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If pursuing large, shallow-going fish with a fly rod in hand sounds like the right amount of crazy, then this is for you.
The yellowtail kingfish is possibly the most sought-after species on the Tauranga flats. Giant-trevally like, their dense, overly muscular, yet sleek nature ensures any baitfish in their marauding path is short-lived. Whether finding them alongside stingrays or, like a permit, with their tails high in the sky as they forage below, they are a true test of the fly anglers skillset. Their taking of fly is stunningly visual, the fight is arm-cramping and if it all goes well, their unimaginable beauty is something to behold.
For many, a flat's kingfish is the high point, but this overlooks other very worthy shallow-going species. Being flighty and a rarer encounter on the flats, the shallow water snapper have become a supreme, permit-esque challenge for the fly angler. Over the years I'm finding myself and others more and more addicted to their pursuit. Viewing them as a great test of an anglers skillset.
The kahawai (Australian salmon) is unjustly underrated and personally, a favourite of mine. Their colorations are phenomenal and ever-changing throughout their lifetime. Their taking a fly is thrillingly explosive, they fight well with long strong runs and their distinctive aerial acrobatics are spectacular. Also, they can be found tailing on the flats; swimming with the rays and krilling in the channels. Seeing and hearing a school of the kahawai feeding en masse is a sensory treat.
The New Zealand silver trevally is an incredible fighter; deep-bodied and muscular, similar to the Australian golden trevally. Like the kingfish, the trevally sometimes swims alongside the stingray but testingly requires a different approach.
The custom-designed KINGS caters to the fly fishing besotted angler. The flats vessel is approved to the Australasian survey standards. While I am first aid trained, I am not held accountable for fish-induced line burns, busted knuckles, and broken hearts!
This catch and release operation encourages sustainable fishing with great respect, admiration and interest in the targeted fish. Caught individuals are carefully tagged with data collated by the Blue Water Marine Research program. If you are interested in the population demographics and movement, I recommend exploring the link below.
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