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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/

New rig finally gets wet

It’s been a busy winter and spring for us at King Tide. The crew at FC Boats have been flat tack custom building a new FC535 centre console guide boat. A few more tweaks and we’re away for the season.

If you want to come dance on the massive new casting deck then send us a message through the contact link 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.

kingfish flies, salt water fly, rattle piper, tauranga
A handful of Kingfish candy. New Zealands kingfish find the Rattle Piper hard to resist.

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.

fly tying, piper, kingfish candy, salt water flies, new zealand, flats fishing, sight fishing, fly rod
Hustler bag of the highest grade kingfish crack.

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.

Kingfish, fly tying, salt water fly fishing, collingwood, new zealand flats fishing, fishing guide
Rattles rigged and ready for fibers to be tied in.

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.

Kingfish flies, loon outdoors, fly tying, tauranga salt fly, new zealand fly fishing guide
Rattle Piper curing after a head of Loon thin UV epoxy added.

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.Kingfish, boat, salt water fly, guide, new zealand flats, fly rod, salt water, fishingBoat side eats are the best.

Tauranga flats Kingfish summer season fires up

Recent report on the season to date in Tauranga Harbour. Ray riders, free swimmers and top water marker kingfish on fly.

It’s hard to believe we’re already into the New Year. Early season has been one of the best yet, with great sightings of ray riders and many Kingfish tagged already for the season. Proliferations of baitfish have meant you only need to stick around them for a while until the thugs turn up.

Ray riders have been their usual self, either overly enthusiastic to inhale a well placed fly or shutting up shop after a a few careful presentations. With all the holiday pressure the kingfish see it’s a good bet to try some patterns that they don’t always get thrown at them.

kingfish, salt water fly, fishing, flats, tauranga
Aggressive visual take and a stubborn shallow water fight
manic tackle project, yellowtail kingfish, salt fly, flats, new zealand
Mr Manic himself Rene Vaz with a prime flats kingfish. Also offers free involuntary ear piercing
yellow tail kingfish, nz, salt fly, flats, ray rider, poronui lodge guide
P-Mac admiring a shallow water rat prior to release
king tide salt fly, fishing, bay of plenty, best harbour, flats, trophy fishery new zealand
Anthony from Australia enjoying some father son time recently

What has been a real stand out is the numbers of fish on some markers, not to mention the size. I just wish the smaller kingfish weren’t so eager to eat flies before the bigger ones hanging deeper.

topwater, baitfish, kingfish, salt water fly fishing, bay of plenty
American angler Joseph doing the damage on some marker fish
Marker fishing, salt fly, popper, kingfish, tauranga harbour
Poronui Lodge guide Dave Wood with a nice fish off a marker
Salt water fly fishing, kingfish, casting, baitfish, king tide salt fly
Cam Forsman and Josh Gibson sneaking in a dawn raid on the marker poles.
popper, salt fly, bay of plenty, kingfish, fly fishing, new zealand
Topwater takes get the blood pumping every time

As usual clients were treated to some stunning scenery with full red blooms of Pohutukawa. A recent king tide provided some exciting casting challenges tucking flies under their branches for cruisers chasing baitfish.

Tauranga harbour, pohutukawa, christmas tree, new zealand
Pohutukawa in full bloom just prior to Christmas
Sporting life outfitters, trout fishing, fly, salt water fly fishing, flats
The Mayor of Turangi Mr Andrew Burden laying down the law on some Tauranga thugs

I had a week of relaxation over Christmas with the family and some memorable fishing included. There’s a long road ahead yet but the look on his face says it all and is something to cherish for years to come. Definitely a proud Dad moment watching a good mate help your son catch his first fish.

First fish, father son, fishing rod, new zealand, salt water fly fishing
Quinn and his kahawai. A perfect first fish to fuel the fire
Boats, new zealand, beach, fishing, family
Christmas day park ups – Aotea Harbour
stick bait, kingfish, yellowtail, fishing, harbour, new zealand
Having a sneaky stickbait prospecting for kingfish at Aotea Harbour
Aotea harbour, new zealand, rock pools, fish
Aotea Harbour rockpools, perfect for little ones to discover all sorts of marine life

Coming home to a big storm and huge dump of rain meant trip rescheduling and a bit of relearning some spots as the sand bars have shifted in places. The holiday boat traffic, pesky winds and some dumb luck has kept kingfish captures down but the shots have been there. It pays to be proficient with a good accurate cast on a breezy day. That is reinforced even more so on the hard days when one quick money shot might be the difference between glory and heart break.

kingfish, new zealand, tauranga harbour, flats, fishing
Early morning free swimmers on a glassed out harbour
kingfish, catch and release, new zealand salt water fly fishing, flats
Kana with a quick kingfish cuddle before release
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Pre Christmas refreshments during a hot bite
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The new Hatch Finatic Gen2 7+ has been doing the hard yards lately

A small bay flat I’ve recently been hunting at times has upwards of 20+ stingrays on it, mostly absent of ray riders but all it takes is for an unruly mob of kingfish to take up residence and it will be all on. Couple that with rumors of a 40kg fish caught in the entrance last week and things are looking good for the next few months of salt fly fishing in Tauranga Harbour. There’s loads of kingfish around, go out and enjoy them but remember to look after them. And don’t forget, if you want to be a part of the action this summer drop me a line via this link, you might just want to secure the last few days left of this month…