A big fish tale to beat them all

ROB MAETZIG
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2012
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New Plymouth fisherman Hayden Stokell with the marlin that almost dwarfed the boat

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Two young New Plymouth men are the toast of Taranaki's big-game fishing fraternity after landing a striped marlin that was almost bigger than their boat.

Even better, Hayden Stokell and his mate Nathan Richardson caught the big stripie after they'd spent the morning pig hunting and had bagged two pigs.

The sensational day's hunting and fishing began at 4.30am on Saturday when the two friends headed into rough country north of New Plymouth for a few hours' pig hunting.

"When we did get home, my dad told us he'd heard that quite a few marlin were being hooked up straight off New Plymouth. So we decided we might as well give that a go, too," Hayden said yesterday.

Between them the pair had Hayden's 3.65 metre (12 foot) bright yellow plastic dinghy powered by a 15 horsepower outboard, and only one game fishing rod with just one lure.

"You wouldn't believe it, but after we motored out off New Plymouth's offshore islands and chucked the lure into the water, we wouldn't have been trolling for more than 10 minutes when the marlin arrived," said Hayden.

"First there was a big splash of white water around where the lure was. We thought it might be a mako shark, but then the marlin's fin came out of the water all lit up like a Christmas tree.

"And then it hit the lure and just took off. Nathan was holding the rod, and you should have seen the look on his face as the fish kept jumping out of the water all over the place."

After a while the battle settled down to more of a tug-of-war, so the men simply turned off their boat's outboard and let the marlin do all the towing.

"Sometimes we were going so fast we had a wake behind us. But then the fish tired, we got it close to the boat, and with three or four good heaves we got it on board."

Hayden and Nathan took the marlin to the New Plymouth Sportfishing and Underwater Club at Port Taranaki where it tipped the scales at 89 kilograms.

A total of four marlin were landed on Saturday and one more was weighed in yesterday. But from a little plastic boat 10 minutes offshore? That sure is one for the storybooks.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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