SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — In Southport Tuesday, one crew caught one large bluefin tuna and that’s no fish tale.
The crew of the Flying Brick had no illusions catching a 660 pound tuna would be an easy feat.
“You just try and hope,” explained John Dosher, one of the three fishermen. “It’s ten percent skill, 90 percent luck a lot of times.”
The crew set out at 5 a.m., spotting whales just a few miles offshore, and a giant tuna fish with their radar.
“They’ve always been here,” Dosher said. “Except for the fact that they weren’t commercially viable years ago. So we couldn’t really sell them. Nobody really wanted them. They were called horse mackerel.”
When one swam close enough, fisherman Tommy Rechichar said the men sprang into action.
“And then he hit it,” Rechichar remembered. “It was kind of all hands on deck. Everybody do what we had to do to get the fish kind of settled in to fight him.”
Dosher captained the ship, steering it to keep the massive target alongside the boat while keeping an eye on the engines.
“And you don’t want him near your engines or anything because he’ll break them. They’re smart. They’re clever. He’ll break into the boat or run across the boat. They can swim to speeds I’m sure 40 miles an hour or better I would imagine,” Dosher said.
Rechichar and third fisherman, Mike Reese, “finned” for the themselves. They fought to hook and subdue the animal, working together to catch the fish of a lifetime.
“We all fish together alot,” said Dosher, “So it’s almost like we’re thinking each other’s thoughts. So you just kind of, things click and you just kind of go from there basically.”
Until Rechichar landed a hit on the tuna with a harpoon. After an hour struggle, the three boatmen finally won.
When describing their emotions, Dosher said it was, “jubilation to say the very least.”
It took several hours to load the more than quarter ton tuna onto the Flying Brick, but when they returned home, Rechichar, Dosher, and Reese received a hero’s welcome.
Dosher says there’s no telling just how much their fish will sell for, but last year a similarly sized fish sold for $1.8 million.