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Tauranga Harbour Kingfish Season

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tauranga Harbour Kingfish Season
    Posted: 24 Apr 2019 at 9:30am
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It's been a very tough fishing for kings on the flats this season compared with past seasons. Don't really know what to make of it. My hours of fishing effort has been comparable with past seasons, but with each season, my catch rate of kings per hours of effort is declining. This season started with a flourish, but during the warmer summer months there was a decline in kings seen on the flats. Water temperature may be a factor, having an affect on the kings, the bait fish, the food of the bait fish, or perhaps all. Five years ago, the majority of the short tail stingrays carried multiple riders. This season, the number of ray riders is well down, with most of the short tails being empty. One day during summer, I counted 50 to 60 short tails while wading, and none were carrying kings. About a third were carrying half a dozen or so medium size kahawai and I had a few days of action with the #2 catching these. Most of my kings this year have been caught on or close to channel edges, a mixture of riders and freeswimmers. There are two commercial fishing operations within the harbour, one that targets piper and grey mullet, and the other which targets trevally. The guys netting piper sometimes catch hundreds of kilos of these fish on each daily outing. The  other operation targetting trevally, uses a drag net and gets a by catch of kings. The commercial size limit for kings is 65cm. There is a lot of recreational pressure on the kings from boat fishers, and shore based lure and live bait fishers. Not all fish caught by the latter group are kept which is encouraging. Two of my mates who primarily fish with piper have caught over 30 kings this season and all have been tagged. I don't believe the population of harbour kings is particularly high. Some of the tagged fish have been caught multiple times. As winter approaches, attention will be on the channel edges where the piper congregate and eventually get smashed by kings. For future seasons wading the flats for kings, who knows?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FishMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2019 at 1:47pm
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Thanks for the Tauranga update MM It all sounds a bit worrying. The fact that piper and trevally betting are allowed to go on in the harbour is absolutely ludicrous! The value of those fish stocks to the local community and the Tauranga tourism economy far outstrips the money that those few individuals will be making out of dead fish. What a tragic waste!

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2019 at 3:56pm
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There are other concerns that aren't helping the harbour kings and bait fish in general. Heavy grazing of the intertidal sea grass meadows by swans and geese. The sea grass is vital to the health of the harbour ecosystem , invertebrates, larval fish and the food of bait fish. Parore are also the food of kingfish although perhaps not preferred, and these at times are taken by the piper/mullet guys. On 13/10/2014, I saw them with a good 500kg of parore on their boat, all fat fish, each between 1.8kg and 2.4kg. About a month ago, I understand they took just under a ton in one day. The tagged kings I have caught have been captured a few kilometres from their tagging point about 12 months later.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FISHBYFLY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2019 at 5:42pm
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thanks for the insight Dick.
Similar problems in Auckland.
 
Im seeing a increased value/demand for kingfish.
 
My wife loves to eatout regurly, and I have noticed the increase of kingfish being offered on the Menu in pretty much all establishments.as with anything in the outdoors, as soon as it aquires a value, it gets stripped.
 
Im assuming the restaurant demand is being supplyed by smalltime inshore operaters.
Hard to prove,but seems to be the most likely scenario.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2019 at 4:03pm
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Hi Silvio. They are here but being elusive. Over the past few weeks the big free swimmers have been targeting the 1 to 2 kilo grey mullet. The jumps from the mullet are significantly higher when they have a yellow tailed demon hard up their caudal fin. Some of these kings are seriously big. May is the month that we see these bigees. I'm not sure if these buggers are in the harbour all year, or they enter the harbour to specifically to hunt the grey mullet each late April / May. Been seeing a lot of big tight schools of grey mullet lately. Tight lines mate.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Coastbusters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 May 2019 at 10:54pm
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I have NEVER caught a kingfish in Tauranga harbour. Any tips or spots would be greatly appreciated. I generally fish during the day (afternoon to just after sunset). I usually get a few small kahawai or medium Piper and hang one under a balloon, but never have any luck.
What am I doing wrong, or does anyone have any tips or spots?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote FishMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2019 at 5:35am
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Try getting out of bed early

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Coastbusters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2019 at 7:22am
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Any tips apart from an early start? I have sport in the mornings til lunchtime on the weekends so the earliest I can get out is 12ish.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 May 2019 at 9:45pm
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Hi Coastbusters. I have no idea where you live, but if you are in TAURANGA, I'd be happy to meet up with you and show you the ropes. I fly fish around 350 days in the year so any time that suits you would be ok with me. Got a nice king yesterday and lost another two. The Aussie swoffer with me lost one. Saw around a dozen kings yesterday, and all were riding short tails. Today, we saw three tailing while in the company of a medium size short tail. Bear in mind that the kings are only on the flats for around another ten days, then it's a long wait until they return to the flats mid October to early November. Cheers 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Coastbusters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2019 at 8:15am
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I'm interested. What gear would I need? I don't have any fly gear. I've got a baitrunner 1200d combo and a tld25. I suppose the 1200d will cast.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2019 at 10:59am
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Hi Coastbusters. I'm sorry, I took it for granted that you were a saltwater fly fisher as that is where my knowledge lies. There are at least two clubs in TAURANGA that specialise in topwater fishing for kings. You should be able to locate these, perhaps Uncle could be of help. Failing that why not consider taking up the sport of swf fishing? It's highly addictive and contagious. Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Coastbusters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2019 at 1:11pm
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Ok, thanks. Pm me some spots I might be able to access by boat if you have any tips

Thanks
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2019 at 7:16pm
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Have done. Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2019 at 12:18pm
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On the flats at daybreak this morning and waded out to my hot spot to be ready for the first of the incoming. Visibility was pretty tough in the low light and I didn't see the medium/large short tail stingray until it was very close and obviously aware of me. Riding it were three kings in the 85cm to 95cm size class, typical May kings for the TAURANGA flats. Of course they had no intention of eating my fly. About an hour later, there was a big bust up of piper and if I had to put money on it, I would say that they were kahawai. I put the fly ahead of the fleeing piper, but nothing happened. Soon after, a small/medium size short tail cruised out of the glare with two riders, both around 65cm. Again, no interest in the fly. I cut inshore into knee deep water and slowly made my way back hoping to come across either tailing kings or bow waves. I saw a bow wave from a kakawai and several schools of bait fish, probably yem. I left the water at 1045hrs, after a few hours of therapy and good medicine for the soul. I'll be back out there tomorrow morning. Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FISHBYFLY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2019 at 5:41pm
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Nice yarn,
that's a great way to spend ya morning!Cool
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote FishMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2019 at 6:55pm
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Great story Just goes to show how difficult ray riders can be.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote otdrmn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2019 at 8:12pm
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Wow, certainly not seeing this sort of action on the kaipara, will keep looking and learning thou.
I’m sure they’re here and it’s just a matter of where and when.
Spotted a few over summer but not enough consistency to be sure to be sure. 😀
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2019 at 10:25pm
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A few years ago, I used to see far more kings on the flats with the odd day counting 20 plus and on one day, close to 40. But in recent years, those numbers have dropped away. This season started well but went tough during the hot summer months. April and May haven't been too bad. May is the month that we see the biggest kings on the flats. I don't know why this is but it could have something to do with the tight schools of grey mullet. Occasionally, I have seen 20kg plus kings on the flats but these are pretty wary. When you do hook up, they absolutely own you for the first part of the fight. I fight kings hard and a legal king will not get into the backing. Using that same drag pressure, a 20kg king will take 150 metres of backing.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mudfish marquand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 May 2019 at 10:37pm
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Most of my big kings have been caught on popper flies, particularly Pat's blockheads. When I fish popper flies, I use a 20kg shock leader because big kings will go into deep water if they can get to it and they rub the popper on the bottom, sometimes shredding the leader. I used to use 15kg leader and lost a few. I have had no trouble with 20kg shock tippet. Sometimes you can see that the kings have been rubbing the bottom because they have severe scrape marks on their nose. My biggest king on the flats wrecked the leader, but it held together and I landed it. It weighed 22kg and when it was close near the end of the fight, there were two kings swimming with it, one was around 25kg, the other around 20kg. The interesting thing is that kings hooked on bait fish flies don't tend to try to rub the fly out, well not in my experience anyway. Hope this information is of assistance. Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Snuffit. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2019 at 7:31am
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Originally posted by otdrmn otdrmn wrote:

Wow, certainly not seeing this sort of action on the kaipara, will keep looking and learning thou.
I’m sure they’re here and it’s just a matter of where and when.
Spotted a few over summer but not enough consistency to be sure to be sure. 😀

Agreed; also a lack of short tail rays. There are tons of mullet and the fish I've spotted have been smashing them. Lots of scouting to still do.
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