The big fish weighed 110 kilograms more than the small boy but that didn't stop 7-year-old Hunter Scott landing the whopper and possibly a sport fishing record too.
Hunter, his father Adam Scott and his grandparents Keith and Christine Scott were out off the Nine Pin Rock at the northern entrance to the Bay of Islands, aboard the family launch Odyssey, when the keen fisherkid felt the unmistakable tug of a biggie.
"We thought it was a little shark but then Granddad shouted out it was a marlin. He saw it jump just after we hooked it," Hunter said.
And then it was game on - between a 133kg giant and a 23kg nipper.
"First the line was going out ... and then I did a few winds but then it took all of that line back out. I did a few more winds and Dad said it was 30m of line left so I kept winding and you saw this thing coming towards the boat ..." a thrilled Hunter said.
His arms took a beating during the one-and-a-half hour battle, and he was exhausted afterwards.
His dad and grandparents are thrilled the lad was able to haul in the fish by himself.
"The fish did a couple of powerful runs that tired it enough to allow Hunter to gain the upper hand," Mr Scott said.
"An hour-and-a-quarter later, after many arm rubs and drinks of water, and very tired, Hunter's work was finally done with the fish on the trace."
The Scotts had decided that if the fish was under 110kg they'd tag and release it, but when it came alongside they realised it was bigger. It weighed in at 133.4kg back at the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club.
The Scotts are now waiting to hear from the Sport Fishing Council if Hunter's fish is an under-11 "small fry" national record.
The Kerikeri boy has caught and tagged his fair share of sharks and kingfish since becoming hooked on fishing at the age of 3 but the shimmering prize, a marlin, had eluded him. The Scott family had made the most of a gap in the weather last Wednesday to give Hunter one last chance at bagging one before the end of the school holidays.
Back at the weigh-in the little legend's catch caused quite a stir.