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Tuna caught off Tora leads contest

Local fisherman Richie Stewart recently caught a 63.8 kg tuna off the coast of Tora, putting him in the lead of a competition with $1000 cash prize.

Based in Masterton, Stewart was participating in the Pukemanu Fishing Club [PFC] tuna competition, which started on April 25 and will end on July 30.

The aim of the event is to catch a tuna and gut and gild it for weighing, in order to win prizes for the heaviest fish.

Stewart said he and his mate had been on the water for about six hours before they landed the catch.

“We were on our last run, and we got lucky,” he said.

“It took about an hour to bring in, but it was pretty awesome.”

While Stewart was catching the fish, his friend William McWilliam – “A man so nice they named him twice” – was driving the boat named Prospector.

Once the fish was caught, gutted and gilled, and wrapped in a towel, it was taken back to the club rooms in Martinborough, where it was weighed at the official weigh master station.

After the tuna’s weight was recorded, it was kept in a chiller for a night and then cooked and eaten by Stewart’s family and friends.

“It tasted pretty good,” Stewart said.

PFC club member Kieran Appelman told the Times-Age the competition had been hurriedly set up after he sighted a group of tuna travelling north from the South Island coastal town of Kaikōura.

He said five people have caught tuna off the coast so far, and he hopes there’ll be many more.

There are prizes for the three heaviest tuna caught and recorded: $250 for third place, $500 for second, and $1000 for first. The competition is still open to club members.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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