Fishing Gamefishing

Reeling in the Records

With 253 records under their harnesses, Auckland wife-and-husband angling champions, Sue and Scott Tindale, have decided to reel back on chasing world records while they continue to focus on their conservation and research work. The Adventurer caught up with the duo to listen to the stories behind some of their most memorable records and to have a look at what is in store for them now.

Since Scott’s first world record in 2002, and Sue’s in 2003, the pair has articulated the fine art of fishing for International Game Fish Association world records. Fast forward 15 years, and Scott has obtained 103 world records, and Sue with a whopping 150. On top of this, the pair are the only New Zealanders to receive an IGFA Lifetime Achievement Award and have both been in the world top-ten a total of 39 times, with first places in every available category.

Their abundance of records comprises of a range of species in both fresh and salt water, and on tackle spanning from one end of the spectrum to the other. Among the 253 records, the more unusual ones consist of a 94.8kg seven-gill shark by Sue, and a 2.68kg goldfish which Scott caught while targeting trout. Other memorable world records include species such as a Pacific blue-fin tuna, albacore, skipjack, striped marlin, blue sharks, yellowtail kingfish, snapper and kahawai.

Sue told us many were caught on ultra-light tackle, with over 62 world records caught on a fly line. She said that with their strong, ethical angling practices and conservation initiatives, 65 world records were released live.

 For the latest 2015/2016 season, Scott was placed first three times in the IGFA Top Ten, including male saltwater fly, male saltwater conventional tackle and all tackle categories, while Sue was placed the second top female angler in the female-conventional-tackle category.

For Sue, catching a 21.67kg tope shark on a 1kg line has stood out as one of her more memorable catches.

“I learned the technique by catching stingrays on 1kg nylon to hone my skills. This worked out quite good as we had been approached by a scientist to collect DNA samples on stingrays, along with details on sex, weight, size and photographs. During this time we got all of the samples required and I learned to fish on 1kg nylon with ease before trying to catch the tope sharks,” explained Sue.

“The first world record tope shark that I caught weighed just under 20kg and Scott was teasing me, saying that I was a loser because I didn’t get a 20 to 1 claim. So we went out a few days later and I caught a tope shark weighing 21.67kg on a 1kg line which took me one-and-a-half hours to land.”

For Scott, his most remarkable catch was hitting the century milestone, also catching a shark on a 1kg line.

“One record that does stand out, however, is a mako shark that I caught on 1kg that weighed 91.2kg. This is because it was my 100th world record, and became part of my IGFA Shark Grand Slam, a first in the world. With this particular shark, I was approached by a scientist who had flown over from England to catch a number of different species of sharks for his studies, so I decided to target the world record at the same time.

“It took a lot of planning to target this fish. We first went out and caught fresh skipjack tuna for bait. We then went out on our boat, Red October, to go and find a suitable shark. We spent about three hours videoing the sharks and getting them used to the boat; I then chose which shark I was going to target and finally caught it. This meant the scientist received all of his samples, and I got a world record and a Grand Slam,” said Scott.

This shark is now in several research facilities around the world, with the jaw in the Natural History Museum in London.

But it’s not all about recreation; since 1990 the pair have been collecting data for scientists and researchers from all around the globe, ranging from the Department of Conservation, universities and NIWA, to collecting hundreds of samples for Te Papa and Auckland Museum fish collections. They are currently assisting New Zealand’s leading shark scientist, Clinton Duffy; with satellite tagging and photo identification of great white sharks. Sue said every week, she and Scott filter through an abundance of requests to take part in people’s projects.

“We usually do a number of different projects at the same time. For example, last week we went out to satellite-tag sharks, and at the same time we were videoing different species of fish and collecting different samples for the museum. After this, we raced back to assist in a necropsy on a great white shark that had arrived at the Auckland Museum. We often research what kind of bait to use and where to find the specimens we are looking for. We then go and catch our bait, make burley if needed, check the weather and decide on a plan,” said Sue.

The famous author, John Steinbeck, once said that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming. However, Sue and Scott clearly prove how research can go a long way with a meticulous approach to research, and strategy combined with tenacity and passion for the sport.

“So far this has worked pretty well and we have had success. All the records we’ve caught have been targeted, the only exception was the goldfish,” said Scott.

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