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.
With all the prevailing Westerly wind we typically have over Spring I managed to find a gap between gusts and sneak out for a look at what lies ahead this season. Even this recce was windy but I managed to tuck myself away from both the wind and the world for an early morning high tide hunt. It was very enjoyable just to be back on the water with a purpose after a hard slog of swatting through Winter.
I managed to find loads of baitfish where they normally reside with the occasional big Kahawai cruising the flats. The newly added Minnkota making the job all that more easy and enjoyable. The stealth approach game has been lifted to all new levels, some of these fish were oblivious to my presence until well within a 20ft cast. I left these fish alone as the 10wt was stripped and ready, waiting for that Kingfish shot that comes and goes faster than it should.
Also of note was the big black ray that mooches around one spot was there again – which is very refreshing as he holds numbers of Kings on him at times and the first we took off him was Nov 05 last year. The Kingfish are being caught out the front and also appearing in harbour catches so in a few weeks time the water will be that little bit warmer and the flats should start to produce some great sight fishing. To say I’m getting excited is probably about right.
UPDATE ON PROGRESS… I have just sat my Skippers exam and gained a pass. Still loads more to complete and timing has been pushed out due to a few unforeseen hurdles (won’t go into detail!) Please get in touch here if you have any further queries or would like to book a trip for when things get the final sign off.