I have just arrived home from a weekend on a "Salt Water Fly" weekend chasing in Tauranga. I did manage to catch about 15 small kahawai but the were rather hard work for me. There was lots of waving a stick around for not much return and I have come back with some thoughts/info to contemplate for my next attempt at the elusive .
Get a boat or floatation devise
After struggling all weekend while all the guys on the boats were out catching fish I came to realise that we were severely hamstrung by not having some sort of flotation. The two main advantages are being able to cover more water and view. While there we had one day of near flat conditions. Perfect for spotting yet being in the water I could only see 2 metres in front of me as well as the fact that even if I saw something further than this I was limited in being able to get close enough. So with this in mind I think it's essential to have a full flats boat, kayak or paddle board etc.
You can of course catch fish from the shore but choosing your location becomes critical. Looking for places with points or rock ledges where fish cruise past so you don’t need to move far.
Get High (as in the non-smoking variety)
So following on from this the main consideration on seeing fish besides bow waves which are not always present is to get height to view the fish. This can be either from a rocky ledge or from your boat/floatation devise or even a ladder. This will give you the maximum distance to view your prey.
Glassy conditions/flat water
This is also related to view but to see the fish you need to be able to see into the water. Normally this means little to no wind. Or being in a sheltered area away from the wind. The other idea is to get the sun behind you which helps cutting out the glare.
Early bird gets the worm
This then leads onto time of day. As the first part of the morning is often little to no wind. The first light part of the morning is often best up until the wind picks up. Often it's time to quit by 10am. Although wind often drops off at the end of the day I often find there is still a small breeze rippling the surface so glassy conditions are rare.
Hip shooter line control
The hip shooter or strip basket/tray can be invaluable in being able to cast quickly to your intended target. Having line out conveniently ready so you can get that quick cast out without tangles is essential. Also when you're in the water you don’t want to having to strip line off before casting as this takes time or have to wade with line dangling behind you that you have to get off the water to cast. Here is a link to a home made one which i will be trying. I have a stripping tray which i have posted previously but the line tends to hang over the sides and still get tangled on the rocks.http://www.fishing.net.nz/forum/hip-shooter-mark-3_topic101150.html
Patience -casting to sighted fish
Patience, patience and patience. I am much too impatient but if you're not poised ready to pounce like a tiger waiting for its prey the moment will be there in front of you and you won't be ready. You have all of 20 seconds to get that cast right in front of the fish. If you miss the window you could be waiting a while for the next one.
Many follow the ray riders and this follows a bit from the last point. If you see a ray just get a cast in because by the time you see the following it's too late.
Not sure on this last theory but is seems those that follow rays will ignore offerings near the surface even though they can see them as they are hunting along the bottom. So having some weight on your flies so they kick up off the bottom is advantageous. This theory I think I need to play around with a bit.
Other quick notes
We also got some information on fishing for Trevally which like a fly with a soft tail as they often mouth it first and to cast into the channels and work a slow figure 8 retrieve up the edges into the shallow water. Often hits are just when the fly is coming up the lip.