This was a trip that should have never have happened, the forecast looked lousy and the wind was blowing from all the wrong angles. However it was perfectly safe and armed with good rain gear who was going to say it was a bad day to go fishing. Did I also say that the tides were wrong for the few areas that may have been sheltered!
The anchovy schools had recently moved inshore and the unexpected bonus of some strong winds the night before was that they were jam packed along the Matiatia shoreline. Tyler had made it clear that getting his brother in-law and good buddy into his first fish on salt fly was to be the priority for the first part of the day, Tyler was an experienced saltwater fly fisher and this was Ryan’s first time ever. We had a casting session on the lawn and were soon on the water throwing casts at busting Kahawai.
Two bust offs from not giving line and then a series of dropped fish when the line was allowed to run free meant we paused and revisited some basic line management skills that experienced fly fishers take for granted.
Once the cast is made a lot of the “fishing ” is done with the line hand, direct contact is made to the fly at the other end and the rod is pointed at the fly and does not come into play until after the fish is hooked. The fingers feel the take wether it is a hard hit or very subtle knock and the hand can then clamp the line or even pull backwards to set the hook. No lifting the rod to trout strike is allowed! With the lesson over Ryan’s session was drawing to a close, Tyler had decided to fish the rest of the day so a farewell fish for Ryan was all that we needed.
Several moves were made and glances at the watch confirmed Ryan needed to be ashore within the next 15 minutes if he was to meet his girlfriend as she arrived at the vehicle ferry, I was told life would not be worth living if he was late. Just as we decided it was not going to happen a bunch of fish busted bait in front of us, I had just cut the engine and Tyler thrust the fly rod in Ryan’s hands to make a cast. It took another few casts before he hooked up and we then coached, followed and ducked out of the way as a fat Kahawai took him around the boat. Each run was meet with the right counter move and Ryan smoothly anticipated the fishes movements to glide it into the net. Its not always about the fish but the circumstances of the capture. This fish meant a lot to these guys and it was a blast to be part of it.
Tyler had fished in many places and for many species so it was great to show him our Kahawai, fish were caught in every way possible on fly it was now time to find some kingfish. This trip was in the middle of a week where the kings were just not biting and with the limited tide and wind conditions I took a punt and had Tyler ready to cast to any sighted fish along a small strip of white sand below the high tide mark.The pale background and shallow fringe provide two vital elements a reason for kings to patrol for baitfish ambushing and the ability to see their green backs and yellow tails.This was all that was on offer and it was more than either of us had expected.We did not catch a king but 4 fish were sighted and Tylers experience was evident as fast accurate casts were made ahead of the cruising fish ,his final cast at a parting kingfish produced a turn and spray of white water but no hookup.
Foreign anglers are often surprised how fast these fish cruise when hunting and casts need to be well ahead of the fish, an extra backcast allows the fish to move along way and often flies land behind the target. Tyler was casting spot on we were both surprised the fly had not been eaten, but to have an hour of sight fishing for large fish in the shallows on a day that should never have happened was already a bonus. The tide had shifted and on our way to another potential area we paused for an introduction to some New Zealand Bream (snapper).Fishing 6 weight outfits armed with shrimp/clouser flys were cast along a weed edge.Slow strips and long pauses soon produced some scrappy fish to the boat and we continued on our tour of the sheltered spots nearby.
Tyler and I worked some edges of bays and flats without another shot at a crushing kingfish. But with a full days fishing behind us and his best buddy and brother in law no now an experienced saltwater angler it was a great day on a bad forecast.