After more than 600 hours of patience, tenacity and planning, Whangarei angler Josh Roberts finally hooked the big one he's been waiting for.
Roberts hauled in a 146kg striped marlin last Monday, while out fishing alone on his 4.3m Stabicraft.
The 25-year-old project manager at Refinery NZ, said he dropped a live bait between Poor Knights and the Hen and Chicken Islands and patiently waited.
An hour and a half later, he had a strike and it was game on.
"It had a lot of fight in it, so I got the fish to the boat in about half an hour then tried to pull it in but failed because it still had plenty of energy left in it," Roberts said.
"It took off and did a big dance on the water so it was pretty impressive, then half an hour later I got it back to the boat again then had to put the rod down, grab the leader and pulled the fish up then managed to sink a gaff into it," he said.
Exhausted from his fight with the marlin, Roberts said the next mission was working out how to get the fish to shore, because there was no way he was able to get it into the boat.
"So I basically tied it up alongside the boat so it would drag through the water."
He said there was a bit of blood in the water around the boat and he knew there has been a few sharks hanging about so he didn't muck around tying it up and towing the fish in.
"I wanted to make sure that this thing came home in one piece before something decided to make lunch out of it," Roberts said.
Roberts then towed the fish into Marsden Cove marina where it was weighed and the celebrations commenced.
He said the reaction was pretty amazing and the first person he rang was his girlfriend.
"She was texting me during the day asking how fishing was going and I texted back saying 'I've just put the live bait in the water, fingers crossed'," he said.
"It was funny because the night before we were having dinner and I said, it's been 25 years and I think tomorrow's the day."
Mike Burgin from Top Catch Whangarei said it wasn't unusual to hook marlin of this size at this time of the year.
"The season goes through until June and can go even as late as July. Last week there was a major bite off Ocean Beach so they're definitely still kicking around."
The warm waters of the east Auckland current sweep down from the South Pacific islands during the New Zealand summer and bring with it large numbers of hungry striped and blue marlin to the northern half of the North Island.
Marlin can be caught anywhere on the east and west coasts from January through until June or July.
Now that Roberts has got a taste for hooking a biggie, he said he had no plans to stop hunting.
"The forecast looks pretty good again for Friday so I think I'll be out there again. I just love being out there on the water," he said.