Jimmy Spithill was onto a big one. Over 400 metres below the glistening Bay of Islands sea surface, his bait had been snaffled by some monstrous creature of the deep.
His reel wasn't up to much, and the custom-made super-heavy 55 ounce sinker didn't help, but the cocky Aussie had somehow managed to winch the giant creature off the ocean floor.
The monster fish would surely be a telling blow in his battle with rival Dean Barker, the man the Oracle Team USA skipper crushed in a miraculous 2013 Cup comeback, and who he was now out to finish off in a head-to-head fishing battle.
But Spithill hadn't figured on the time limit. The finish was in sight but he'd taken too long fighting the fish, so it wouldn't count. On the opposite side of the boat, having just pushed the wind button on his electric reel, ITM Fishing Show host Matt Watson cracks open a beer and watches his line retrieve automatically.
"I know, it doesn't seem fair that one team gets to push a button and everything gets done and the other team has to do it all manually," he tells Spithill. Turns out the arbitrary time limits and technological mismatches of the real America's Cup are pretty much standard in the Ultimate Fishing Cup, the first episode of which screens tonight at 5pm on TV One.
"It was a case of the rules constantly changing," laughs Spithill. "Matt had a rule book he wouldn't let me look at. I thought there was a lot of rules in sailing but, I tell you what, there are a lot of rules on Matt Watson's fishing boat." An avid sailing fan, Watson came up with the idea to get Spithill and Barker out fishing shortly after Team NZ gave up a seemingly unassailable 8-1 lead to lose the Cup. A plan to get Spithill and Barker on board at the same time had to be scrapped because "they are not exactly best buds".
So Watson took each skipper out separately. The competition format mimicked match racing, with each skipper needing to win nine fishing challenges to claim the Cup.
"I said to him right from the outset 'the home team is making the rules buddy and you are up against it'," Watson said.
With his trip taking place in the better fishing month of February, Spithill did enjoy some advantages.
"It was an awesome trip," he said. "The coolest thing doing what I do is that you get to go and see some real professionals in their fields, in this case one of the best fishermen in the world."
Barker didn't get out until August, when conditions had turned. Luckily he had Watson's guidance and questionable rule book on his side.
"The rules are the rules," Barker said. "I certainly wasn't going to argue with them. I've got to admit I'm not a great fisherman but it is fantastic to go out and fish with people who know what they are doing that is for sure.
"You like to think that fishing is a lot about luck but coming out of that it left me with an understanding it is about skill."
Barker and Spithill will be in London next week promoting the America's Cup.
• The Ultimate Cup Barker v Spithill: ITM Fishing Show, TV1, tonight 5.00pm