of time just staked out in prime fishy “real estate”, hanging about waiting for passing stingrays and fish. Picking up the composite shaft and sneaking over to intercept their path when the time arises. Another prime example of its many uses is pulling up to a stop without the need to reverse hard on our Minn Kota as the gap closes quickly. This also gives more novice anglers one less moving part to the equation and aids their perception of distance when presenting flies.

Minn Kota Talon, king tide salt fly, flats fishing, shallow water anchor, fc boats, mercury marine
Minn Kota Talon, a shallow water handbrake for your boat

Good luck out there this season, just remember to respect the fishery and most important of all have fun.

King Tide joins the Scott family

Lucas Allen - Scott Pro Staff

Recently King Tide got onboard the Scott roster alongside some bloody great fly fishos. I love a good bit of kit and these rods are no exception, constantly delivering cast upon cast and making most of our clients look good! Check the link below for the line up and a sweet range of fly sticks.

https://www.scottflyrod.com/pros/search?type=region&country=NZ

Tauranga Harbour – Salt water fly set up and tips

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.

King Tide – New guide vessel

Recently King Tide had the opportunity to create a new guide vessel for the season. Previously running an FC Boats 430 and being really happy with the hull design and performance it was a logical step to run with the same crowd. Maritime survey standards in New Zealand are pretty stringent and after some talks and planning with Ross and Max Christensen at FC we were underway with the build. From start to finish and beyond they were the consummate professionals, from late night demands to last minute decisions Max and the crew made the whole detailed process as a smooth as can be.

king tide boat
King Tide sitting pretty at home on the flats of Tauranga Harbour waiting for some kingfish to show up

At the start of 2018 I also began running another vessel on behalf of BLA. These guys distribute some of the worlds finest marine electronics and chandlery within New Zealand and Australia. Shallow water fly fishing wouldn’t be the same without them and I was glad to be adding some of these crucial tools to the spec sheet during the build.

king tide sea star steering
FC535 centre console, all the tools right at our finger tips. Humminbird Solix 12, VHF, compass, USB charger, Talon remote, throttle, sea star steering, volt meters, switches and more

Without going into too much detail I’ll give a run down on the what, why and how everything came together – if you really want to get into the nitty gritty just book a day with us and find out for yourself what makes this boat really tick, the fish catching is optional.

• FC Boats 535 centre console – Gets into the shallows easily, rides through harbour chop superbly and has one of the best surveyed stability reports for an aluminum boat of its class. Plus it’s considerably drier than other open boats, something I appreciate when being on the water regularly. This is a custom build and has a lot of extras added during the build process, the massive casting platform being the showpiece of the boat.

salt water fly fishing, boat, new zealand, fly rod, minn kota, kingfish, snapper, guide, collingwood
At 2.2m x 1.5m there’s a lot of room for movement. Plus the water tight hatches hold all manor of equipment.

• Minn Kota – it wouldn’t be the same without it. We opted for the 80lb 24v version as it’s run pretty hard on a regular basis (killing batteries sucks and I’m yet to deplete the battery past 3/4). From stalking fish to positioning clients for the best possible cast it does it all. Linked to the Humminbird sounder it creates a whole other realm of opportunity that really needs to be seen to be believed. The micro remote being my preferred pick as it’s lightweight and has just the right amount of buttons for my kingfish hunting.

minn kota, boat, fishing, fly rod, fly fishing, flats, kingfish, new zealand, tourism, USA, australia
The Minn Kota constantly wins MVP onboard. The functionality of it is almost limitless, from lining up casts to sitting on the marker posts it’s a proven performer.

Humminbird Solix 12 – MEGA imaging has opened my eyes to just what a sounder is capable of. Sure, I spot fish in the shallows with my eyes for a living but being able to replicate that in deeper water in such vivid detail is just what I needed. Using side imaging to pick fish hanging off marker poles and determine how we present to them is the difference between a good day and a great day.

humminbird solix, fishing, boat, fly fishing, salt fly, technology, kingfish, new zealand
Humminbirds MEGA imaging provides crisp, clear detail of whats happening under water courtesy of its 1.2MHz frequency range.

• Minn Kota Talon 8ft – Holy shit, it’s already made a huge stamp on my fishing applications and proven itself many times over. Being able to pin yourself to a flat and stake out an area is priceless. Seeing big kings amble up a clear sandbar made it all the much better – shame I wasn’t on the rod at that day though..! Once again paired to the Humminbird Solix I have total control from the helm or remote. No more uncontrolled drifting over approaching fish, fullstop.

minn kota talon, flats fly fishing, guide, salt water fly, kingfish, ray rider
Minn Kota Talon pins you to the shallows dead silent, giving you more time to stake out an area of interest

Mercury 115 Command Thrust – When you build a boat via a family that race ski boats and love speed it makes sense to keep them happy with motor choice. For me it was about having that little bit extra on the throttle to play with when needed. The economy and power to weight ratio saw the 115HP Command Thrust strapped to the transom without hesitation.

mercury marine, king tide salt fly, fishing boat, fishing guide
Mercury 115CT provides economical operation, low noise and pops this rig out of the hole in a flash.

• U-Dek – The spec sheet for the build stated clearly “no f*%ken checkplate” as it’s a total fly line killer. Plus standing barefoot on hard surfaces for a long time is a real ball breaker. Having custom CNC router cut decking pulls the whole boat together nicely and when wet it gets tackier underfoot, something which helps keep the H&S brigade happy.

King tide salt fly, kingfish, snapper, fly fishing guide, salt fly, new zealand, tauranga, bay of plenty
It’s like rolling out the red carpet, having to stand on this all day is almost luxury and it wont chew up fly line. Custom CNC router cutting detail includes a fish measure and King Tide Salt Fly logo

Other bits and pieces:

Hull wrap – My mate Riki at CMYK created a sleek simple wrap for the hull. It’s camo, they won’t see us coming…

Scanstrut USB Charger – dual ports and totally waterproof, perfect for an open boat and charging all manor of everyday items.

OceanLED – underwater lights, great for raising deeper pelagics when the time arises.

SeaStar steering – smooth hydraulic steering for the win.

MasterVolt AGM batteries – 5 to be precise. Roughly 170kgs of batteries means more Minn Kota firepower and less troubles with electronics.

ProMariner battery chargers – 2 of these onboard hard wired to the battery bank and simply plug into the mains. Which means less time at the end of day dealing with charging, plus they maintain and condition the whole system for you.

Icey Tec 105ltr Chilly bin – doubles as a seat. We went for the tiedown option with a clever system that is totally removable for an uncluttered rear casting area if needed.