Saltwater fly fishing around Auckland

Fly fishing – in Auckland? In saltwater?

When in the course of human events city bound fly fishermen need a local fishery then they will eventually find one. I think NZ fly fishers think of themselves as primarily trout fishers who have to fall back on saltwater excursions to fill in gaps between trips to various salmonidae havens. As for myself – this is my third trout season without purchasing a licence. A major departure from my fishing habits dating back to my teen years.

 As I wrote in a FlyLife Shortcasts  a few years back, hopefully there  comes a time where swoffing transitions from  being exotic and occasional to becoming domestic and (hopefully) daily: sort of like from dating to marriage!

In the summer of 2011, for Auckland I think this important watershed was achieved for a number of local fly fishers. This is not to say there was not previous swoffing – Saltfly Sundays charters and isolated “secret squirrel” individuals, but I mean a wider grass roots realization and especially land based  exploration, discoveries and recognition that a reliable and productive fishery exists. This means that  for anyone in city suburbs you were potentially no more than 10-15 minutes from good fishing opportunities that could accommodate low to hide tides, spanning shelly beaches or oyster covered rocks, open water or mangrove settings.

To me the defining characteristic is that this is all walk or wade access – no boats, no 4WD, helicopters, float planes or extreme access gymnastics required. This is as close as it gets to a couch-potato fishery for the end-of-working-day swoffer.

The Waitemata and Hauraki Gulf are a recognized important snapper fishery. And 2010-11 has been by all accounts an exceptional season, and not just for snapper. During summer weekends, hundreds of angler set off at dawn in their boats, powering out into the channels or to distant spots to chase snapper. But as a band of swoffers have discovered, all that money and effort and time are actually unnecessary. What joys they are missing – crunching over jagged , shoe-shredding oysters or wading on mudflats. All you need is a bit of intelligent curiosity, solid footwear and a fly rod.

Tight lines,

Mark Hoffman


2 responses

  1. Dave Adams

    a happy little read, but the pics are something else – great work, calendar/poster/screen wallpaper kinda stuff. Makes me wanna get the tying vise out and call in sick tomorrow. Keep it up please, Dave

    June 22, 2015 at 8:51 am

    • Thanks for the kind words, Dave! Fly tying is one of the great side activities to fly fishing that is so fascinating in its own right. I should get around to doing some appropriate coverage of the patterns. Cheers, Mark

      June 23, 2015 at 6:20 am

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