Clarke Gayford's new season of Fish of the Day starts tonight on Three and sees the intrepid First Man have an encounter with an Asian Tiger, be charmed by Mrs Asia, and possibly find a Hawaiian delicacy perfect for his nuptials to PM Jacinda Ardern.

This season Gayford visits Niue, Tahiti, Hawaii, Malaysia and of course around New Zealand. Each visit, he tells Spy, was unique.

The new season took a twist after an encounter a tiger on a far riverbank, deep in the world's oldest jungle in Endau-Rompin National Park, in Malaysia.

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"I didn't think our pre-brief about them was going to turn into a moment where the guides made us gather together as they saw and then we all heard it chuffing (growling) on the far bank. It then followed us along the river's edge but thankfully didn't choose to swim across. We had guides stationed on lookout front and back and they were pretty keen for us to leave as dusk approached," Gayford says.

This new season also sees Gayford get up close with everything from sailfish to octopus, while encountering all sorts of animals including night-diving with huge manta rays off the Big Island of Hawaii. In NZ he found a shellfish that he says most Kiwis would have no idea we have, described as the world's ugliest shellfish - an Asian delicacy also called a Penis clam, aka the Geoduck.

Clarke Gayford
Clarke Gayford

In Malaysia, Gayford met Mrs Asia, Shyleena Faridah Hope.

"She was quite the character and as it turns out a very good cook, who shared in quite a flamboyant fashion a family recipe for a local fish we caught. Good fun," he says.

"Malaysia was a real discovery for us, to have such great fishing up in that part of the world was surprising. The food experiences we had were fantastic, from the markets with things I'd never seen before, to roadside food carts to harbour restaurants - a fantastic experience."

Clarke Gayford and a friend from the Hawkes Bay
Clarke Gayford and a friend from the Hawkes Bay

It was suggested Spy should shy away from questions about Gayford's upcoming wedding to the PM - though the 42-year-old dad and fisherman - who balances the show with finding the best marine cuisine - confessed he had found a dish he loved in Hawaii that was fit for celebrations.

"A dish that stood out for its simplicity and taste was a traditional Hawaiian Poke dish with a modern twist. I was shown that it is perfect to use with fresh Kingfish and incredibly delicious, my mouth's watering thinking about it."