Kevin Flutey got more than a few baffled looks when he drove the country's largest fish from Northland to Tauranga over the weekend.
After the 5m long Marlin, weighing in at 483kg, was caught last Thursday near Houhara Mr Flutey was called in to make a replica of the mighty catch.
When he was asked to make the trophy of the fish, which weighs 10kg more than New Zealand's next biggest fish, his response was: "Yeeha."
"Then I started to wonder if it would fit on the trailer," Mr Flutey said. "We had quite a few looks on the drive down."
The Te Puke man, who owns Art of Fish, has worked as a marine taxidermist for the past 18 years - recreating many a proud catch using fibreglass and intricate paint work.
"I really like seeing the look on people's face when I hand it [the model] over," Mr Flutey said. "It's really something else."
It will take the 52-year-old about 90 hours to make the marlin masterpiece, which was commissioned by the skipper of the boat from which the fish was caught.
The marlin will be encased in a fibreglass cloth and covered with resin to create a mould. It will then be prised off and another layer of fibreglass and resin is placed inside the mould.
The second mould is then removed and carefully joined together to make a replica of the original fish. Then painting can begin.
It was attention to detail and knowledge of fish that made it a plausible work of art, Mr Flutey said.
"I'm trying to achieve a natural pose. It has to be a swimming pose with its mouth open and fins erect."
A keen fisherman, Mr Flutey said creating the right look and colours of the fish came naturally. Each year, he creates up to 60 replicas.
Asked about working each day in an atmosphere reeking of fish, Mr Flutey said with a chuckle: "You get used to it after so many years."
The fish becomes unusable within about four days in the winter and just one day in the heat of summer.
Mr Flutey does not usually travel to pick up the fish but he goes out of his way for the "special" ones to ensure they reach him in the best condition possible.
Mr Flutey's handiwork can be seen in game fishing clubs throughout New Zealand. He also made 80 fish, from a great white shark to a mackerel, for the Mountain to the Sea exhibition at Te Papa in Wellington.
And what does he do with the fish once the work is done?
"We [chop it up and] put it around our orchard," he said.
"Why do you think Te Puke grows such great tasting kiwifruit?"