A big kingfish - barehanded!

Last updated 15:13 31/05/2012
Richard Hart (center right) with the kingfish he and an enthusiastic team of ‘mud larks’ chased and caught bare-handed in the Raglan Harbour’s shallows.
‘Give up and put your fins in the air, we have you surrounded!’

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Steve Darby was halfway through changing his child's nappy when news of a man and his dog chasing a big fish in the shallows reached his eardrums.

The latent fisherman inside couldn't resist, prompting him, his dad David and brother-in-law Dan Mills to bolt from their family gathering in Cliff St, onto the Raglan waterfront, across the footbridge and into a knee-deep pool half the size of a rugby field enclosed by sand. Here they joined local Richard Hart and his dog, who'd originally spotted the massive and elusive kingfish swimming within. The Sunday evening hunt was on.

"We were kind of going in a line, and the kingfish would have to swim through the line, so we were diving at it," Mr Darby said.

"You'd get a hand to it, but we couldn't stop it. Because the water was about knee-deep we couldn't keep up, so we were running along the sand to catch up, then diving in off the side of the lagoon."

The grown men kept this up, fully clothed, for about 40 attempts. As Mr Darby's exercise these days consists of walking to the letterbox to get the morning paper, he was 'blowing' as the final assault started.

"We were heading it into the shallows, and instead of turning it kept going, so we rushed it. One person got hold of it and a couple more piled on. When we got the tail it was all over."

The men, now triumphant with their catch in hand, strode through the skateboard bowl and across the footbridge, showing off their catch to fishermen passing by in a boat. The fish later weighed in at 24.5kg.

"I was thrilled," Mr Darby said. "Last night I felt like a little kid again. We were running around whoop-whooping and fist pumping - it was awesome."

Mr Hart said he would smoke the kingfish, then share the spoils. -Waikato Times

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