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.

 

 

King Tide Salt Fly Rattle Popper x Manic Tackle Project

Another essential fly for targeting Kingfish on top water. The humble crease fly with a few twists. Check out Manics article below on a few key construction points and how to fish it. www.manictackleproject.com/king-tide-salt-fly-rattle-popper/

Busting Loops 

That fly you’ve spent an age tying to get the most out of in the water is now ready to tie on. Let the loop knot debate begin…

best kingfish flies, baitfish, salt water fly, fishing, new zealand, rattle piper
A rack of Rattle Piper kingfish flies ready for action.

If you’re after unrestricted movement then it’s really hard to go past loop knots. There’s  a few to choose from, each with their own merits. Leftys, perfection, homer rhodes, open uni et al. For me I utilize a knot for each stage of set up, each one being a potential weak area to be exposed.

It makes sense to choose a knot that’s not only strong but is easy to tie. A huge bust off, urgent fly change or rocking boat will always try to hinder your best efforts to re-tie a salt water leader. Find a knot that suits your set up requirements and test it, try other options if needed. Then learn to tie it opposite handed, behind your back, blindfolded and as fast as possible – this might just be the difference to connecting to a fish under pressure.

Salt fly knots
The beginnings of the graveyard of tested knots

Harking back to my school science fair days (1st place in Applied science Hawkes Bay Science Fair 1990 something) I use a simple tug of war test. A different knot is created in each end of commonly used material. These are then pulled up evenly until one fails. To keep things fair three tests are done under each configuration, one by one an eventual winner is found.

Salt water fly fishing knot test
Who’s going to win? Leftys or Perfection

Although I knew the eventual winner was always going to be Leftys loop, I mostly wanted to check which of my commonly used loop knots were a close second to retie quickly and rely on in pressure situations. This placing goes to the perfection knot, quick and easy plus it’s a good looking knot to boot. 

Interestingly was the Homer Rhodes and how it was tied. If you look at the records you’ll see 1/2, 2/1 and 2/2 listed. These were the amount of  overhand passes through each stage of the knot when tied. For example; 1/2 is a basic over hand knot to begin with and then finished with a two turn. This ended up the preferred way of tying this knot in 30lb Hatch flouro leader.

Some points to note:

  • Not all knots perform to the same extent through various weights and types of material. Nor do they behave well with other brands/types of leader material at times.
  • In order to function to their potential knots must be trialled for effectiveness prior to use. No point letting the fish show you your knot choice sucked.
  • This experiment was more for my peace of mind than to prove the exact tolerances of each knot. And also rank my top 3 loop knots in conditions I’m familiar with.
  • Sometimes knots fail, don’t cry about it – try and figure out why. Was it an old leader, had it sustained some damage, not enough turns to secure it, tag end cut too short? These are some realities of potential failure, eliminating them for next time is a valuable lesson.

Connections – Backing > Fly line

Winter is a great time to sneak out for the odd decent day of fishing but it’s also a time to service gear, prep rigs, tie flies and think about your plan of attack for the coming season. 

Something that came to light while changing fly lines recently was how many shitty backing to fly line connections I’ve seen. There’s no denying powerful fish need strong connections.  

Marc Clinch about to hear his backing knot sing.
Strong fast runs see the backing knot tested rigorously.

My flats Kingfish assemblies tend to step down from 60lb fine diameter backing to fly line (approx 35lb) and ending with around 20-30lb straight section of fluoro leader. This is to help avoid losing fly lines but also try to prohibit fish carrying excess line around if they bust free (barbless hooks should also get a mention for this reason). 

At a pinch you can double your backing and make a doubled Bimini loop. This has twin loops and is better than a single strand which can bite into a fly line.   

My favourite is to create a sleeve of braided 50lb mono and use this as the load distributor through your loop-loop connection. The steps below should get you underway and have more confidence in your connection as it sings out the guides. 

All the tools you need for this connection

  • Cut a length of braided mono to make a loop big enough to pass your reel through – this makes changing lines easier if you need.
    Braided loop should be big enough to pass reel through.
     
  • Pass backing through braided mono and leave tag end of 50cm 
  • Thread whip one end of mono. Give it a light dab of super glue and roll in fingers to absorb. 
  • Smooth the mono tightly to the other end, ensuring no slack. Repeat whipping/gluing. 
  • Now double the backing up to form your mono sleeve loop. Make the two whipped ends slightly offset – this should help taper the transition of finished knot. 
  • Plait braid back down onto the mono whipped tag ends. Start far enough up from mono ends to create a 4-5cm plait. 
  • Once you reach mono start half hitching, using opposing hitches. These should start to trap the braided mono. 
  • Work hitches down until you’ve covered previous whipping and secure tag with a rizutto finish. 
  • Cover knot with Loon soft head or similar flexible glue. 
    Tied, glued and dried. Ready for a beating.
  • Allow to fully dry, nothing worse than winding fly line on and discovering you’ve glued it to your backing knot!
  • Attach fly line by passing backing loop fully through fly line loop then passing reel through large backing loop. Finished connection should resemble a reef knot. 
    Finished loop to loop connection.

Some useful knot links. 

Plait – https://youtu.be/2uUWS7dzOn0 NB: stop at 1:20 mark, don’t use finishing knot in video. Start hitching instead. 

Rizutto finish – https://youtu.be/H09wT8r8dC8

King Tide Salt Fly – Autumn 2017 Wrap up

Short edit of some Autumn salt fly action in Tauranga Harbour, New Zealand

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Seems adding another child to the litter makes time slip away all to easily. We’re winding the season down now with water temps dropping almost half a degree daily at some stages. The fishing has been really good with most clients scoring multiple fish and having shots at plenty more.

I’ve knocked a clip together of some of the last 6 weeks highlights. From epic sunrises to masses of tailing kingfish and the hectic, stubborn fights that follow. Please excuse some of the shaky camera work – guiding, filming and operating a vessel at the same time all present their own challenges!

Lastly, if you want to be apart of this next season then drop me an email here. I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy,

Lucas