Because sometimes the unexpected happens and it’s not just a fish story. Many people enjoy fishing for a number of reasons. Some people need to eat what they catch. Others are just happy to get out on the water for rest and relaxation. The old joke about “ruining a good day fishing by putting a hook in the water” comes to mind. It’s great that not only did this gentleman catch something massive but the US Coast Guard was able to help out.
From a relative minnow to something massive
When Josiah VanFleet was in kindergarten his grandparents took him out on the water. He caught a small flounder and it was the biggest one on the boat that day.
Josiah is now 38. He remembers,“I actually won the pool for the largest fish on the boat. I made like $60.”
Then he caught a massive blue fin tuna
Now a himself a father of four he netted the huge fish February 4 off the coast of Nag’s Head. Mr. VanFleet lives in Toano, VA and owns a remodeling business. “Definitely, on a personal level, it’s the biggest fish I’ve ever caught.”
The Coast Guard helped him pull it in, it was measured and weighed. The weight though may be unofficial. North Carolina’s biggest blue fin is 877 pounds. VanFleet’s was estimated at 1,000 pounds.
VanFleet needed help for that massive fish
He only had a 22 foot boat 45 miles offshore. Another boat was needed to help pull the massive animal in. And since his vessel isn’t the normal size you’d see out that far, this trip was planned.
VanFleet explained, “We had a buddy boat go with us. We wanted to play it safe. It’s not like these bigger boats where we can just go out whenever we want. Me and Steve had been watching the weather since Christmas time, just waiting for the perfect window.”
He started early
By 6:30 am trolling had begun, baiting and driving. “We decided to put some teaser baits out that would sort of attract the fish to the top, and not long after we put those teaser baits out, one of our poles went down.” Even with seven people and two boats it wasn’t easy.
“That went on for quite a while,” Josiah said. When the job was nearly done, the reel jammed. The crew needed to fasten the old line to a new reel. “We’re literally holding a 1,000-pound fish with our hands on the line while (crimping) the lines together. We finally got the fish to the surface, where we pretty much harpooned him.” The massive tuna took over two hours to catch.
Teach a man to fish
VanFleet says it was an answered prayer and shared his catch. “We could not believe that out of all the boats out here, we were blessed with this monster of a fish. It was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever felt. (We cut) up all the good parts of the fish and we put it in a cooler with ice. We gave it to lots of friends, because what are you going to do with that much fish? We just kind of spread the love around Virginia.”