Teen from Hamilton wins $50,000 in Bay of Islands fishing competition
The reel screamed as 13-year-old Dylan White gripped the rod tight and lugged it to the game fishing chair.
He buckled up his harness and pushed the drag up to allow the fish 12kg of resistance.
Nobody else could touch the rod or he would be disqualified.
On board were three other anglers, including Dylan's dad Scott White.
"With the boat gentle in gear we gave the fish about 300 metres of line to tire him out," Scott said.
"Skipper Chris Brittain then backed up the boat continuously in 3.5 metre swells, as we applied more drag and Dylan began retrieving line we all got very wet with the sea breaking over us.
"The fish surfaced about 30 times, going crazy."
Then, 38 minutes from hook up, the men gaffed the fish and pulled the 203.7kg blue marlin into the boat. It turned out to be the tournament's heaviest bill fish, a title that came with a $50,000 cash prize.
Dylan caught the winning bill fish with a 37kg rod and reel on a Pakula lure.
Dylan is the only junior to ever enter the Caribbean Zane Grey International Game Fishing Tournament and the youngest to win.
The marlin has been smoked but the prizemoney is a different story - it'll go into a savings account until Dylan is old enough to know what to do with it.
The year 10 St John's College student has been fishing since he was big enough to hold a rod – about two and a half years old, Scott said.
"As Dylan's father we own the Caribbean boat agency for New Zealand, so regularly fish the west and east coasts in our company demonstrator boats."
In the past Dylan has caught two striped marlin, yellow fin tuna, mahi-mahi and hundreds of snapper and other species.
He is a permanent angler on one of the Bay of Island's top game boats for the Bay of Islands Juniors Tournament and has won the Rotokauri School Fishing Competition in Coromandel before.
The Caribbean Zane Grey International Game Fishing Tournament ran from Wednesday, March 15, to Saturday, March 18, in the Bay of Islands. It was Dylan's first big tournament.
He caught the winning bill fish with a 37kg rod and reel on a Pakula lure.