With the start of a new flats saltwater fly fishing season comes a lot of expectation and excitement, especially so when you’ve been patiently waiting for the planets to align so you can get back out there fishing for kingfish. After all, you’ll have new gear that needs blooding, and often over the course of a few trips if you really want to get a feel for it, right?
Last Tauranga flats season had a considerably slower start than the few previous; the fish have been around but in lesser numbers and more sluggish in behaviour. Mostly to blame were the water temps, with a promising spike only dampened but the next cold spell pushing through. However this spring I’ve already heard reports of the odd fish kicking around on the flats chasing bait and the topwater action has already kicked off just outside of the harbour mouth which is encouraging.
FISHING FOR KINGFISH IN SPRING, A TAURANGA HARBOUR FORECAST
The scrappy spring weather will subside and the onshore temps are set to climb nicely, this means we’ll start to see good numbers of active fish around the inside of the harbour entrance. We can expect a few sessions around structure that have yielded some good action at similar times of the year in the past, with some of the bigger fish either very wise to what’s going on or just plain destroying us. It’s always fun when fishing for kingfish to throw large flies into groups of fish and watching their body language turn into anger as they jostle for the fly.
On the ray rider front things will follow closely, with the black short tails cruising the flats in my regular hot spots in the weeks leading up to Christmas, often carrying one or five kings, depending on the day.
The solo free swimmers are always going to be tricky at this time of the year, unless they’ve lost all caution. Last season this was shown with a morning charter getting fiery eats and a bust off from the same fish in quick order, only to be levelled myself with over half a dozen rays all carrying solo fish and dropping the sole hook up that afternoon.
FIVE EARLY SEASON TAURANGA FLATS KINGFISH EXPECTATIONS
- Plenty of action as the water continues to warm and the harbour fills with more life
- Some awesome backdrops as the Pohutukawa start to flower on the water edge
- Longer settled days with premium spotting conditions
- More boat traffic - a little courtesy goes a long way when fishing for kingfish on the flats
- Bigger fish continuing to taunt clients
SPRING FISHING FOR KINGFISH IS EASIER WITH THESE THREE ESSENTIALS
AIRFLO SUPERFLO RIDGE 2.0 FLATSMASTER FLY LINE
As the name suggests the Airflo Flatsmaster saltwater fly line is the master of the flats, but probably more of a Swiss Army knife for all occasions when fishing for kingfish; from baitfish to crustaceans and even my poppers it is the 95%er of all my saltwater fly work.
The updated Ridge 2.0 technology is like a bullet train on steroids and doesn’t rip your hands to shreds, collect grime or make the racket other textured lines can do.
Created by a crack team of Aussies and Kiwis for their very own waters, the PU coating will perform across a wider range of heat tolerances and won’t act up when you need it most - early/late season.
With a full-length solid core providing instantaneous strip sets on thicker gauge hooks at all ranges the fish will feel the steel quicker and far more effectively. During the season I’m yet to destroy one of these lines before a kingfish manages to cheese-grate it around some structure.
SIMMS GUIDE PLIERS
Crushes barbs, removes hooks from toothy critters, fixes things, cuts line, pulls knots tight, opens celebratory beers, There’s not much the Simms Guide Pliers won’t do. They come with a secure wire coil leash and moulded sheath that is dead easy to access and after years on the console out in the open they show no signs of deterioration to date.
Sure I wash them every time and spray a little silicone on them every now and then but that’s what everyone does, right?
MANIC FLY COLLECTION SALTWATER FLIES
KING TIDE RATTLE PIPER
Obviously, I’m biased but it does work pretty well on all kingfish and has a cool plastic rattle to imitate the noise startled piper make.
MFC BUNKER BAIT
This pushes some serious liquid around its head and has a great profile in the water. Comes in 3 colours but black is super deadly in the often low early season light.
It’s no secret I love top water, the crease fly is easy to cast and is subtle for those days you want a little less noise on the surface.
Really good generalist pattern, snapper love them as they have the mantis shrimp vibe sorted.
Seriously, do we even need to tell you this? It’s the pheasant tail of the ocean. Grab many, make sure they’re different weights, colours and sizes, job done.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.