Fishing: Nicky exceeds wildest expectations

Nicky Sinden.
Nicky Sinden.

When Nicky Sinden set out to christen her new vessel by catching a swordfish, the last thing on her mind was a world record.

However, the accomplished fisherwoman who is both host of the Ados Addicted to Fishing TV show as well as a card-carrying member of the Ahipara Gamefish Club, had her wildest expectations exceeded when she reeled in a world-beating 361kg broadbill off the Whangaroa coast in March.

Nicky Sinden (right) with the 361kg broadbill she caught off Whangaroa earlier this year to break a longstanding international game-fishing record. Photo / Supplied
Supplied
Nicky Sinden (right) with the 361kg broadbill she caught off Whangaroa earlier this year to break a longstanding international game-fishing record. Photo / Supplied Supplied

"We ventured out wide and on the second drop I wound in the slack and, bam, it was game on!" she said of the battle.

It wasn't until the fish porpoised out of the water that I started to appreciate what I was dealing with as I saw the gigantic two-metre-long bill on the fish.
Nicky Sinden of the Ahipara Gamefish Club on her world-record broadbill

"It was an intense scrap on stand-up gear with more than 20 kilos of drag pressure on her throughout the fight. It wasn't until the fish porpoised out of the water that I started to appreciate what I was dealing with as I saw the gigantic two-metre-long bill on the fish."

"Mid-fight, a whale appeared and started to charge the boat multiple times but the deckhand was ready to throw some squid in the opposite direction to take its focus away from the boat," the Auckland-based Sinden said, adding, "With the whale seen off, I continued the scrap with excruciating pressure on my legs thanks to the stand-up fight."

Once caught, Sinden was unable to bring the fish onboard so had to get in the water and tie a noose around the 4.33m-long creature's tail before beginning the slow journey back to Whangaroa.

She put her achievement down to a team effort, giving credit to crew Dave Woodman and Matt Halliday who were aboard her Extreme 795 Game King vessel, Game On, for the historic catch.

Her fish ended up beating the former IGFA 60kg women's record of 344.2kg - which had stood for the past 65 years - by a "whopping" 16.8 kilos; and was also officially the heaviest broadbill ever caught by a woman.

The New Zealand record was previously held by Sandra Schick who landed a 277.9kg fish off Cape Karikari in April 2013.

The catch also gave Sinden the coveted NZSFC Old Man and the Sea Award (given for an outstanding angling effort epitomising the tale told by Ernest Hemingway in his iconic book where the protagonist Santiago fights a monstrous swordfish on a handline from a small boat).

Ahipara Gamefish Club membership secretary Lynda Matthews offered her congratulations for the feat.

"This is a fish of a lifetime. Not only is it a personal best for Nicky, but she smashed a 65-year-old IGFA record and reeled in the heaviest broadbill ever landed by a female worldwide!"

* Sinden will recount her battle with the massive fish on her show on Prime TV this Saturday at 5pm.

- Northland Age

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