Marlin catch big winner of final tourney

By Doug Laing

Napier angler Keith Redman's first-morning 128kg hook-up was confirmed as the biggest catch in the final Coruba Megafish tournament on Saturday.

Easily the largest score of his fishing career, the striped marlin landed on the boat Cut n' Dodge on Thursday in the first few hours of the three-day tournament, was never seriously challenged for the major prize.

There were only two other fish within 100kg - a 118.4kg thresher, caught by Peter Scott, on the boat Bay Rum on Friday, and a 107.4kg mako boated on Saturday by Aaron Bidlake, on Shear.

As well as pocketing thousands of dollars, he became the last holder of the Coruba Trophy, first presented in 1995 and now expected to be retired to the trophy cabinet as the Hawke's Bay Sports Fishing club plans a new tournament without the major Coruba sponsorship for the first time in more than 35 years.

As with its other events throughout the year, the club does have dozens of other major sponsors.

The thresher and mako were the only two sharks meeting the minimum requirement of 100kg to be weighed in a tournament which had 443 registered anglers fishing from 124 boats.

By far the most prominent species weighed was albacore tuna, with 81 weighed, six from 11-12kg providing tough competition for the species' top prizes.

The first Coruba was held at Easter 1977, with 82 anglers and 37 boats, longtime competition stalwart Viv Bicknell told Saturday's prizegiving gathering, and hit a peak six years later with 248 boats and 754 rods registered.

For 14 years sharks were the only species in the Coruba Shark Hunt, as it was known, and from researching history Mrs Bicknell recalled 1985 when 213 sharks were weighed, and 1986 when there were 155.

"I am ashamed to give this statistic," she said, then reflecting on the 1991 introduction of other species and minimum weights for shark. The change of name from Game Fishing Club to Sports Fishing Club came two years later.

The biggest catch in the history of the tournament was a 417kg mako caught by John Cave, of Bay View, in 1999, and the most recent true monster of the ocean a 384.2kg mako caught by Graeme Bee, of Napier, four years ago.

For Mr Redman, Cut n Dodge skipper Dave Dodge and crewmates Neil Smith and Brian Jenkinson, there were no more to weigh after the marlin and Mr Smith's 8.23kg albacore tuna on Thursday morning, but they still fished the remaining two days for an array of smaller catches, including tuna species, sharks and kahawai.

Another marlin had come looking, he said, but it barely appeared at the surface before it disappeared.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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