Summer Kings in skinny water. IT'S ON !!!

Posted in 06 December 2016


The long awaited arrival of the apex flats predator that is seriola ialandi, yellow tail kingfish has arrived. With some force I might add.

There is a growing number of fly anglers heading to the salt every summer in New Zealand and the king is on their tick list. If only it was as easy as that. These fish break many hearts and a lot of that is down to poorly thought out plans. I will write this as part report, part tips.

Firstly, get some good polarised sunglasses. Nothing new there. Secondly, remember to take them. There has been the odd occasion that I have forgotten mine and I have turned around and gone back to get them. You can't fish to what you can’t see. This isn’t "blind cast and hope" fishing, it is stalking cruising fish and laying out well presented casts.

As many people are dusting off their salt water gear I would recommend cleaning your fly line first. A quick wipe down with RIO Agent X and you’re good to go.  All fly line should be cleaned on a regular basis, this is nothing new. Agent X is also a sun screen for your fly line. On that, pack some sun screen for yourself and keep applying it. NZ sun burns baby!

Make sure your gear is in tip top shape and you know your knots. I even sat down a reviewed my systems after looking at the RIO Favorite Fly Fishing Knots DVD. We sold a lot of these DVD’s when they came in. A lot of good information and tips within.



One of my favourite leaders for big kings uses a twisted butt section for shock absorption. RIO do make them pre tied for Tarpon known as the Tarpon shock leader. Big kings can turn on speed and change direction in a blink and if you have too much spooling pressure on or have your stick high, they will undo all your months of planning and leave you to sit the fight out on the side line whimpering like a kid that lost its ice cream to a hot footpath.

Good start to the 2016/17 with this fish tagged and released. Big kings like this 40lb (est) model will find any weekness in your setup. A twisted butt section in my leader setup definatley helped me stay connected to this bruiser.

Make your cast count. The term “feed the fish the fly” comes to mind. Perhaps the biggest mistake I see people make is casting at the fish or lining it. Predict the direction of the fish and get your fly out in front of it's trajectic path. You want that fly to pass right in front of that cruising king’s nose. Yeah, sure there are times when kings would eat a gumboot if you threw one in the water but we are putting our best game out there with every cast and not making that gamble. It’s not fun to watch a king follow your fly to the rod tip because he didn’t like your presentation. That sinking feeling will follow you around for days.

Keep your fish wet!. Fish can't breath out of the water! I have a wet towel and make my landing time out of the water as short as possible. Handle fish careflly supporting their weight. #keepemwet

Unless you want to rely on luck everytime you head out, there is no free lunch with kings. It takes time and well thought out plans to get consistency in skinny water. 

Other than gear that’s the guts. Sage, Redingtion and RIO have you covered with the gear. Just head along to your local and ask for them by name.

If you haven’t read about the #TagAKingOnFly pilot tagging program you can you do that here --> #TagAKingOnFly with Flytackle NZ Ltd and Bluewater Marine Research.

A managable model spotted tailing on crabs. This fished launched itself onto the fly as soon as it hit the water.