Since 2019, Greg Potter has spent nearly every weekend on the water kayak fishing.
Being new to game fishing and after being inspired by well-known kayak fisherman Kerry Flowers, Potter set a goal: To catch his first marlin on a kayak.
Little did Potter know he would become just the third New Zealander to catch one from a kayak, and the first to officially weigh and record the catch.
After multiple cancelled fishing trips and six months of no billfish, Potter made his way down to the East Cape just over a week ago.
“I had the perfect weather forecast. I just had to go out there and catch the fish,” the 25-year-old said.
Three days into his trip, the West Aucklander was down on his luck after his only would-be catch got away.
For hours he wrestled with the marlin, managing to get it within 10 metres of his craft before the line snapped.
Devastated, Potter, who was in a “bad shape”, decided to call it quits because he was mentally and physically drained.
But after a sleep he couldn’t help himself, and went back out for one final day of kayak fishing.
After catching a live bait, he started paddling out to the blue water. Moments later he heard his line click and knew something was up.
Potter’s line then started screaming. He turned around and spotted something which he had never seen before.
“This marlin came flying out of the water, and it was jumping straight towards the kayak at full speed.”
“I was just blown away” Potter told the Herald.
“I’m hanging on for dear life to this rod and this fish is just giving me a play ride and the kayak was just flying in the water.”
Potter’s main task was to get the leader on the reel so he was able to say he caught the marlin.
At a second attempt, Potter got the leader on the reel.
“I was screaming like a little girl, I was stoked,” Potter said.
However that was not the end of it, after a few hours in a game of tug of war with the fish, he was towed 15 meters offshore.
The lengthy wrestle left him physically and mentally drained, as well as suffering cut and blistered hands, and losing feeling in his forefingers.
“I was just elated that all those feelings of pain went away.
“There were a lot of emotions ruining through my mind during that fight.”
The gruelling catch saw Potter needing a helping hand, with nearby local boatie Elwood Higgins lending a much-needed hand to gaff the marlin.
“Seeing that marlin come up next to the kayak was just incredible,” he said.
After a few photos with his catch, Potter made his way to the local game fishing club.
Officially the striped marlin weighed in at 94.2kg.
To Potter’s surprise he was greeted by locals, boaties and other game fishermen who he had met on his four-day trip.
“It was so special to me that those people were so interested in it.”
His achievement made Potter the third person in New Zealand to capture a marlin from a kayak, and the first person in New Zealand to land a marlin caught from a kayak and officially weigh and record the catch.
Coming to terms with the day he had just gone through, Potter managed to get one hour of sleep before making the six-hour drive back to Auckland.
Over his four-day fishing trip, he spent 27 hours on the water.
A week and a half on Potter says he is only just coming to terms with his achievement.
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