43 Kg Kingfish - New Zealand

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There’s fish you can target with hard work and there’s fish you can only hope to come across one or two times in life. This was one of them. Kingfish has always been one of those iconic fish for me and hunting them was one of the main reasons to come to New Zealand. A few days ago I was invited to do a presentation of Agua Negra by @ange at the Sons of Tangaroa. It was one of the coolest meetings I’ve been to and that’s what lead me and @daviedupav to dive the area with some local legends. The conditions were as good as they get on this crazy pinnacle that dropped down vertical into more than 100m. We dove it for a few hours filming and shooting some decent fish in strong current until everyone was chilling on the boat. I decided to swap the camera for the gun and started diving the drop alone. There was tons of kingies but nothing amazing. My goal was just to shoot a fish above 20kg. I dove the up current side of the drop and quickly got surrounded by a lot of bait and stingrays. A few small kingies came in and then a good one came in from my right , just behind the ledge. As I lined up on this fish another one came just behind him. A much bigger one. The fish looked a bit nervous and I barely aimed before shooting, a good holding shot but far from stoning it! As I got to the surface my reel was almost spooled but even though the fish was pulling hard, it felt like I could manage it. That’s when it really took off! As I didnt have anymore line, the only thing I could do is to hold on to the gun as I was being dragged to the bottom. It didn’t pull me deeper than 10m but I had just come up from a long dive so I was really, really close to letting go of the gun. Thankfully the fish slowed down and I managed to come back to the surface. That’s when Brad got to me with a float in his hand. As we clipped the gun to the float, the line got tangled on the deeper part of the reef on a ledge that could be anything from 40m - 100m. After a long time swimming around to untangle the fish we accepted that it’s impossible. Both me and @daviedupav had a hard few days before and were not in shape, at all. I dove to 25m just to look and was nowhere near the fish. After a couple deeper dives I managed to see the fish lying down on the bottom with the line tangled on the reef. I used a drop weight to get as close to the fish as possible and shot it at 37m. The shaft didn’t get there on the first try so I swopped out for a roller gun, this time I shot from 38m and got the job done.We cut the first line and finally got the fish up after a process that took us around two hours. That’s when I truly realised the size of this fish. And yes, a part of me was prepared to accept getting a lot of sh***t from the guys if this was just your average fish. Ahah. Gladly it was not! This is the best example of how spearfishing is such a special sport. Just a couple people with a strong passion in common very quickly became really good friends who shared an exceptional day. The fish weighed in at 43kg without a single thing in his stomach. We also got it all on video. Once again, THANK YOU @ange , Brad and Jade for providing with us such memorable couple days! Looking forward to see everyone again! Thank you @daviedupav and @ange for the awesome photos.

David Ochoa