What a palaver.

This was a fishy tale that had it all - scandal, skulduggery, pseudo-science, media scrums and monsters of the deep.

If Dean Young and his winning fishing crew thought the brawny haul of a 136kg marlin was a tough fight, they were in for a tougher one.

His catch took out first place at the Hawke's Bay Sports Fishing Club's Mega Fish competition at Waitangi weekend.


Six weeks later, it was revealed the contracted promoter for the competition, David Baty from OddsOn Promotions, was withholding the $48,000 Isuzu ute prize after Mr Young apparently failed a requisite lie-detector test. Such is the gamble with taking out prize insurance, should someone beat the odds and land a qualifier, the fine print comes to the fore.

Subsequently the winning crew was awarded its prize after the lie detector test was peer reviewed and deemed unreliable.

Now, there's a surprise.

What Mr Baty and his team of polygraph experts took six weeks to work out, the rest of us knew from the outset: polygraphs are the homeopathy of the truth game.

Testers in the inexact science may as well have hooked Mr Young up to a fish finder before inferring the former detective's pants were on fire.

The disturbing take-home message was the innuendo that cheating is rife in this game.

Thing is, it seems a little fanciful, not to mention draconian in this sport to be signing affidavits and checking for forked tongues.

Perhaps promoters should have broadened their line of inquiry to investigate whether the marlin had been caught weeks earlier, transported to the Young family's swimming pool and fed fat snapper and protein shakes.


Or, was it in fact a previous year's frozen winner, thawed for the weigh-in? Did the crew buy a 3D printer and synthesise the fish? Was it poached from Napier's National Aquarium?

A degree of scrutiny is fair enough. High prize money lures cheats. And besides, they say of all mankind's liars, fishermen are the most trustworthy.

But let's keep it real. This extravagant probe has no doubt curbed the enthusiasm of many fishers, most of whom aren't particularly fond of being subjected to the Pinocchio test and forced to drink truth serum.