Josiah VanFleet had caught some fish before, but none like the 114.5-inch bluefin tuna he had to get onto his 23-foot 2007 Grady-White 225 Tournament after he, his friends and his 9-year-old-son reeled it in off North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The scales at Oregon Inlet were broken, so they could not get an official weight, but two local Coast Guard members measured the fish’s length and girth and estimated its weight at about 1,000 pounds.
It took Van Fleet and his crew 2.5 hours to land the tuna, and in the middle of the fight they had to put the line onto another reel when the first reel broke. Once they’d harpooned the fish, they needed help from three crew members of an accompanying boat to help pull it onto their boat.
According to the Department of Environmental Quality, North Carolina’s current state record is 877 pounds for a bluefin caught in 2017 in Oregon Inlet.
Because the VanFleet fish was not weighed, and because it was fought by multiple people on the boat, it does not count as an official record. VanFleet did not seem to care. “Not bad for our first Bluefin,” he wrote on Facebook. “For those of you who are worried about us, we do have plans of getting a bigger boat.”