New Zealand

Destination Information

Spectacular glaciers, picturesque fiords, rugged mountains, vast plains, rolling hillsides, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau, miles of coastline with gorgeous sandy beaches – it’s all here. Wellington is the capital city and the surrounding coastal regions offer exceptional fishing throughout the year. This coast is as rugged and wild as you get. Fishing from either a boat or land will be best described as incredible. The possibilities are endless as salt water fly fishing is still very much a novelty type of sport fishing and areas around this coast has probably never seen a salt fly nor salt fly fisherman before. These areas include to the west Kapiti coast, Wellington Southern coast and the Wairarapa east of Wellington. Further north is the warmer waters where in summer striped marlin and numerous game fish come to play. Auckland is the major port and fishing is possible with minutes from the city center. Directly north from Blenheim is the remote Marlborough Sounds offering a vast variety of coastline with bountiful fish species including the mighty Yellowtail Kingfish, Tuna and Sharks, these being a favorite for most fly addicts. Sharks are certainly on the top of the apex predatory list creating the most favored sporting target for many. Yellowtail Kingfish and Tuna is another couple of sought after fish not only for their sporting abilities but also eating. Next would surely be the XOS snapper and trevally which makes their abundance clear during the summer months and sight casting to these fish for any angler is the pinnacle of the sport. The fishing opportunities within the Marlborough Sounds are not bound to inshore waters but also open to the world renowned Cook Straight separating the North and South Island, with the deep holes and a strong tidal flow creating a nutrient rich marine environment that sustains our fishery. In summer the Kahawai, Baracouta, aka ‘cook straight sailfish’ presents itself in plague proportions which in turn give us sport fisherman endless hours of fun when targeted. Adventures into the sounds would be directed to where the best possibly fishing would be according to the weather conditions. Some of the locations offered for anglers are Tory Channel, Queen Charlotte Sound gateway to Northern entrance, Pelorus Sound, French Pass and D’urville Island. The top of D’urville Island has the Stephens Passage a well known area for trophy Kingfish up to 75 pounds (~35kg). The east coast from Port Underwood to Kaikoura must be some of the most under fished areas close to civilization, a hidden gem some would call it. Here the marine environment is a must see for anybody that can swim when visiting. Huge crayfish, abalone and fish roam the rocky inner shores, great for a land based anglers looking for some sports. Further out to sea the continental shelf drops away 1:1 meaning a mere kilometer from the shore is1000 meters deep. While not amenable to fly fishing this does mean throughout the year fishing for big oceanic Shark, Tuna and deep bottom dwellers like sea Bass, Groper and Bluenose for the non fly thrower or when the weather allows you to get far and wide. Cape Farewell Spit is to the north-west and hosts yet other exciting and prosperous fishing challenges; Collingwood is the settlement where trips will be based from, with its laid back vibe here it’s a must see place especially when visiting the light house at the end of the Spit. The Spit is home to vast variety of birds and seals which colonized there, a wonderful experience in itself just to see this remarkably remote marine sanctuary.

Species & Tactics

Giant Trevally GT

The Giant Trevally a fish of many names is quickly becoming a premier target to hunt on the flats. It is an incredibly strong and ferocious reef fish that is aggressive and deliberate when hunting and takes no prisoners. It is a large member of the jack family and is also known as the Giant Kingfish, Pacific Jack Fish, Goyan Fish, Lowly Trevally, Barrier Trevally, Ulua in Hawaii, Mamulan in the Marianas, R┼Źnin-aji in Japan and just plain GT for short.

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The Milkfish is a lesser known species primarily because of its appearance in the world but is gaining popularity as a fly fishing target species for its fight, willingness to eat a fly and feeding habits. Milkfish is an Indo-Pacific ocean species that is vey similar to a bonefish in many ways. They are a little skittish, very fast, very strong and they eat flies.

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Mahi Mahi

Mahi-Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) (aka Dorado, Dolphin, Lampuga, Lampuki, Lapuki, Maveriko) If you're interested in catching super-strong, beautiful, not-too-choosy, leaping fish, here ya go. These are the saltwater equivalents of bluegills, except they jump, and they get big. Like as big as your aging retriever. The common English name "dolphin" causes much confusion and lots of hand-wringing. Let's be clear: this fish is not related to the marine mammal also known as dolphin (family Delphinidae).

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False Albacore

Looking to test your 12-weight rod? Want to check out the acoustics of your new reel? Head to Jupiter for false albacore. False Albacore are more accurately called little tunny (latin name: Euthynnus alletteratus). They are often referred to as bonito, but albies are not the same fish as the true Atlantic or Pacific bonito.

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General Information If not already fishing for tuna on the fly, we'll just ask....Why not? This is a serious Saltwater fly fisherman's target. It's big, hits your fly at 40 mph (75 kph) and is found in just about every fishing destination you could possibly think of. Tuna are incredibly beautiful and powerful predators that come is many many different flavors too: Bluefin, Blackfin, Yellowfin, Bigeye, Longtail, Dogtooth

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This is the fastest fish in the ocean!
Individual Sailfish have been clocked at speeds over 70 mph which is the highest speed reliably reported in any water creature. Sailfish are two species of billfish, the Atlantic Sailfish and the Pacific Sailfish and live in warmer sections of all the oceans of the world.

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There is no fight like the fight of a Marlin. This is the prized fish of most saltwater anglers all over the world. They span almost all of the waters of the globe and can be caught by a variety of methods at various times of year in many diverse places. Marlin fishing is considered by some game fishermen to be the pinnacle of offshore game fish, due to their power, size and the relative rareness. It is an expensive hobby, requiring considerable money to pursue on a regular basis, single day of Marlin fishing can cost over $1000. They are possibly the most well-known fish in the entire world which probably accounts for millions of dollars in commerce spent hunting them. The novel by Ernest Hemingway, "The Old Man and the Sea" chronicles the struggle of a Marlin fisherman who after 85 days of failure, ventures out to sea to change his luck and catch a Marlin. Hemmingway frequently fished for Marlin, quite successfully with his family. The Marlin is the largest of the billfish and comes in many variations: Pacific Black Marlin Pacific Blue Marlin Atlantic Blue Marlin White Marlin Striped Marlin

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Barracuda may be the most underrated saltwater species to catch on a fly. After hooking one, imagine this scenario: the fish is on the end of the line thrashing and running, suddenly the line goes slack. You think the fish is off but he's not because you stand in amazement as you watch a 5 foot barracuda leap 15 feet into the air like a missile being launched from below the surface of the ocean.

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Spinner Shark (& other shark species)

One of the best kept secrets in all of salt water fly fishing is the Spinner Shark migration in late winter through early spring in. It happens in a place where you least expect it...West Palm & Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Really, we aren't kidding. This is spring break for sharks. They migrate to the beaches off of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach chasing fish (snook, blues and false albacore & other tuna species) that are breeding & feeding in the surf or just beyond the surf. You can sight fish for a 100+ lb. powerhouse in just 8 feet of water. Flyfishbonehead had so much fun that we went out twice in 2012, hooked 9 and landed 5 on our first trip and landed 5 of 6 on the second. Considering the fight and how hard it is to subdue this beast that was pretty darn good.

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What To Bring

Smaller Species

Smaller species & Trout can be caught on a 6-8 weight. Most commonly used an 6-8 weight because most have a rod of this size, many prefer a 6 weight because its more fun to use little tackle in general. Again as long as wind is not an issue this is certainly ok. Use a floating line with at least 200 yards of backing on your reel. Leaders should be 9-15 feet with at least a 10 lb tippet. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which means a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance

Mahi-Mahi,Toothy Critters & Pelages

Pelages usually require a 10 -12 weight. Most anglers prefer a 12 weight for the lifting power and usually gives the angler more control when trying to land the fish. Wind is usually not an issue when casting a 12 weight. WF Floatlines, Intermediate Lines, Sinking Lines & then shooting heads – Depending on locations to cope with the wind & tide. Use a floating line or what we also like is the intermediate sink line with at least 300 yards of backing on your reel. Leaders should be 9-12 feet with at least a 20 lb tippet. (we use 40-50 shock tippet or tyable metal tippet material) The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which simply means a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance

2-10inch Clouser Minnows (Blue&White/Chartreuse&White), Lefty Decievers, Poppers, Brush Flies, Tube Flies

Barracuda flies - flyfishbonehead fly tying videos

Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna & Albacore

Offshore fishing for billfish & tuna usually involves a 13 -15 weight. Here you will have a chance at blue & white Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi-mahi & Tuna. We prefer a 14 weight and there are some which even have a butt suitable for gimbel use. Again because we are all about control of the fish and landing the fish quickly which decreases mortality and injury after release. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which means different things to different people. To us, it means simply a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance

2-10 inch Clouser Minnows (Blue&White/Chartreuse&White), Lefty Decievers, Poppers, Brush Flies, Tube Flies

tuna flies - flyfishbonehead fly tying videos


Makos are common throughout New Zealand. They can be found year round and anywhere where there is reasonably warm water & food. They vary in size from the small 20-60 lb range (~10-30 kg) to the larger specimens of close to 1000 pounds (~450kg). While not a typical target they are normally hooked as by-catch by anglers trolling for billfish in the summer months off the Bay of Plenty & Northland coast. Thresher Sharks: Most world records for these unique sharks are from New Zealand waters, including the all tackle record fish of 364kg from Tutukaka. They are an open ocean shark and can be found throughout New Zealand coastal waters where the temperature is between 55 & 70 degress Farenheit (12-20 degrees Celcius) but can also be found around schools of baitfish holding close to a reef, offshore pinnacle or island.

Poppers, Great pumpkin or any other large noisy fly that will get their attention.

Preferred Guides