The man who leaps from helicopters into the sea to wrestle MARLIN

Posted on 4:17 PM by Sameer Shah

Matt Watson likes to catch marlin. And he likes to catch them like nobody else.

He has jumped out of a helicopter on top of one, wrestling it for a while then sending it on it's way and caught one from a jetski before letting it go by hand.

And now Matt has gone one further: he has caught a marlin from a surfboard and had it filmed for his TV program The Ultimate Fishing Show.

It's no wonder he's been dubbed New Zealand's answer to Steve Irwin.

'There is always a sense of danger with the stunts that we try,' says the 33-year-old for big game fisherman.

'I still don't consider myself a television personality. When I have a camera in front of me it is almost like it isn't real, like I can't get hurt. I get what they call Kodak courage.'

When Matt hooked a marlin from a surf board, the giant fish towed Matt for 11 kilometres, at times reaching speeds that allowed him to stand up on the board.

The 90 minute battle ended when the intrepid angler released the fish. Matt has five people in his team who help him to carry out his outrageous stunts, but he is eager to point out that these dangerous stunts are only possible after his years of experience.

'I have been around big fish all my life as a big game fisherman so there is a lot of experience there," he says.

'I can assess how to behave with a big fish like a shark or a marlin.

'I take the comparison with Steve Irwin as a big compliment. He was fantastically successful.'

Matt has based a lot of his stunts on catching marlin which is considered by many game fishermen to be the pinnacle of offshore game fishing, due to the size and power of marlin, relative rareness and difficulty of capture.

'When I caught my first marlin it was something I will never forget,' says Matt, who has been fishing since he was three. 'It took me two or three years to catch one.

'Our idea are usually thought up over a beer and marlins are often a talking point.'

One of Matt's most outrageous stunts came when he was filmed jumping out of a helicopter and catching a marlin barehanded as the fish was near the surface.

'The idea for the marlin catch came out of the blue,' says Matt.

'We were filming for the show and we helicopter out to an island and the pilot told me how he used to drop guys onto wild deer and tie them up. I thought it was an interesting idea.

'We tried once and it was way off. We made five attempts in five different locations in New Zealand and after 11 months I eventually did it.'

' I got a few bruises but it was well worth it.'

Matt appeared on the David Letterman show earlier this year and is now hoping to bring his work to a UK audience

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