Salty Saturday - Early Season Kingfish Expectations

Flats kingfish on fly new zealand

With the start of a new season comes a lot of expectation and excitement, especially so when you’ve been patiently waiting for the planets to align. After all you’ll have new gear that needs blooding, often over the course of a few trips to really get a feel for it. This season has 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 are the water temps, with a promising spike only dampened but the next cold spell pushing through.

The scrappy spring weather has subsided and the onshore temps are climbing nicely, this has been illustrated by the good numbers of active fish around the harbour entrance. We’ve had a few sessions around structure that have yielded some good action, some of the bigger fish either very wise to what’s going on or just plain destroying us. It’s been fun throwing large flies into groups of fish and watching their body language turn into anger as they jostle for the fly.

Saltwater fly fishing for kingfish New Zealand

On the ray rider front things have picked up nicely, the black short tails are cruising the flats in my regular hot spots, often carrying one or 5 kings. The solos are always going to be tricky unless they’ve lost all caution. This was shown with a morning charter getting fiery eats and a bust off from the same fish in quick order, only to be leveled myself with over half a dozen rays all carrying solo fish and dropping the sole hook up that afternoon.

What to expect over the next few weeks?

  • 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.
  • Bigger fish continuing to taunt clients.

Lucas Allen is the legend behind King Tide Salt Fly, a guiding operation chasing kingfish on the flats of the Tauranga Harbour. Get in touch with him today if you like the idea of sightfishing to big, aggressive fish...