The massive bluefin tuna ended up measuring 9.5 feet.
According to WTOP News, Virginian Josiah VanFleet had the catch of his life on February 24. Toano resident VanFleet, an avid fisherman, was out on his new boat 45 miles off North Carolina's Outer Banks with his son and friends. They'd been "waiting a few months for a perfect day to hit the water," Caroline Kealy wrote for WSET. Then the 24th arrived, with its highs of 65 degrees, and VanFleet told Kealy, "We just knew we were going to catch a bluefin tuna."
At 8:15, VanFleet hooked onto a fish that "pulled the boat about a mile and fought him for over an hour." Kealy reported: "It took around two-and-a-half hours ... seven guys ... and a couple of pulls ... to finally get the massive fish into the modestly-sized boat." The 9.5-foot bluefin tuna "will be a lifetime memory," VanFleet said, and to share it with his son was "one of the most special things."
The Virginian-Pilot reported that the U.S. Coast Guard "helped measure the fish and put it at an estimated 1,000 pounds... but an estimated weight is not enough for the record books." Still, if true, that would put VanFleet's find at more than 100 pounds heavier than North Carolina's current record, an astonishing 877 pounds.
If you loved this story, you can catch more of VanFleet's fishing adventures at his new YouTube channel, The Happy Fleet. And let us know your thoughts in the comments—and the biggest fish you've ever caught!