When saltwater gamefishing, you never really quite know what you’ll encounter. In New Zealand this past summer there were plenty of surprises, but none as startling as the one Nathan Adams received in late February.
Fishing from his 6.8m trailerboat Western Break, he was trying for a long shot by slow trolling a single bridled skipjack tuna in shallow water near Houhora at the top of the North Island. A large black marlin had been seen in the vicinity of the ‘Shallow Patch’ and he thought it was well worth a try.
After two hours of trolling, he towed the bait into a mere 50m of water. Two massive explosions erupted behind his boat and his 37kg stand-up outfit buckled over, rapidly losing 500m of line against a firm drag.
They gave chase, backing down hard. Some 20 minutes later they were directly above the fish and found it had died and was lying on the bottom. Exerting all the pressure he dared, Nathan slowly lifted the leviathan and finally brought the fish into view. They were stunned, hardly comprehending what they were looking at. Beside them was the form of a massive Pacific bluefin tuna, a fish so big that it revised New Zealand’s angling history and is now an IGFA All Tackle World Record claim!
They could not even begin to lift the massive tuna into their boat, so enlisted other nearby anglers to assist. They finally got the head out of the water for the short run back to the Houhora weighstation. When the scales were pulled down to 335.4kg, everyone was aghast! The current All Tackle World Record is 325kg.
This story didn’t end there, however. A mere three days later while competing in the NZ Nationals, Nathan and his friend Alan Langdon were trolling a colour break not far offshore from Ahipara, on the North Island’s West Coast, when they got a strike. Alan picked up the rod and was amazed when a large black marlin poked its head out 15 minutes into the battle! After an hour-and-a-half the prize was theirs and hauled into the boat with great effort. Again the scales were pulled down hard, this time to 358kg, easily scoring them not only the largest fish in the competition, but also the most meritorious!
They completed their week with a further 10 striped marlin and a broadbill swordfish. What an amazing few days on the Western Break, but their incredible form also begs the question – what next?!