The Hawke's Bay Sports Fishing Club's last Coruba fishing contest got under way in dramatic fashion yesterday when one of biggest marlin caught in the tournament since it was first held in 1978 was landed in the first few hours.
As if by design, the 128kg "stripey" was landed by Napier architect and first-time Coruba-goer Keith Redman.
He and Cut and Dodge skipper David Dodge, along with fellow crew Brian Jenkinson and Neil Smith, were back in the clubhouse for lunch on the first of the tournament's three days.
Toasting with a green one, opposite the usual bank of the sponsor's fine product, he said he wouldn't have done it without their help, particularly the skills of the skipper.
"The other guys' help was just amazing," Mr Redman said. "And Dodgey's driving was fantastic. I couldn't have done it without the crew."
It easily surpassed the next-biggest ocean offering of the 50-year-old's fishing pastime, a 10-15kg albacore at some time he can't remember, and had he been a member of the club one of yesterday's rewards would have been a club record for striped marlin, one member said.
The biggest striped marlin previously landed in the Coruba is thought to have been a 153kg specimen caught three years ago by then 20-year-old Hastings angler Nick Kirk, who was also not a club member.
Mr Redman paid the $85 entry fee because he, prophetically, thought it'd be "a lot of fun".
"It's a great feeling," he said after the catch, sure that even though a favourite to win at least $10,000 worth of the contest's $100,000 offerings, he will be out on the briny again today.
Yesterday, they put to sea at 7am, had the lines in the water 23 miles out with Cape Kidnappers just visible in the distance a bit more than an hour later, and had their first catch on the boat soon afterwards: an 8.5kg albacore for Mr Smith.
It was about 9.10am that Mr Redman felt the first haul on the 24kg line and he became involved in a one-and-a-half hour standing fight on the 6.5m boat, rough-riding two-metre swells for extra competition.
"My first Coruba ... so I feel a bit like I've robbed people," he said back at the club, convinced he'd earned his couple of days off at his business, RFR Building Design.