Tauranga angler catches 434.5kg black marlin

Jarryd Craven fought for hours to bring a massive 434.5kg marlin to shore. By the time the fight was over, it was past midnight.

The Tauranga angler hooked the monster marlin about 5pm on Saturday, taking more than two hours to haul the fish to his boat and finally getting to the weigh station about midnight.

The “phenomenal” and rare feat is believed to be a new Tauranga Sport Fishing Club record and the biggest black marlin hooked at the club in nearly 60 years.

Craven said he was trolling live baits east of Motiti Island with his father and partner on Sunday when they saw a large marlin “thrashing through the schools of fish” just before 5pm.

Fishing with his Tiagra 130 big game reel rod and live kahawai bait, Craven threw a couple of lines in and hooked up to a black marlin.

“From there it was about two and a half hours before we landed it,” he said.

“We had it on the leader four or five times but just couldn’t quite get it to the boat.

“My partner Laura didn’t really know how to drive the boat so I was jumping up working the throttle while the old man was trying to work the leader.

“We couldn’t get it on board the boat, which was a bit of a mission.”

Another fisherman came around from Astrolabe Reef to help out, Craven said.

“He actually stripped off and jumped in the water and swam through in the dark. We probably owe him a bottle of whisky or something,” Craven joked.

In the end, he said, they had to tow the fish to shore.

“I think we got in about midnight. It was a bit of a late night by the time we weighed in and all of that.”

The black marlin weighed in at 434.5kg.

“It was pretty crazy. We picked it at about 300 kilos when we got it to the boat but we could only see half the fish, being nighttime. Then we got it on to the pier and only really then just noticed the sheer size of it.”

Craven said he believed it was a club record.

“I think it’s about 10 kilos short of the national record. Just looking at the board, the previous club record was 1964. It’s kind of held its weight for a few years.”

After reeling in the big one, Craven said his body was a bit sore the next day.

“My shoulders and back definitely needed a bit of Deep Heat,” he joked.

But he said he was “pretty stoked” to catch a black marlin.

“It’s pretty special to get a fish like that. Not many people get that chance in their lifetime. Even just getting a black marlin, in general, is quite a hard feat. It’s definitely not the most common fish out of the marlin species.

“I’m over the moon. I kind of really haven’t come to grips with it, to be honest.”

He said the plan was to mount the marlin’s head on the club’s walls and smoke the rest of it.

“I think that way nothing goes to waste, which is good.”

Club committee volunteer Louise Stewart said it was a big feat to try to haul the giant marlin from the pier to the weigh station in the middle of the night.

But Stewart said once word got out about the big fish, many anglers – including some from the four-day Stoney Creek One Base tournament that had wrapped up on Saturday – turned up to help out.

“There were about 10 or 12 guys there with ropes to help get it off the boat.”

The fish was so heavy one of the tyres blew on the trolley while they were trying to haul the marlin from the pier to the weigh station, she said.

“We finally got it to the weigh station after 12am and hung it up … It was the biggest fish I’ve ever seen in my life.

“To be pulled to the Tauranga Sports Fishing Club weigh station is pretty phenomenal.”

Stewart said black marlin were “very rare” to catch.

“The fact they were able to land it, get it to the boat and come all the way back in. It’s not something that everybody can catch.”

Club manager Barry Brown said it was fantastic to know that kind of fish was out there swimming in Tauranga’s waters.

“They’re just elusive and hard to get. But when you do get one you’ve got to celebrate.

“It’s good for all of the club members to know when they go out there, there’s always that opportunity, that chance of catching the big ones.”

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