''The fish of a lifetime'' — that's how Lachlan ''Locky'' Waugh describes a 83.4kg yellowfin tuna caught off the country's northern tip.
The Kerikeri man hooked the yellowfin about 20 nautical miles off North Cape during the recent Houhora One Base Billfish and Sport Fish Tournament. It put up a 40-minute fight before he could get it on board.
It was the second heaviest yellowfin tuna caught on a 24kg line in New Zealand and the third heaviest in open line weight.
Waugh said the weight had been verified by Houhora's weighmaster and now he was just waiting for the record to be formally approved.
He was fishing in the April 7-10 contest with three mates on the private launch Bandit, skippered by Adam Livingstone.
Waugh said he'd caught plenty of fish but this one was something special.
''It's the fish of a lifetime,'' he said.
As he was talking to the Advocate the concrete cutter and polisher was out on the water again, this time off the Cavalli Islands.
"We just love the ocean and being out here," he said.
The fish was smoked at Houhora and given away to friends and family.
Waugh's catch netted the $1000 prize for heaviest yellowfin while teammate Mike Pest bagged $500 for heaviest albacore tuna.
The competition's top prize, $10,000, is awarded for the heaviest billfish.
That was won by Anthony O'Donnel on the boat Crazy Diamond with a 162.5kg blue marlin caught on a 37kg line. Kara Wood on Limitless bagged $5000 for the heaviest striped marlin, weighing in at 125.4kg.
The New Zealand record for a yellowfin tuna on a 24kg line, 86kg, was set in 1985 by a Whangaroa angler.