Five Saltwater Fly Lessons To Save The Day

It’s easy to take the good days saltwater fly fishing for granted, but what do you do in the face of adversity when your chips are down, and you feel like you’ve gone all in? It might be simpler then you first thought to come back from a slump and turn the day around.

Over the years salt fly guiding Tauranga flats I’ve learned a few tricks on how to keep your head in the game and put yourself in position for the last second buzzer beater cast that transforms a long day of slog searching out scarce flats kingfish into glorious, grip and grin victory.

LUCAS ALLEN’S FIVE SALTWATER FLY LESSONS

1 – BACK YOURSELF

  • You know there has been fish there before so don’t be too hard on yourself, they might just be 5 minutes late to the party or simply didn’t get the invite on the day
  • Just lost a fish? The quicker you regather yourself the quicker you catch the next. That’s a stat we can’t fudge
  • Trust your gear, there’s little use freaking out when you get a big surging run. I know I run out of steam eventually when trying to run to the pie shop. You’ll turn then eventually, hopefully you’ve got enough backing

2 – RESEARCH

  • You can fast track a lot of the details at the swipe of a screen, that’s why you are reading this right?
  • Top conditions to look at: Tides, weather, moon, sun and time of year for seasonal movements. Most of all keep a keen eye on the weather as a safety factor, you want to come home in one piece to tell the story
  • Look into as much info as you can, sometimes the more obscure the reference the less guarded the info is
  • There is a lot of saltwater out there, be wary of the big water syndrome. Go for a look around the flats at low tide for a real breakdown of how things move as the tide rolls in
  • Bear in mind no one likes a spot burner so be careful not to give up too much, after all it’s the challenge that makes us want to throw weird fluffy creations at fish

Tauranga Harbour Maritime Chart

3 – BAD LIGHT ON THE FLATS

  • Have a back up plan if the lights go out. This might be fishing more structure based offerings or slowing right down and being ready for a really quick close quarter shot off the rod tip
  • A good pair of low light polarised sunglasses are a must, you will be surprised at how effective this can be on a gloomy day
  • Use calm bays to spot for surface disturbances and backdrops to cut glare
  • Find the fish using your sounder, it’s not as glamorous but you still have the chance of a good fight
  • Cast at anything suspicious, no point asking yourself the question the fish may have already departed the scene

Challenging low light saltwater fly fishing

4 – LEARN YOUR SALTWATER FLY GEAR

  • By being proficient with your own gear you will then have confidence in it. Being able to exert maximum pressure with maximum confidence can get you out of a sticky situation or two
  • Pick the best knots you have the most trust in and can tie with shaky hands after that hectic hot bite or retie in a hurry
  • Learn how to spot fish. Look through the water and scan 360 degrees regularly. Focus on the area in casting range mostly but keep your eyes peeled for movement further afield. Watch a fish as it swims away, this will train your eyes better and widen your fish spotting periphery

NZ flats kingfish on fly

5 – PRACTICE

  • Just one bullet point here, it’s self-explanatory and can make or break a day on the water. Better yet practice casting on the bad weather days, that way any fishable day on the water will be a breeze, no pun intended
ABOUT LUCAS ALLEN:

Lucas Allen is Manic Tackle Project's Community Manager & Account Guy, but is probably better known as Tauranga's premier saltwater fly guide operating King Tide Salt Fly. Lucas has a depth of fishing knowledge starting from his days as a grommet eating glo bugs, through to today where he works, lives and breathes all things fishy.