A retired Auckland farmer has fulfilled a 40-year-old quest and reeled in a monster marlin - an event he's described as the ''thrill of a lifetime''.
Barry Pollard landed the estimated 80kg striped marlin earlier this month near the Bay of Islands and says his ''bucket list'' is now complete.
The 83-year-old, who lives in Glendowie's St Andrew's Retirement Village with wife Verna, has always been a keen fisherman but the ultimate catch has always eluded him.
''Every fisherman aspires to catch that marlin at some point in their life,'' Pollard said.
''There's an awful lot of people that go through their whole life and never catch one. Then there's those people who might catch three. I'm 83 now and I've got one. It's the pinnacle of my career.''
Fighting the giant fish was the highlight for Pollard.
''To see the marlin leaping out of the water and tail walking was a thrill of a lifetime.
''I think I'm done now. I've caught the big one so that's the end of my bucket list.''
Pollard hooked the huge fish using a 24kg line on a 30-year-old Penn nine bar zero reel and rod.
He had more than 400 metres of line out and both angler and crew followed their nimble nemesis for almost an hour before it was reeled in.
''It's the nearest to death I've ever been. I was nearly dead and so was the fish.
''My son reckons it was the nip of medicinal whiskey that revived me.''
Pollard's no stranger to adventure. To celebrate his 81st birthday he decided to tackle the Auckland Harbour Bridge climb.
He credits his stamina to working out at the village gym for an hour, six days a week.
The exact weight of the marlin is still being hotly debated.
''My son reckons about 80kg, but to me it felt like a tonne - it has to have been at least 100kg,'' Pollard said.
''One thing is for sure, the weight will keep going up each year.'' http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/66233 ... tch-completes-bucket-list