Nicky Sin­den Mak­ing waves in a male do­main

Bay of Plenty Times - - NATION - Ados Ad­dicted to Fish­ing ITM Fish­ing Show Fish­ing), Ados Ad­dicted to Fish­ing Ados Ad­dicted to Ad­dicted to Fish­ing Fish­ing. Ados Ados Ad­dicted to

Five years ago she took a “mas­sive leap of faith” and sold her Ford Ranger and her boat and in­vested that money in pro­duc­ing what was a suc­cess­ful TV pi­lot.

is now in its fifth sea­son, and is 100 per cent funded by spon­sors, cost­ing nearly $400,000 a year to pro­duce. It is a labour of love, and some years, they fail to break even. “I’ve had pay de­creases more than I’ve had pay rises, but I don’t care be­cause I’m so happy. There’s a lot of things in life way more im­por­tant than money,” she says.

It’s a sen­ti­ment that’s tat­tooed on the un­der­side of her right arm in Span­ish — vi­vere rid­ere amore (to live, laugh, love).

As the sea shifts, so, too, does the like­able Sin­den who gave up a suc­cess­ful Auck­land-based mar­ket­ing ca­reer to sit her skip­per’s li­cence and pur­sue her fish­ing ad­dic­tion, mak­ing 13 tele­vi­sion episodes a year.

Her first boat on the show was called The Kitchen, a hu­mor­ous play on where a woman’s place should be.

She’s been hugely suc­cess­ful — she has 114,000 fol­low­ers on Face­book alone — but it hasn’t been with­out judg­ment.

“I have had my chal­lenges,” she con­fides.

“I’ve had peo­ple post pho­tos of me and pick apart the way I look just be­cause I catch fish.”

Back in July, men said “vul­gar things” about her on the ra­dio, after she and friend He­len Hor­rocks joined in the an­nual tuna run at Wai­hau Bay, where Hor­rocks reeled in a record­break­ing 99.1kg south­ern bluefin tuna.

“(They said) I’d done this and that at the bar to cel­e­brate.” Si­den says, per­ceiv­ing the “100 per cent fab­ri­cated” com­ments to be fu­elled by jeal­ousy.

In an­other in­ci­dent at the start of the year, she found her­self in what she viewed as a “deroga­tory” video posted to Face­book by the

com­par­ing men and women fish­ing.

The show’s host, and her one­time idol, Matt Wat­son, said the video was satire and never meant to of­fend, but Sin­den, who was third in Matt’s Fish­ing Ap­pren­tice com­pe­ti­tion in 2010, was dis­ap­pointed.

“I don’t want to make a stand,” she says of be­ing fe­male.

“It’s def­i­nitely a point of dif­fer­ence (on

but it’s not what we’re all about.”

Grow­ing up, she was a tomboy, and spent her Christ­mas hol­i­days on Motiti Is­land, 21km north-east of Tau­ranga, ac­com­pa­nied by her two sis­ters, and dad (diver) Paul.

Sin­den’s un­cle, Don Wills, pur­chased 50 per cent of Motiti Is­land in 1979, with his brother, Ver­non, and friend Kevin Treloar.

They ran 1000 head of cat­tle on the is­land, be­fore buy­ing Treloar out five years later and di­ver­si­fy­ing into hor­ti­cul­ture and tourism.

Nowa­days, the brothers own a smaller por­tion of Motiti’s 607ha (around 10 per cent), and Don and wife, Gail, live half their time at Motiti, and the other half at Oropi.

Don es­ti­mates the is­land’s per­ma­nent pop­u­la­tion to be about 20 res­i­dents, but it bal­loons to 200-odd in sum­mer.

He taught Sin­den how to fish, along with all her cousins, by way of light, line fish­ing for mao mao.

He de­scribes his niece as “qui­etly de­ter­mined”, and while she might be Aus­trala­sia’s only fe­male fish­ing show host, he doesn’t be­lieve that’s why she’s suc­cess­ful.

“What she’s got that’s spe­cial, is that she’s hum­ble, and she mostly fea­tures other peo­ple and doesn’t try to star her­self,” he says.

His wife, Gail, Sin­den’s dad’s twin sis­ter, agrees, say­ing her niece is “very lov­ing and very car­ing”.

Gail and one of her 10 sib­lings, Felic­ity, ran Camp Ru­na­muck on the is­land for about a dozen nieces and neph­ews, with ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing trips to The Knoll, ab­seil­ing, motorbike and trac­tor rides, and rid­ing on the bon­net of farm wag­ons.

“It was a real dif­fer­ent life for kids. They had the ocean, and they also had each other,” she says.

“It was a very safe place for them, and they prob­a­bly had their first kiss on Motiti and their first drink on Motiti.”

On New Year’s Day, Gail and Felic­ity, fly­ing Is­land Air, would drop 40kg of lol­lies from up high on the airstrip, and it would keep the chil­dren busy for a cou­ple of days, hunt­ing for the lol­lies in the long grass. “While we (adults) were able to en­joy our New Year,” Gail quips.

Motiti is where Sin­den, now aged 33, caught her big­gest snap­per, and the place where she learnt to drive.

Fur­ther mem­o­ries in­clude play­ing Spot­light, and the sun telling her when it was time to get up, and when it was time to come home.

“It was amaz­ing,” she says. “That was my safe haven, and my heart and soul lives out at Motiti Is­land.”

She would love to have chil­dren of her own to take to Motiti one day. Twins run on her dad’s side of the fam­ily, and she jokes she “has the hips” for them, but is in no hurry.

“I can pic­ture my­self with a kid on my hip, or a baby in a back­pack catch­ing a mar­lin, and I think that would make great tele­vi­sion, and a lot of mums out there would love that.”

She mar­ried the owner of Lim­it­less Scaf­fold­ing, Matt Wil­son, 27, in March this year. They hired a cam­era­man on their hon­ey­moon in July, to cap­ture them pulling in two sword­fish in Flor­ida. The footage of which will screen on

in 2019. When she’s not fish­ing, she’s at home in Man­gawhai, hang­ing out in her “girl cave” (the garage).

“A lot of women have shoes; I have fish­ing rods. I have four pairs of shoes, but I have 40 rods.”

She and Wil­son are cur­rently con­sid­er­ing build­ing a new house, which would pur­posely ac­com­mo­date her rods and taxi­der­mied record-break­ing broad­bill.

The fish was mounted and sat above their tele­vi­sion for a while even sport­ing undies at their en­gage­ment party in 2017.

“It was at my house, but it was quite . . . in­tru­sive.”

It’s now on loan to Smart Ma­rine in Glen­field.

Her dad has the head of her sec­ond-big­gest broad­bill (199kg four years ago), mounted on the out­side of his beach house on Wai­heke Is­land and has a sec­ond replica of the 361kg broad­bill.

She keeps a lot of pho­tos doc­u­ment­ing her catches on her phone and flicks through them at speed. Un­der favourites on her cam­era roll are: “Fish, fish, my cat, fish, fish.”

Her home screen is noth­ing but weather and fish­ing apps.

The more fish­ing shows she does, she feels the eas­ier it gets, with the sea­son pre­sent­ing it­self.

“We can de­sign it to a cer­tain point, but it’s kind of like deal­ing with chil­dren, you’re deal­ing with so many vari­ables,” she says.

She’s a big fan of af­fir­ma­tions and man­i­fest­ing what she wants to achieve, as well as recit­ing a prayer to Po­sei­don (Olympian god of the oceans) be­fore she heads out on the wa­ter. “I be­lieve that’s helped me catch fish, as wacky as that sounds.”

She works out at the gym, say­ing: “My big­gest fear in life is not spi­ders, it’s not run­ning out of makeup, it is hav­ing to pass the rod over to some­one else when I’m on a fish.” Part of the ap­peal of

is she seeks out ev­ery­day fish­er­men and women from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and brings them on her show to make it in­ter­est­ing.

This sea­son she’s taken out 81-year-old Hazel Con­sta­ble, and 16-year-old “fisher chick” Macka Ste­wart.

Hazel skipped church on a Sun­day to go fish­ing with Sin­den and had “one of the best days of her life”.

Since then, the pair have been meet­ing up for “tea and scones”.

Teenager Macka used Sin­den’s “lucky rod” to nab an al­most 26lb snap­per in 5m of wa­ter one evening in Taranaki — her per­sonal best.

It was also the big­gest snap­per ever caught on

“I just felt re­ally priv­i­leged and hum­bled to be part of that spe­cial mo­ment, be­cause she will take that fish and she will get it mounted on her wall, and re­mem­ber that for­ever.

“If noth­ing else, the show pro­vides me with this amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with peo­ple of all dif­fer­ent ages and help make their dreams come true, and have a bit of fun on the wa­ter,” Sin­den says.

And she hopes the fun con­tin­ues into 2019.

One fish that she hasn’t yet man­aged to reel in is a black mar­lin, which she wants to land in New Zealand waters.

“That’s what I’m man­i­fest­ing at the mo­ment,” she grins. Ados Ad­dicted to Fish­ing is on Prime TV, Satur­day, 5pm

PHOTO / AN­DREW WARNER

Nicky Sin­den, host of the TV show.

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