A young Northlander's first marlin has landed him a pending world spearfishing record.
Bill George, 23, from Kerikeri, was around the back of the Cavalli Islands in a "tiny" 14-foot fibreglass boat with his girlfriend Gemma Miller around noon on Sunday when he speared the 164.8kg striped marlin.
They had been towing a skipjack live bait for about half an hour when two marlin appeared, the bigger of the two offering the best shot.
Mr George, who was waiting in the water, speared it from a distance of about 4m. The monster fish towed him along the surface for about half an hour before diving deep.
He clipped the line to a bungee cord attached to a pair of buoys and, after about 15 minutes, freedived to 17m for a second, fatal shot. Then he had to haul it to the surface and, with his girlfriend's help, pull it into the boat. Water was coming over the gunnel as they dragged it on board.
Mr George, a keen member of the Port Valley Spearfishing Club, said it took about 45 minutes from the first shot to getting the marlin on the boat.
He had been spearfishing for six years but usually targeted snapper. Sunday was the fourth time he had gone out looking for marlin but the first time he had got one.
The pair took it to Whangaroa to be weighed in, thinking it was just an average stripey.
He knew it was a New Zealand record as soon as it went on the scales but it was only when he called a friend in Cable Bay, who holds another spearfishing record, that he learned it was also a world record breaker.
Mr George has started the process of getting his record officially recognised. He was thrilled to land a world record with his first marlin.
"It's pretty cool, I'm pretty stoked."
The boatbuilder, who works for Craig Partridge Yachts in Waipapa, had friends and family around on Monday night to celebrate - he was too dehydrated on Sunday - and plans to get the head mounted. Some of the fish has been eaten already with the rest destined for the smoker.
"There's a heap of meat to deal with."