Water temperatures of up to 23C meant anglers in the annual Whakatane One Base fishing tournament enjoyed one of the best marlin seasons in 10 years.

Four marlin – two blue marlin and two striped marlin – were landed, the largest being 201kg, as well as a 77kg big eyed tuna. The largest yellow tail kingfish was 38kg and the largest snapper 10.57kg.

President of the Whakatane Sportfishing Club, Peter Jenkins, said the warm sea had not just brought regular big game fish like marlin, but species usually found in more northern waters.

“Everything moves with the warmer water, what we call blue water and this has seen fish like mahi mahi caught here, and we have even sighted wahoo, which are basically a tropical fish.”

Nearly 300 anglers from around New Zealand took part in the One Base tournament, with several sizable launches visiting from Tauranga to compete.

Nearly $130,000 in prizes were up for grabs and Mr Jenkins said it was fantastic to see the level of support the tournament enjoyed.

“We are not in a major centre, but we still have three and a half thousand members, so the club is going strong while many others around the country are seeing declining numbers,” he said.

– Rotorua Daily Post