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23/24 End of Season Report - Saltwater Fly Fishing New Zealand

In contrast to the cyclonic - well nearly - weather of the previous season, this time around it was truly usually a breeze, and more importantly, the fish played along too. It was a stunning season, with many beautiful fish around; from the magnificent kings, beautiful snapper,  tantalizing trevallies and our old favorite, those underrated but such fun kahawai. 

Towards the end of the season as the water temperature began cooling, we saw fewer rays and their accompanying riders. Instead, it became a game of targeting free swimmers: these are those often rapid moving kingfish not accompanying a stingray. Their speed of course  posed a challenge for anglers new to saltwater fly fishing – as the duration of the shot is much shorter than where a king accompanies a ray. It's often over, too late even before the angler has started their cast. Nevertheless, everyone understood this and faced the challenge head-on. The ray riders we did encounter were well fed and larger than average and those fishers who connected with one of these well-conditioned late-season kings had a memorable fight on their hands. 

Saltwater Fly Fishing for Kingfish

It was also very encouraging throughout the season to see so many kings out and about with our tags. We are getting recapture reports and overall it is a good sign for the fishery.

Saltwater Fly Fishing for Shallow Water Snapper

As those closest to me know, I am besotted with shallow water snapper. Undeniably, kingfish have been and continue to be a significant part of my guiding life, but these shallow water snappers are just so awesome! Targeting them is certainly not suited to everyone; as fooling them and getting close enough to cast is a time-rich task. When the snappers feel comfortable, they can even be found feeding with their dorsal and tail fins out of the water. With their large eyes they seem to inspect everything, and nothing goes by unnoticed. This means, they are incredibly aware of their surroundings and when found this shallow, any incautious move on your part will send them briskly away. The anglers who were most keen on this often fruitless, yet incredibly rewarding pursuit often had been permit anglers, which probably says enough.

A Tailing Snapper - There is no better moment.

As an unexpected twist, in the final week of the season, the Minnkota broke down, but it can't be blamed – it has had a monstrous life and served us well. This did mean however we became very familiar with me polling the boat around. I can confirm that chasing a free-swimming king using a push pole is not for the faint hearted and unfit. It has given me muscles, and pains in muscles in places I never knew existed or expected.

Thank you very much to everyone who was a part of the 23/24 season. I am fortunate to continually meet such great people, many who turn into great friends. See you all next season!

Saltwater Fly Fishing New Zealand

1 Comment

May 11

Great to read, and good to hear about the state of the fishery. Keep on polling.

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