Che has been a regular visitor to NZ for many years coming here to talk software and business with his buddy Greg who is a Whitianga local. Over the years Che has let on that he is an avid flyfisher and between the two of them a “oneday” plan was hatched.
Picking a day well in advance without the benefit of knowing what weather and fishing conditions is always a lottery, the day that Greg arranged for his buddy Che proved to be a lucky strike. Che explained to us both several times he was lost for words to describe his pleasure of being on the water , fly rod in hand for a few hours chasing fish around the Hauraki Gulf.
Having fished small chalk streams and never fished the saltwater before we spent some time on the lawn learning the double haul. With limited time the outgoing tide and clear waters of Matiatia bay were calling.
The early summer workups with seabirds diving and darting can be frustrating as the bait is very small and the large numbers of predator fish are not yet around . We drifted and cast to a few promising looking events but with only an occasional splash from Kahawai as they pushed the bait around to fast to follow.With options always close at hand I used the last of the out going tide to position Che upstream of some actively feeding fish. The tide brings the tiny anchovies and whitebait down the harbour and as the sandbanks cause an up dwelling against some rocks large Kahawai could be seen slashing and smashing bait in a confined area. It took some repositioning and Che to draw on his new skill of double hauling to get the size 2 foam crease fly into the zone, once there it was taken aggressively in a visual display of preadator action.
Even without the strong current Che had to work hard to subdue a number of plump Kahawai to the boat. He got to see them jump , dive and produce one more run before the they came to the net. As soon as the tide stopped running the action slowed and some nearby channel bouy’s were cast to with a 13 wt Sage Salt rod and a large baitfish fly. The second bouy produced a half hearted follow from a rat kingfish of about 70cm but this was all we could muster.
As an introduction to Kiwi saltfly fishing I wanted to show them all I could in the available time. Knowing that Greg was a Coromandel local and longtime fisherman I thought he might enjoy the novelty of chasing snapper in the bright sun of midday in super shallow on fly. This is directly opposite to what many of us Kiwis have thought is possible about this favourite fish. Its true that to catch big snapper on a regular basis low light and deep water and large baits work but with such a versatile predator in attendance in so many shallow areas around our coast they make great fly rod targets and its a lot of fun for anyone who likes to cast a fly.
Che was briefed on the “do nothing” retrieve, the snapper love the pause and will pick up a stationary fly so being in constant contact with the line is not required. This is so contrary to many fly fishers habits that it can take some un-learning before the hits start to come. Che worked it out quickly and started to place casts into the likely holds, every few casts produced a tail nip or full throttle hit to confirm he was doing it right. Greg enjoyed the show and was happy to see his buddy loving every minute of what only took them eight years to make happen.