A fisherman has been flown to Whakatane Hospital after being impaled by a marlin's bill.

A rescue helicopter was called out to Waihau Bay at 11.30 this morning to pick up the injured 55-year-old.

He and two others had caught a marlin, but while trying to get the fish into the boat the man was impaled by the marlin's spear-like bill through his lower leg.

It took the boat an hour and a half to get back to Waihau Bay, where it was met by emergency services.

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St John paramedics stabilised the man at the Waihau Bay Fire Station.

He was then flown to Whakatane Hospital for further treatment.

The Hamilton man is this afternoon in a stable condition in the hospital's emergency department.