The tiny snapper thought he'd met his last days and in his fight for freedom took one last stab at his supposed aggressor.

Little did the wee fella know, Auckland woman Katya Van Den Nieuwenhuysen was trying to set him free as he stung her with his spiky spine during his valiant struggle.

It put an end to a father-daughter fishing bonding session on a charter boat in the Hauraki Gulf, near Rangitoto Island, on Wednesday after the snapper's spine stabbed her wrist.

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter was sent after reports of a "life threatening haemorrhage" but there wasn't a drop in blood in sight when it arrived.


Van Den Nieuwenhuysen didn't realise such a fuss had been made of her plight as a doctor checked her out on the charter boat.

She said she'd bought a Grab One voucher for her fishing-mad father John Crouch who is visiting from the United Kingdom.

The day had been going well: she'd caught heaps of kahawai but only a couple of legal-sized snapper when she hauled in another undersize fish.

"It wasn't legal size and I was trying to get the hook out but couldn't quite manage it and asked Dad for help. During taking the hook out the fish must have flicked something, moved or whatever, and ended up spiking me in the wrist."

It started to bleed slightly and her dad suggested a plaster.

However, then the wound started to rapidly get worse.

"By the time I got to the skipper, the mark where the fish had jabbed me had increased in size and it just didn't look right. The skipper was going through the first aid kit and by the time he came back it was the size of an egg. I'm just freaking out because it's not normal and I'm like 'what do we do here, do we squeeze it, do we pop it?'"

The skipper contacted the Coastguard and the rescue helicopter was called, arriving in about 15 minutes.


Before she knew it, the chopper's doctor was on board. As it was too choppy to transfer her to the Coastguard boat the charter boat took her back to shore, and by then the swelling had reduced significantly.

Van Den Nieuwenhuysen said the fish's feisty fight did put an end to the day but they'd spent seven hours at sea already and she got to land a few good ones, which she left for others on the boat.

She was treated at hospital and an ultrasound ensured nothing untoward was left sitting in her arm. She also had a tetanus shot.

The experience hadn't put her off fishing and she was looking forward to getting back out again soon.