The big one that didn't get away for one Hawke's Bay 12-year-old

Fish stories, usually the one that got away, have a reputation for stretching the imagination.

But 12-year-old Casey Moffitt, of Bay View, according to mum Renee, is struggling to believe her own story, about the 90.6kg striped marlin she caught in 150 metres of water off Cape Kidnappers on Monday.

Catches of "stripeys" in Hawke Bay are rare, and even rarer in the southern reaches towards the cape, and this one, that put up a 90-minute battle but didn't get away, is first over 90kg landed by a female Hawke's Bay Sports Fishing Club member.

"It's all surreal to her," her mum said. "She looks at the photos, she'll say that's a marlin, and I have to say: Yes, and you caught it. She still can't believe it, but I guess she'll have to sooner or later."

Casey first started fishing from the wharf, aged about two years. Photo / Paul Taylor

It came in a day's fishing on family trailer boat Finfinder with dad Hayden Moffitt and family friend Craig Dowling, each of whom has landed striped marlin in the past, but not in the Bay.

Casey, who first started fishing, from the wharf, aged about two years, was at the controls of Finfinder when the marlin was hooked on a 37kg line about 2.30pm.

It was her time on the reel, and the two more experienced anglers aboard decided it was her catch and she would have to do the work, helping only in the last moments as the catch was hauled aboard.

It was an anxious wait for the grandmum, mum and 10-year-old sister Jemma as Finfinder headed home, arriving at the fishing club, near Te Karaka (the point at East Pier) in the entrance to the Napier inner harbour, about 4.30pm.

Renee Moffitt said her daughter fishes whenever possible, but her biggest previous catch was thought to be a kingfish under 20kg.

She has competed in the club's annual February tournament the Megafish, but the family regards that as "dad's tournament", although it was Renee Moffitt who got the biggest catch of all when she won a boat in a lucky draw two years ago.

It was the second striped marlin landed in the Bay in eight days, with long-time club member and Megafish convener Joe Bicknell claiming 112.4kg specimen off Portland Island in the northern reaches of Hawke Bay on January 2.

Several were reported hooked from different boats on Tuesday, but by early afternoon none had been boated, the apparent increase in numbers being attributed to the chase for bait fish in the warmer currents being experienced this summer.


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