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Wanganella Banks

I sent a couple of mates a text back in February about doing a trip to the Wanganella's in May, with the pretext of getting in the water with some Stripped Marlin, and if we were lucky enough, to shoot one. It was a 48 hour trip to get there and the sea was not our friend! We had 5 metre swells and 25 kts on the beam, so not much fun for cooking meals.

The first day on the bank was undiveable and the fish weren't up anyway. The second day was marginally better but still no fish, so we decided to run off the bank to find some calmer water where we then came across a meatball with Marlin busting through it. Rochele Potter suited up super quick and got her gear set up and we put her into position for her best chance to spear one.

She entered the water and took a shot almost straight away but misjudged the distance with the clear water. She reloaded and re-entered the meat ball and took another shot at a fish, this time connecting, but the fight was short and she swam back to the boat with a bent spear. We straightened it the best we could and got back to the feeding fish. Rochele entered the water again and this time she was on. The fish dived a couple of times dragging both floats with it. When the fish was on the surface Rochele was dragged to the north at a great rate of knots. The fight was over in about 25 mins when Rochele put a second shot in and pulled the fish to the surface.

After Rochele's fish we had to wait till the fifth day to get back in the water. This time it was James Young's turn, but James was going to try something that had never been done in the world. He planned to spear a Marlin with a Pole spear. James entered the water about 30 metres from a meat ball and swam over and sat right in the middle of it. From the boat we could see him load his spear, duck dive then surface with a smile on his face and a shout, "He's on!" It was a great fight lasting 20 mins. James didn't need a second shot as he subdued his fish and 'ickied' it. Hats off to James, a world first!

A quick team chat and with a few hours of light left it was my turn to have a go at bagging a Marlin. We steamed up to the top of the bank to where Rochele had speared her fish and sure enough we came across a meat ball with Marlin going every where. I entered the water to be greeted by two marlin. I lined up the bigger of the two and took my shot, a bad placement, but that's what you get with a fish swimming so quick. My Marlin was on the surface most of the time, but it took 25 mins to get a second shot in and even then a third to finish it off. Back on the boat we couldn't believe what we hadachieved. It did sink in over the next 48 hours on our return trip to Mongonui though. Back at the wharf and with the fish on the scales it made the trip even more memorable. Rochele's Marlin weighed 100.1kg a first for a New Zealand lady and a potential world women's record. James's Marlin weighed 109.8kg a world first on a pole spear. And my Marlin went 137.8kg a potential world open record.

All movies are on YouTube under ROMP Films. Check it out and enjoy the thrill...

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