Guest Post: Saltwater Fly Fishing in New Zealand

New Zealand offers some of the greatest variety of fishing opportunities in the world. Some anglers choose to pursue salt-water species using fly fishing tackle. While this type of fishing is not unique to New Zealand, the islands offer some of the best opportunities for anglers.

Where to Fish

Many of the coastal waters of New Zealand offer saltwater fly-fishing opportunities. The Bay of Islands off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island is noted for this type of fishing although it is just one of many regions. Outfitters provide boats and guide services along with fishing tackle designed to provide the ultimate saltwater fly-fishing adventure.

Anglers are encouraged to do their research and know the area and the best seasons for fishing any particular water. In addition, fly fishermen should know how to handle the equipment properly and be able to cast accurately in order to improve their fishing experience.

Fish Species

The fish species are varied depending on the region and the season. Saltwater fly anglers can pursue salmon near the mouths of streams as they return from the ocean and migrate into the streams. Other options include the yellowtail kingfish often taken on flies in the flats or expanses of shallow water. Some of the more adventurous anglers may go in pursuit of predatory fish like sharks with a fly rod and lures. In New Zealand, the angler’s imagination is about the only limitation to the fly fishing opportunities in the saltwater oceans.

Fishing Tackle

The fishing tackle used by the saltwater fly anger depends on the target species. Smaller fish obviously warrant lighter tackle while bigger game requires the heavier tackle. An angler pursuing the salmon in saltwater would likely use the same type of tackle as an angler pursuing salmon and trout in a freshwater stream. If the larger saltwater species are your target utilize a longer and heavier fly rod equipped with stronger line and heavier tackle.

The heavier tackle is also more humane for fish that are caught and released. The heavy rods allow the fish to be brought to the boat or angler quicker with less fatigue improving the fish’s chance of recovery when it is released. Many of the outfitters and guides in New Zealand specialize in maintaining a sustainable fishing resource for generations to come.

Mixing it Up

While saltwater fly fishing offers some great opportunities for sport, many anglers choose to mix it with some other forms of fishing. Many of the same outfitters can provide other types of fishing adventures. A morning of pursuing saltwater salmon with a fly rod can be followed by an afternoon of jigging for kingfish or snappers or even trolling for billfish. Saltwater fly fishing becomes just another opportunity for the angler in New Zealand to find enjoyment.