A father and son duo fishing out of the famous Oregon Inlet in North Carolina reeled in a Bluefin Tuna weighing nearly 1,000 pounds. The pictures and footage of this massive tuna will leave most anglers completely awestruck. For real, this fish looks like a tiny submarine being dragged into a boat that can barely accommodate a Bluefin Tuna of that size.
I’ve been seeing reports of the Bluefin Tuna bite being red hot off of North Carolina recently but I didn’t expect to see anything this impressive. Happy Fleet‘s Capt. Josiah Van Fleet was fishing with his 9-year-old son Zeke on a 22-foot Grady White. That’s a great boat. You can do A LOT of things on that boat. But it’s most certainly not a boat size I think about when I imagine someone reeling in a grander tuna.
The father and son duo from Virginia left the Oregon Inlet, North Carolina docks at around 4 am and ran 45 miles offshore in search of a giant which is exactly what they found. The tuna measured the Bluefin Tuna at 114.5 inches long and estimated it at 1,000-pounds which would make it a record in North Carolina, besting the previous fishing record of 877 pounds caught back in 2017.
It didn’t take long for them to realize how big of a fish they had on the line. In fact, the reel broke mid-fight and that’s when they knew it was on. Josiah Van Fleet took to Facebook and others shared images on Instagram of this once-in-a-lifetime catch. Check it out:
Josiah spoke with WAVY.com about the epic battle with this massive Bluefin Tuna:
Van Fleet knew they were into a big fish, but he had no idea how big. “When we were reeling the fish in, about three-quarters of the way through, our reel actually broke, and it would no longer turn,” Van Fleet told WAVY.com. “And so we had this 1,000-pound fish on the line. And we actually had to take another reel, tear off a ton of line real quick, and re-crimp both those lines together—all while the fish was on there. It was insane.”
Van Fleet said they never thought about giving up during the struggle. “No, not once,” he said. “No, we were gonna fight that thing until the end. Even if it took us into the nighttime. I mean, there’s no way.” The fight lasted two and a half hours, but it took another two hours to get the fish in the boat. “I think we are still in shock about this whole story,” Van Fleet wrote on Facebook. “I honestly think it was just a divine moment at just the right time. I definitely believe in prayer. And just when you least expect it this happens.” (via F&S)
I’ve never caught a Bluefin Tuna myself but I’ve caught some pretty large Blue Marlin and I can only imagine what the fight with this fish must’ve been like. And then once they got it to the boat it must have been a logistical nightmare figuring out how to tie it up and drag it onto the 22-foot Grady White, a boat that’s primarily used for fishing near shore and not in deep sea water for 1,000-pound fish.
In all of this, I can’t help but think about how the captain’s 9-year-old son just peaked. His fishing life will likely never get as good as it was that day. But he’s thankfully old enough to remember the experience with his dad for the rest of his life and as a father myself I have to imagine that this was one of the most special days imaginable for the dad.
To read up more about this 1,000 pound tuna caught in North Carolina you can follow any of those links above!