Blue Marlin weighing 273.75 kg wins Gisborne’s biggest fishing comp

By Taroi Black

Two brothers from Hawke's Bay have dominated the biggest fishing competition in Gisborne, catching a Blue Marlin and a Striped Marlin heavier than their competitors and collecting $10,000 in prize money.

It is a rare occasion in a competition such as this, run by Tatapouri Fishing Club, to have brothers on the same boat take out the first and second spot in the Heaviest Marlin or Tuna category.

The winner Karl Bidlake caught his Blue Marlin on a 37kg line. Weighing in at 273.75kgs, he says it was a huge shock.  

“Last year, we got nothing so we just came up to have a good time. Luckily, this year we’ve managed to crack it twice.”

Younger sibling Arron Bidlake took second spot with his Striped Marlin weighing 109.60kg, which was caught on a 37kg line.

Both brothers and the team around them were operating off the boat 'Stampede'.

He initially led the competition two days ago with his catch, both being the only ones returning to the dock with a marlin each.

“For us to get two in two days, we’re bloody wrapped,” Arron says.

There was another marlin caught on the first day of the competition, however, due to its size it was released.

Kyle Tupara, Junior Heaviest Marlin or Tuna champion. Photo / File

However, the real twist in the competition was provided by none other than 11-year-old Kyle Tupara who caught a 28.42kg Yellow Fin Tuna, the heaviest tuna overall in the competition.

Despite competing in the junior section, Kyle outshone the 3rd place-getter and 7 other adult competitors who caught tuna this week.

“We heard on the radio that some people were landing Yellow Fin Tuna, and we had the lure that is the 'one and only Yellow Fin lure', that’s what I call it,” Kyle says.


This fishing competition is the most popular event in Gisborne, managed by the Tatapouri Fishing Club.

Organisers have seen an increase in competitor participation with 268 anglers and 70 boats trolling for the heaviest fish off the East Coast.

Event spokesperson Mereana Quinn says the overall results among the two brothers and 11-year-old Kyle Tupara make this competition unique and special.

“So awesome for this whanau to be fishing on the same boat and coming out on top with both prizes,” she says.

“Absolutely awesome for a junior to be in the comp and take out a prize catch for his tuna. He’s beat 8 other adults.”