The biggest kingfish speared in New Zealand has been caught off the Northland east coast, with the catch touted as a possible world record.
The 49.8kg kingi was landed by Auckland professional diver Nick Boulgaris at the Hen and Chicken Islands in Bream Bay on Thursday afternoon while he was looking for one he and companions could smoke for dinner.
"I'd set up trips to go to White Island (off Whakatane) or the Three Kings (north of Cape Reinga) because those are the places to spear good kingfish, but I ended up getting one at work."
After a marathon 20 minutes, Mr Boulgaris managed to pull the gigantic fish into a boat, with help from his mates.
He initially dived about 25m under water and did not see anything, but spotted the kingfish as soon as he surfaced. "They (kingfish) are quite curious. It must have followed me up so I quickly dived back in and speared the fish at the back of its head from about four metres.
"It took off like a racehorse ... it was a good battle and I was a bit knackered at the end of the fight."
The largest fish he'd previously speared was another kingfish that weighed 30kg which he caught at Kerikeri about two years ago.
Mr Boulgaris said a 40kg fish was the benchmark for a good catch and his focus would now turn to getting a monster marlin.
"I realised it (last week's kingfish) was a big fish, and when I looked at how long it was I thought it was around 40kg, but it weighed 49.8kg," he said.
A friend advised him to weigh the fish at the Whangarei Deep Sea Anglers' Club in Tutukaka, and paperwork has been sent to Spearfishing New Zealand to certify the catch.
The kingi will be prepared for mounting at Mr Boulgaris' home, between several stag heads.
Bob Rosemergy, president of Spearfishing New Zealand, confirmed Mr Boulgaris' catch was the biggest kingi landed in the country.
The previous record for a speared kingfish was a 47kg speciman caught in 1974.