112kg marlin heralds good season of fishing ahead

Doug Laing






Hawke’s Bay Sports Fishing Club member Joe Bicknell has been taking on the challenges off the coast for more than 20 years but few match of the latest catch — a 112.4kg striped marlin. Fishing from family boat Wahoo, it took over an hour to land the “stripey” east of Portland Island on Sunday, his first marlin in Hawke Bay, the 100km or so expanse between Mahia Peninsula and Cape Kidnappers. He says it’s a good sign for the season, which includes club annual feature the February 4-6 Megafish tournament, which he has both fished and organised. But, as with most fishing stories, there’s also a hard-luck story in tail, er tale. The marlin was about 6kg short of the club’s record for a 24kg line. Bicknell was initially more impressed by the conditions on the ocean, saying: “The water was looking really good closer to home. Lots of bait and birds, really nice water colour, and warm temperatures.” “It’s the best I’ve seen it for a while this early,” he said. “We are in for a good season.” Wahoo left Napier about 5am on New Year’s Day and after a day’s fishing, landing tarakihi and hapuku, stopped in Ahuriri Bay, Mahia, on Saturday night. They headed out early in the morning, and had been cooking breakfast when the rigger “went off”, signalling the success of the “good” lure made by dad Wayne Bicknell. “We knew it was a good fish,” he said. “Next minute we saw the marlin jumping out the back . . . We were pretty excited.” With “lots of aerial displays” and a close call as it went under the boat, the marlin was secured for Wahoo to head back to the club at Nelson Quay, Ahuriri, where the catch was weighed about 4pm. It was only last year that he first landed a marlin, off Raglan, on the opposite coast. That was a tag-andrelease job, but the latest has been kept for friends and family.