Nicky Sinden 'the fishing chick'

Nicky sits down with Gather Magazine to talk about life as a siren of the sea. 

Freshly​ ​minted​ ​with​ ​a​ ​world​ ​record,​ ​Nicky​ ​Sinden​ ​has​ ​every​ ​reason​ ​to​ ​smile​.​ ​There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​recent​ ​marriage proposal​ ​and​ ​a​ ​skipper’s​ ​qualification​ ​too.​ ​2017 ​was​ ​special.​ ​But​ ​when​ ​you​ ​hear​ ​the​ ​backstory​ ​to​ ​this talented​ ​Mangawhai​ ​resident,​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​help​ ​feeling​ ​she’s​ ​manifested​ ​the​ ​good​ ​stuff,​ ​and​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​catchy​ ​way to​ ​be.

Fishing​ ​began​ ​as​ ​a​ ​headstrong​ ​toddler,​ ​but​ ​stardom​ ​followed​ ​much​ ​later.​ ​She​ ​was​ ​brought​ ​up​ ​spending summers​ ​on​ ​a​ ​family-owned​ ​island​ ​off​ ​the​ ​Bay​ ​of​ ​Plenty​ ​coast,​ ​fishing​ ​and​ ​boating​ ​at​ ​every​ ​chance.​ ​In​ ​2010, she​ ​applied​ ​and​ ​won​ ​a spot to compete as an ​apprentice​ ​role​ ​on​ ​Matt​ ​Watson’s​ ​​‘The​ ​ITM​ ​Fishing​ ​Show.’​​ ​Generating​ ​strong interest​ ​from​ ​women​ ​of​ ​all​ ​ages,​ ​Nicky​ ​took​ ​the​ ​plunge,​ ​ditching​ ​a​ ​well-paid​ ​marketing​ ​job​ ​to​ ​start​ ​her​ ​own show.​ ​Armed​ ​with​ ​a​ ​burning​ ​hunger​ ​to​ ​run​ ​her​ ​own​ ​business,​ ​along​ ​with​ ​selling​ ​her boat and vehicle ​to​ ​kick​ ​it​ ​into gear,​​ she​​ now​​ creates,​​ produces​​ and​​ hosts​​‘TradeZone ​Addicted​​ to​​n Fishing’​​​ on​ ​Prime​​ TV.​ ​Nicky​ ​is​​ well​​ in to​​ her sixth season​ ​of​ ​filming​ ​and​ ​success​ ​is​ ​flowing.​ ​Each​ ​week​ ​a​ ​local​ ​fishing​ ​legend​ ​shares​ ​her​ ​boat,​ ​and​ ​filming captures​ ​very​ ​raw​ ​and​ ​real​ ​moments​ ​of​ ​life​ ​on​ ​the​ ​briny.

Funding​ ​is​ ​hard.​ ​NZ​ ​on​ ​Air​ ​has​ ​never​ ​supported​ ​fishing​ ​shows,​ ​so​ ​it’s​ ​entirely​ ​backed​ ​by​ ​generous​ ​sponsors and​ ​Nicky​ ​herself.​ ​But​ ​sheer​ ​passion,​ ​hard​ ​work,​ ​and​ ​that​ ​positive​ ​manifesting​ ​mentioned​ ​earlier​ ​have​ ​paid off.​ ​​​The​ ​numbers​ ​stack​ ​up;​ ​the​ ​formula​ ​works​ ​–​ ​social​ ​media​ ​alone​ ​shows​ ​a​ ​fierce​ ​following​ ​of​ ​about 97,500​ ​people.

However,​ ​when​ ​the​ ​show​ ​started,​ ​Nicky​ ​captured​ ​attention​ ​for​ ​playing​ ​in​ ​a​ ​boy’s​ ​world.​ ​Publicity​ ​declared her​ ​a​ ​beautiful​ ​tomboy​ ​taking​ ​on​ ​a​ ​male dominated​ ​sport.​ ​All​ ​that​ ​gender​ ​stereotyping​ ​nonsense​ ​has

    stopped​ ​now;​ ​it​ ​had​ ​to​ ​–​ ​there’s​ ​about​ ​50​ ​shows​ ​completed,​ ​a​ ​world-record​ ​broadbill,​ ​but​ ​more​ ​importantly –​ ​an​ ​undeniable​ ​obsession,​ ​respect​ ​and​ ​care​ ​for​ ​what​ ​she​ ​does.​ ​And​ ​yes,​ ​she’s​ ​unapologetically​ ​groomed with​ ​locks​ ​in​ ​place​ ​and​ ​manicured​ ​nails​ ​-​ ​but​ ​when​ ​that​ ​line​ ​goes​ ​tight,​ ​she​ ​fights​ ​hard.

    The​ ​social​ ​pages​ ​and​ ​TV​ ​footage​ ​is​ ​just​ ​one​ ​part​ ​of​ ​Nicky’s​ ​career,​ ​something​ ​her​ ​father​ ​and​ ​number​ ​one mentor​ ​refers​ ​to​ ​as​ ​the​ ​‘glitter​ ​and​ ​the​ ​glue.’​ ​The​ ​glitter​ ​being​ ​flashy​ ​pictures,​ ​big​ ​fish​ ​and​ ​catchy​ ​posts.​ ​The glue​ ​is​ ​the​ ​true​ ​graft​ ​behind​ ​the​ ​scenes,​ ​“People​ ​don’t​ ​see​ ​the​ ​zero​ ​catch​ ​days​ ​or​ ​preparation.​ ​There’s​ ​a​ ​lot involved,​ ​it’s​ ​not​ ​just​ ​fishing​ ​24/7.”​ ​She​ ​says.

    However,​ ​22​ ​March​ ​2017​ ​was​ ​very​ ​a​ ​glitter​ ​day.​ ​A​ ​date​ ​tattooed​ ​on​ ​Nicky’s​ ​heart.​ ​Setting​ ​her​ ​sights​ ​on​ ​a world​ ​record,​ ​she​ ​filled​ ​out​ ​the​ ​official​ ​papers​ ​and​ ​visualised​ ​the​ ​moment​ ​with​ ​utter​ ​faith.​ ​Most​ ​likely​ ​she got​ ​a​ ​ribbing​ ​from​ ​her​ ​colleagues​ ​for​ ​holding​ ​such​ ​a​ ​lofty​ ​dream.​ ​“At​ ​the​ ​last​ ​minute,​ ​we​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​simply tick​ ​off​ ​an​ ​episode​ ​and​ ​meet​ ​deadline.​ ​On​ ​our​ ​second​ ​drop,​ ​I​ ​hooked​ ​up!​ ​Because​ ​I’d​ ​planned​ ​for​ ​a​ ​record, everything​ ​was​ ​lined​ ​up​ ​to​ ​meet​ ​the​ ​requirements​ ​set​ ​by​ ​the​ ​International​ ​Game​ ​Fish​ ​Association​ ​(IGFA).​ ​It couldn’t​ ​have​ ​rolled​ ​out​ ​more​ ​perfect.​ ​But​ ​you​ ​never​ ​say​ ​it​ ​till​ ​you​ ​weigh​ ​it.”​ ​As​ ​it​ ​erupted​ ​out​ ​of​ ​the​ ​water, she​ ​knew​ ​it​ ​was​ ​a​ ​monster,​ ​“People​ ​watching​ ​the​ ​show​ ​see​ ​us​ ​catching​ ​marlin​ ​and​ ​swordfish​ ​and​ ​I​ ​don’t think​ ​they​ ​realise​ ​just​ ​how​ ​hard​ ​it​ ​is​ ​until​ ​you’re​ ​fighting​ ​one.​ ​It’s​ ​a​ ​physical​ ​and​ ​mental​ ​challenge,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​love it.”

    These​ ​species​ ​are​ ​not​ ​grandparents​ ​of​ ​the​ ​ocean;​ ​they​ ​have​ ​a​ ​short​ ​lifespan​ ​of​ ​about​ ​18-20​ ​years.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​at the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​its​ ​life​ ​–​ ​had​ ​it​ ​not​ ​been,​ ​Nicky​ ​would​ ​have​ ​let​ ​it​ ​go.​ ​At​ ​4.2m​ ​long,​ ​huge​ ​was​ ​an​ ​understatement, only​ ​the​ ​bill,​ ​head​ ​and​ ​shoulders​ ​could​ ​squeeze​ ​into​ ​Nicky’s​ ​23-foot​ ​boat.​ ​Returning​ ​to​ ​port,​ ​the​ ​magic unravelled​ ​as​ ​the​ ​weighmaster​ ​cried,​ ​“200,​ ​250,​ ​300,​ ​350,​ ​361​ ​kilograms.”​ ​Nicky​ ​had​ ​just​ ​caught​ ​the​ ​largest all-tackle​ ​swordfish​ ​in​ ​the​ ​history​ ​of​ ​all​ ​females.​ ​Smashed​ ​it​ ​by​ ​17kgs.

    This​ ​gutsy​ ​piece​ ​of​ ​news​ ​went​ ​global​ ​and​ ​timed​ ​perfectly​ ​for​ ​her​ ​next​ ​episode.​ ​But​ ​Nicky​ ​wants​ ​it​ ​known, “You​ ​don’t​ ​catch​ ​a​ ​fish​ ​like​ ​that​ ​without​ ​teamwork.​ ​Skipper,​ ​Dave​ ​Woodman​ ​was​ ​amazing​ ​driving​ ​down​ ​on this​ ​fish.​ ​Mangawhai​ ​local,​ ​Matt​ ​Haliday​ ​was​ ​the​ ​deckhand​ ​with​ ​a​ ​daunting​ ​role​ ​of​ ​gaffing​ ​this​ ​beast.​ ​It’s not​ ​a​ ​one-person​ ​title​ ​in​ ​my​ ​opinion.”

    Breaking​ ​a​ ​65-year-long​ ​record​ ​has​ ​opened​ ​many​ ​pathways​ ​for​ ​Nicky,​ ​“I​ ​believe​ ​every​ ​fish​ ​chooses​ ​its​ ​line. When​ ​you​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​the​ ​good,​ ​you​ ​bring​ ​it​ ​back​ ​into​ ​your​ ​life.”​ ​From​ ​here,​ ​she​ ​was​ ​nominated​ ​for​ ​‘The​ ​Old Man​ ​&​ ​The​ ​Sea’​ ​Trophy​ ​–​ ​the​ ​most​ ​prestigious​ ​and​ ​meritorious​ ​award​ ​within​ ​the​ ​fishing​ ​industry.​ ​Around since​ ​1958,​ ​this​ ​legacy​ ​piece​ ​of​ ​silverware​ ​gets​ ​awarded​ ​just​ ​once​ ​a​ ​season​ ​from​ ​the​ ​New​ ​Zealand​ ​Sport Fishing​ ​Council.​ ​Not​ ​many​ ​women​ ​have​ ​been​ ​on​ ​the​ ​cup​ ​before,​ ​and​ ​she​ ​feels​ ​grateful,​ ​honoured.

    Nicky​ ​is​ ​living​ ​her​ ​passion​ ​from​ ​Mangawhai.​ ​She​ ​rolls​ ​out​ ​13​ ​episodes​ ​a​ ​year,​ ​writes​ ​fishing​ ​articles,​ ​hosts corporate​ ​charters​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Pacific,​ ​she’s​ ​on​ ​the​ ​speaking​ ​circuit​ ​and​ ​keeps​ ​fit.​ ​“It’s​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​catch​ ​broadbill​ ​if you’re​ ​not​ ​strong,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​be​ ​squatting​ ​for​ ​hours ”

    Summer​ ​has​ ​peaked​ ​and​ ​she’s​ ​preparing​ ​to​ ​say,​ ​‘I​ ​do.’​ ​It​ ​will​ ​be​ ​a​ ​beautiful​ ​coastal​ ​affair​ ​in​ ​the​ ​North.​ ​But can​ ​this​ ​year​ ​top​ ​the​ ​past?​ ​While​ ​she’s​ ​marinated​ ​in​ ​all​ ​things​ ​fishing,​ ​she​ ​genuinely​ ​believes​ ​that’s​ ​just​ ​a platform​ ​for​ ​her​ ​love​ ​of​ ​people.​ ​Encouraging​ ​kids​ ​to​ ​fish,​ ​building​ ​up​ ​the​ ​sisterhood​ ​and​ ​enjoying​ ​her northland​ ​community​ ​-​ ​why​ ​can’t​ ​this​ ​year​ ​exceed​ ​the​ ​last?​ ​Game​ ​on​ ​2019.