When Chris asked me to write a post about my “Season Highlight” I realised that I’ve been trout fishing a grand total of twice in 2020... My season highlight has undoubtedly been discovering just how incredible the saltwater fly fishing that we have right on our doorstep, here in Auckland is. It’s certainly not a secret that Auckland has great saltwater fly options.
Situated on a narrow piece of land, between 2 large harbours, it makes sense that we have fantastic fishing opportunities, at our fingertips. Especially if you have access to a boat. The options are endless. However, as I’ve discovered, a boat is not a necessity to enjoy the fantastic fishing that Auckland has to offer. Over the past few months, I’ve noticed my interest has gone from checking river flow levels - to checking tides, wind direction and moon phases.
There is a range of species readily available. Kingfish, Snapper, Kahawai and Trevally are all common targets. Through to the lesser pressured, but equally as intriguing species, such as Mullet and Parore. It’s the Snapper that have mainly been piquing my interest lately though. Nothing quite beats the “thwack” of a snapper picking your fly up and stripping 10 meters of line off your reel, before you’ve had time to react.
I tend to usually use my own flies. Mainly because I tie so many, I need to lose them, to justify tying more. However, I’ve had success with the following flies from the Manic Fly Collection range:
Slinky Minnow - Chart/white – Speaks for itself. I wouldn’t be without a chartreuse over white Clouser style pattern anywhere (I’m considering putting a couple in my dry fly box). It’s usually my number one go to pattern for prospecting unfamiliar territory. (The Pheasant Tail Nymph of the salt fly world, in my opinion) It works just as well, stripped fast and getting smoked by Kahawai, as it does, crawling it across the sand and getting picked up by a snapper.
Snapper Bunny - Nuclear - This is a great option for deeper/clearer water. I have had good success throwing these into the wash and letting it sink down. Then, just hold on for the ride.
Dave’s Barra Bunny - Pink / White - Rabbit and Marabou flies seem to be like candy to shallow water cruising Snapper. I think this to do with the natural fibers, which just come alive underwater. I tend to have as much success fishing these types of flies static (dead drifting them) as I do retrieving them.
Crabby Patty - Tan - Snapper just love crabs.
Snapper Booby - Any Colour. I actually tie my own version with dumbbell eyes, rather than foam eyes (so it sinks rather than floats). This has been my best snapper fly this season, hands down.
I’m primarily using the Primal Mega 908 for my Snapper fishing. A lot of people are using much lighter gear than this though, which can be great fun. I find the 8wt is the best option for myself though. It has the grunt to pull the bigger fish away from structure, when they go for it. Plus, if you hook a Kingfish, you stand a fighting chance…
When targeting shallow water Snapper, I fish a floating line 90% of the time, such as a The Super-Dri Bonefish Tropical lines, or the Cold Saltwater lines. But, mix it up sometimes in deeper water, with either a full intermediate, or the best of both worlds, the Flats Master Inter tip.
So, next time you find yourself with a spare day up your sleeve and can’t quite justify the drive down to the central plateau, dust of your old Tongariro broomstick (You’ll want to get yourself a proper saltwater fly combo eventually though) and go for a wander around the coastline. This doesn’t just apply to JAFAs either, if you have a local harbor, you’ll more than likely have a local Kahawai fishery, at the very least. You never know what else could be lurking around.