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.

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.

That’s a wrap

That’s a wrap. A term used to signify the closure of an event or season. But since Tauranga’s season doesn’t seem to be quite over I’ll apply the phrase to those pesky tail wraps some larger fly patterns tend to acquire. 

Over time my top fly patterns have been developed and adjusted to suit the many factors required in everyday fishing. To me durability, practicality, castibility and some other key assets are always top of the pile. 

Tail wraps are a (insert cuss word here). While they can’t always be avoided they can be mitigated during the tying process and best avoided with some slick casting. 

Something I’ve found key is to build an internal core that will support the more supple fibers without compromising movement. Faux Bucktail is now a firm favourite for this task. A few thread wraps tucked under the fibers near the bend or solely around the fibers themselves adds to the value. 

Faux Bucktail, the best thing since sliced bread
SF fibers perched upon Faux Bucktail ready for more layers

Building heads that hold their shape also allows the fly to keep itself in order. Anything more than a third of total length may prohibit action so be mindful of this and also not restricting the gape of the hook. 

I’ve been a huge fan of Loon Soft Head for this purpose for a long time, recently I’ve tried Plastidip also and found this to be just as good. Although it takes a while to prep and better suits finer material. A light head of Senyos Lazer Dub will be enough to cover the other synthetics nicely and bind the adhesive better. 

The water pushing head and initial air trapped inside the front cone will get the attention of any super predators nearby. Nothing says eat me like the noise of a bubble trail. 

Masked eye and hook ready for a spray

There’s other tricks out there also such as building mono tail guards and using shorter tails so it is really a case of finding what suits your fly. Another quirky trick I picked up while twiddling a fly cruising the flats is the dreadlock theory. As most of the flies I tie and use are synthetic they can be twisted at the tip to lock the fibers up a little and stop wayward hook wraps

Dreadlock the tips, great time killer while on the water
Finished product ready to swim

With all these things now going in your favor it leaves more time for fishing and less time untangling or even worse throwing twisted, matted flies away. 
The countdown is on for the new season now, although there’s still a few to be caught between low pressure systems. With 16c water and lots of bait it comes as no surprise there’s still a few stragglers about. 

Senyos Laser Dub Review

For a few years now I have been sourcing various fly tying materials from Matt at Taupo Rod & Tackle. The man sure knows his stuff and is more than happy to track down stock in a flash (no tinsel related pun intended).

So when a parcel arrives at your house full of goodies you naturally put thoughts to hooks and the fluff starts to fly. This time around I had some Senyos Laser dub to play with. This stuff is as versatile as it comes whether using as a dub or stacking it like deer hair. It can also be clipped to make tight shaped heads and bodies. In fact you are only really limited by your own imagination. 

What really sets it apart from other similar products is the look it has in the water, the fine sinuous fibers have amazing translucency even when packed hard to form a bulky water pushing head. You can tie it as sparse or dense as you like but I found smaller, more frequent applications when stacking to be favoured. especially when blending various colours. 

Although I have had zero time on the water of late (establishing a business ain’t easy) I was impressed with the water shedding capabilities when a few test run flies came out of the sink. Any remaining water will be displaced on the back cast easily enough, leaving a fly with its originally intended weight to throw. Perfect for long days on the water waving the wand. 

You can get hold of Matt via his website


Slim head bait fish. Swims with an enticing kick
Piper variation #63. Kingi candy on the flats
Fat head baitfish – lead eyes
Bunny + Chartreuse = Spring Snapper

As you can see the red is particularly good for blood. Just another trigger to consider when tying. Nothing says eat me like a flared gill plate. 

An eye for detail

Since  I have had minimum time on the water over the last month (work, baby, bad weather, work, work… repeat) I figured best to write something that is the next best thing to time on the water. Prepping for fishing trips is a very close second, especially when Winter is making itself present.

Call me slightly OCD but I have a thing for tying flies with a fair bit of attention to detail. Maybe not quite the levels of some hyper-realistic flies, who really has time to tie those Picasso pieces? It’s something I find gives me more confidence while fishing them, especially when the days are tough and the fish not as Kamikaze as you’d like. Eyes are definitely a major trigger for most of my salt water flies

Eyes are a deal breaker. Picture a fleeing baitfish, eyes wide as a predator closes the gap in pursuit, the predator keyed on dinner. They’re both watching each other, looking for clues as to each others movements. Many good fisherman also understand these subtle body gestures and use them as an indication themselves. Liken it to a first date, something I’m out of touch with but if my memory serves me right you can read a fair deal from eye movement and whether or not you’re getting lucky.

There’s such a vast array of options from homemade works of art to mass produced sheets of pupils. It’s really up to the fly makers imagination. Personally I prefer function and durability when using them, most of the time bound under a coating of resin. The flies and eyes below are just the tip of the ice berg and the options are limited only by creativity.

So next time you’re tying or even better on the water stop and give them a thought. It may be the difference between a donut day or a damn good day.

Fish Skull weight and eye combo
Fish Skull weight and eye combo
Crease fly with classic holographic pupil
Crease fly with classic holographic pupil
Tube Squid fly with light weight plastic moulded eyes.
Tube Squid fly with light weight plastic moulded eyes.
Piper eyes buried under resin
Piper eyes buried under resin
Tungsten dumbbell eyes
Tungsten dumbbell eyes
Floating booby with rattle doll eyes
Floating booby with rattle doll eyes
Lightly weighted shrimp
Lightly weighted shrimp