Napier boat Lexington and its crew have taken home the grand prize of $10,000 for the heaviest marlin at the Gisborne Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club Liquorland Marlin and Tuna Tournament.

Don Arnold reeled in the massive 223.75kg marlin with the help of skipper Alex Smith, Graeme Flett and Don's son Scott Arnold.

The marlin was the biggest hooked in the competition for more than 10 years.

The catch caught them all by surprise, coming on the first day of the four-day tournament.

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"We were heading up towards Gisborne, it was a bit quiet so we were all relaxed. I was actually having a snooze and then the next thing the reel starts screaming of its head," said Scott Arnold.

"It picked a bit of a fight with us and we ended up spending an hour getting it in."

For Scott Arnold, seeing his dad catch his first marlin was a very special moment to be a part of.

"There were four of us on board and all but him had caught a marlin before so it was great to see him bring this one home, even the fact that it was my birthday made it even sweeter."

Most of the competition was spent trying to better the first day while having one ear on the radio.

"We would be flicking through the radio every day seeing if another boat had bettered us," Arnold said.

Scott Willson from Gisborne boat Kracken took second prize with his 121.95kg striped marlin, also caught on the first day.