Paul Laskovski was praying for an Orthodox Easter miracle and the fishing gods duely delivered on Thursday with a debut blue fin tuna.
He'd been chasing for years and swore last time he went fishing would be his last.
But he emerged from retirement early Thursday at the urging of good mates Nikolas Lyovic (Little Nikki) and Steve Stefanovski to reap the rewards of maintaining the faith.
"He doesn't like it when it gets too cold," Little Nikky explained. "But we coaxed him out of bed. Conditions were perfect, no wind and on the way we passed this boat and on the side it said 'bluefin'. It had to be a sign.
"Guess you could say it was all down to me."
Steve, who featured in Fish of the Week with a bluefin of his own on March 3, reckon's he had a lot to do with it too.
"I've been showing him how it's done for years," he joked. "Something had to rub off eventually."
Indeed Paul was involved in a double hook-up with Steve back in March.
"Yeah, mine broke off so I had to watch, but that's fishing," Paul said.
"Mine was bigger than Steve's by the way."
It took Paul 15 minutes to land and he reckons by the end he was knackered.
"Eventually I was just sitting down pulling on the rod. Steve ended up getting it out of the water by hand.
"I think the fitness leaves a bit to be desired."
The trio fish at a secret rock shelf location they prefer to describe as being somewhere between Port Stephens and Wollongong.
"You never know what you're going to get off it," Steve said. "I've got bluefin and a jew off there, a mate got a mac tuna a couple of weeks ago. It goes all right."
The boys were fishing Thursday, but come this Friday, Saturday and Sunday they reckon it's gonna be all church as the Macedonian community celebrates Orthodox Easter.
"This fish has a lot of meat on it and we'll be sharing it round," Paul said. "Sashimi, tuna steaks, you name it we do it."
There's been some nice bream moving into the Nelson Bay estuary," according to Paul "Ringo" Lennon, from Fish Port Stephens Estuary Charters.
"Quite a lot of flatties around too. The water is still warm. Jack Hammond got a 90cm fish through the week.
"Been a fair few surface fish in the bay - tailor, leaping bonito, mac tuna, frigate mackerel, the odd 20kg long tail popping up.
"They're pretty flighty but early morning when there's less boat traffic round is the time to target them with small metals, 5g-15g. Any bigger they won't touch."
It's a prime time for tuna off the rocks as our Fish of the Week winner proves, and Ringo concurs.
"There's a lot of guys live baiting for long tail, mac tuna and the odd cobia from Boat Harbour up to Tomaree.
"We've seen a push of really nice water come in this week so we should see some more cobia about."
Plenty of snapper coming off the inshore reefs and around the islands outside Port Stephens.
"One guy got an 11kg snapper this week trolling for kingfish in the middle of the day," Ringo said.
There's been a bit of mullet movement along the beaches, but Ringo reckons it won't really get rolling until we get some big westerlies.
"Same with the luderick and bream," Ringo said. "The mullet usually go first followed by bream and luderick - anytime from late March usually through to the end of May.
"Ocean beaches meanwhile prove to be happy hunting grounds for whiting and bream in the gutter and the odd jew after dark following the mullet."
This weekend is looking very fishable both inside the estuaries and out.
"Looks like pretty gentle weather, with reasonable mornings before the NE hits up in the arvo," Ringo said.
"That will make it suitable to fish everywhere - get up early and head offshore before its starts to puff, then you can head home with it."
It's game on this weekend as two local heavyweight fishing clubs - Teralba Lakesiders and Charlestown Anglers - go head to head in the inaugural Interclub Challenge.
With bragging rights and nearly a $1000 in prize money including seven trophy species, it's big and going to get bigger, according to Teralba Lakesider spokesperson Randal Mason.
"Normally I'd say I'm confident against these guys, but the conditions point to it being very fishable offshore this weekend, and Charlestown has the edge on us in that department.
"But our estuary guys are guns and they fish all the time so I'm backing us in. The Charlestown guys will have to dust off a few cobwebs."
Fishing kicks off Friday 3pm with weigh-in 3pm at Teralba Bowling Club.
In other big news, Teralba Lakesiders have just finished the final touches to their new cleaning table at the bowlo.
"It's the best cleaning table in Lake Macquarie," Randal said. "Fully financed and constructed by club members."
The combined East Coast Classic and Australian International Billfish Game Fishing Tournaments were run and done out of Newcastle in fantastic conditions last weekend. Full results and details next week.