The Hooked Up fishing crew had no idea what they were in for when they pulled out of South Harbor Marina on January 17.
Captain Joe Seegers, Chris Critz, Shane Kellett, and John Hohmann, who make up the team aboard the 40 foot custom fishing vessel, knew bluefin tuna were finally biting in the Lower Cape Fear area, after many years of very scarce encounters.
They were near the sunken USS Peterhoff, about a mile off the beach, when they hooked into a fish after following signs typically left by feeding bluefins. What followed was a 2 hour battle these men won’t forget.
When they finally got the fish on the boat, they knew they had an absolute monster. The monster status of this bluefin was reinforced when they couldn’t fit it in the boat’s tuna door, which Seegers made large enough for an 800-pound tuna. They were left with no other choice but to secure the fish to the boat, with the majority of it hanging overboard, as they made their way to get it weighed.
The tuna was way too big for the scale at Tatum’s Fish House, which maxes out at 500 pounds. They were left with only one choice. They measured the fish, which was 106 inches long and had a girth of 86 inches, and used a standard formula to determine weight based on the measurements.
The bluefin was estimated to weigh a whopping 902 pounds, coming in at 677 pounds after the head, tail and intestines had been removed.