After two days of unsuccessful trolling and livebaiting for marlin out of Whangaroa, the crew aboard the big White Pointer SHAGZ decided a change of focus was required, so headed out on day three armed to take on kingfish.
On arriving at their destination, they began jigging before noticing a few gannets circling nearby that deserved closer investigation. As they got closer, the bird action intensified with the gannets dive-bombing the baitfish below.
On board was Hamish Sheard, his son Alastair and friends Antony Quirk, Hamish Smith and Finn Cook.
‘We saw some big splashes we assumed were kingfish and Finn and my first casts attracted the attention of not a kingie, but to our surprise, a marlin.
“It didn’t hook up and I made a second cast, which was followed. But on the following cast, the Ryan CB One 200 stick-bait was nailed by one of several marlin we saw working the bait school,” Alastair says.
What eventuated was a six-hour battle involving three anglers, the fish taking the crew over 10.5nm from the hook-up point.
“We had an early chance to grab the leader as the fish initially stayed on the surface, but couldn’t quite get close enough. It then sounded, staying down deep for most of the fight.”
After two-and-half-hours Alastair passed on the rod to take the helm and drive a little more aggressively on the stubborn fish, but to no avail.
“We tried all sorts of tricks – driving away to put more angle on the line as we circled it – but it stayed down deep.” “We had the short 2.5m shock leader up or in hand around 20 times, but couldn’t quite get close enough to secure the fish. I haven’t checked the drag on the Shimano Stella 14000 reel/ Carpenter BLC 83/35 rod combo, but I think it is around 15-16kgs – I couldn’t pull line off by hand.”
The fish made a final mistake and stayed on the surface long enough for Alistair to back down on it, getting close enough for Antony to get a double wrap on the leader and the crew to take the gaff shot.
“There was no way the fish was going to shake the lure free – one treble was buried deep in the corner of its jaw, the other in the side of its face – a perfect hook-up!”
Alistair says the 130lb Varivas leader had taken a beating, being badly rasped up, but had stood up to the punishment well.
Back at Whangaroa the fish pulled the scales to 112.5kgs before it was sent to the smoker. It had been a tough fight, the casting rod’s leverage working in favour of the deep-digging billfish.
16 March 2019