PHOTOS: Father, son reel in monster 1,000-pound bluefin tuna off North Carolina coast


KITTY HAWK, N.C. (WAVY) – A Virginia man fishing with his son and a few friends recently made the catch of a lifetime, pulling in a huge 1,000-pound bluefin off the coast of North Carolina.

Josiah VanFleet, his son Zeke and three others boarded their 22-foot Grady-White boat at 4 a.m. last Wednesday and went 45 miles offshore in the Outer Banks.

Their plan was to have a nice father-son trip and maybe catch something worthwhile. What they didn’t expect was to hook a monster bluefin and spend around two hours reeling the big guy onto their boat.

A final measurement shows the fish at nearly 10 feet long and an estimated 1,000 pounds.

“When we were reeling the fish in, about three-quarters of the way through our reel actually broke and it would no longer turn. 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,” said VanFleet.

But he said they never thought about giving up during the struggle and the challenge was worth it.

“No, not once. No, we were gonna fight that thing until the end. Even if it took us into the nighttime. I mean, there’s no way,” he said.

VanFleet said the experience left him “absolutely in awe.”

“I had no idea – I was not expecting on catching, like, an almost 10-foot-long fish. I mean, I just never dreamed of it,” VanFleet said.

He said it took about two hours to filet the fish, and from now on, he’s going to go after smaller fish like yellowfin or mahi mahi. At least until they get a bigger boat.

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