Can Barker outfish his rival?

By Peter de Graaf

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Team NZ skipper Dean Barker with his catch and an enthusiastic Matt Watson.
Team NZ skipper Dean Barker with his catch and an enthusiastic Matt Watson.

Northlanders still trying to blot out the memory of last year's America's Cup - when Team New Zealand managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on San Francisco Bay - can relive the contest between rival skippers Dean Barker and Jimmy Spithill this weekend, hopefully with a better outcome.

The two skippers are again going head-to-head on the water, this time in a fishing challenge refereed by Far North extreme fisher Matt Watson.

The ITM Fishing Show host said he hoped the challenge would settle one of the great sporting rivalries once and for all. With fishing three times more popular than sailing, the contest would determine who was really king of the ocean.

The skippers would be put through a range of challenges to catch different species, from snapper to marlin, using different techniques. The first to hook nine of the biggest fish would take home the Ultimate Cup and, hopefully, restore glory to his nation.

"Both guys caught some excellent fish and just as Dean encountered tough windy conditions Jimmy started his comeback with some big deep-sea fish," Mr Watson said.

"There were some freakishly good catches in this fishing challenge, but the rules were pushed to breaking point, protest flags were raised and the dreaded time limit threatened to beat both of the anglers and rob New Zealand of the opportunity for redemption."

The Ultimate Cup will screen over two one-hour episodes tomorrow and next Saturday at 5pm on TV One.

Team NZ was one race away from victory in the 34th America's Cup in 2013 when Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill won the last eight races in a row to snatch the win.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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