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New Zealander spears giant marlin, the two go for a ride

April 21, 1997

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) _ A New Zealand fisherman took the wildest ride of his life after spearing a huge striped marlin during a fishing contest.

Chris Browne was aqua-planing at speeds of up to 11 mph for 90 minutes Saturday before the big game fish was reeled in near the Hen and Chicken Islands off the northern coast.

Browne said it was ``a spur of the moment″ decision to spear the 295 1/2-pound marlin, which at times dived to depths of 60 feet.

Browne managed to keep his head above water, hanging on to a 50-foot rubber cord attached to the spear, which stretched as much as 150 feet during the tow.

The speeding game fish towed Browne three miles out to sea before turning and weaving back toward the shore.

``At one stage I was very dubious whether I could handle it,″ Browne told TV One News. ``I was very lucky, really. I just hung on and once I realized he was starting to tire, I knew I had him.″

At 54, Browne is one of New Zealand’s most experienced skin divers. He has been towed by kingfish before but while marlin have been speared, none has been reeled in.

But Saturday’s catch _ believed to be a world record for a spear-fisherman _ won no prizes. The contest rules required each contestant to spear nine fish and to weigh in the biggest.

The marlin didn’t fit on the scales.

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