The crew of Captain John Cruise, Zack Foster, and Aaron Burr, messed around and landed them one of the biggest bluefin tuna you could ever imagine back on December 2nd in North Carolina, according to Carolina Coast Online…
And I’m talking 900-pounds.
It all went down four miles offshore of New River Inlet, and were actually in surprisingly shallow 50-foot waters, when the massive bluefin took the eight-inch long bluefish bait midway through the day.
And needless to say, the fish wasn’t going down without a fight.
Cruise, a 50-year-old retired Marine Corps officer who was stationed in nearby Camp Lejeune, recalled how it all went down:
“I knew it was a giant of a fish and we were headed for an epic battle when the tuna made a sizzling run of about 600-yards. We slowly closed the gap to the tuna, but it was a long, tough fight.”
In fact, the group battled the bluefin for 5.5 hours on Cruise’s 35-foot Contender charter boat, Pelagic Hunter II.
“There was almost nothing we could do except stay in the fight, a down and dirty brawl with an immense fish. The fish went real deep, and I figured the only way I could get it up and near the boat was to sort of ‘plane’ it toward the surface using the boat.”
During the battle, a pod of dolphin came close to the bluefin, and they were concerned that one of them would rub against the 130-pound test braided line and break it, but Cruise was able to get the tuna near the surface, tightening the reel drag, and the tuna was pulled 15 feet away from the boat.
“We got a good harpoon shot into the tuna’s shoulder, and got a gaff in him, but things went bad. The gaff pulled out, and another gaff got knocked away by the fish. Then the fishing line broke and the only thing keeping us tied to the tuna was the 1,500-pound harpoon line.
We broke two hoists getting the fish inside the Contender. But we finally dragged it in headfirst, so only about a quarter of the fish was hanging off the stern.”
They took the bluefin back to New River Marina to weigh their incredibly rare catch, and it weighed in at 900.1 pounds.
It would’ve been a state record, but the three anglers on the rod disqualified it from a record.
The Current North Carolina state bluefin record weighed in at 877 pounds back in 2017, caught by Scott Chambers off Oregon inlet.
Nevertheless, this will be one that Cruise and his crew will never forget.