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'I owe it all to God:' Virginia fisherman catches 1,000 pound bluefin tuna

Virginia fisherman catches bluefin tuna
The massive bluefin tuna was about nine-and-a-half feet long and weighed around 1,000 pounds. (Credit: Josiah VanFleet)

OUTER BANKS, N.C. (WSET) — One Virginia fisherman lived out one of his wildest dreams last week after catching a massive bluefin tuna off the coast of the Outer Banks.

Josiah VanFleet has always loved fishing. He had a dream of owning his own boat but the timing never seemed right.

"The cards that were dealt were never for me to get a boat," VanFleet said.

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That is until last summer when his luck changed. Amid the flurry of others buying boats mid-pandemic, he found the perfect vessel - a smaller boat with a smaller engine, but a perfect fit for him and his love of the water.

He and a few friends had been waiting a few months for a perfect day to hit the water. Then, last Wednesday, that perfect day finally arrived.

"We just knew we were going to catch a bluefin tuna," VanFleet said.

VanFleet, along with friends and his nine-year-old Ezekiel, hit the water 45 miles offshore in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. His son, like his father, loves the outdoors.

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"If he's not fishing, he's hunting," VanFleet said. "He's one passionate kid.

He said that being able to be with his son on that memorable morning was "one of the most special things".

At 8:15 that memorable Wednesday morning, VanFleet found himself struck by pure luck - he had hooked a fish. And not just any other fish.

"We had no idea what we had hooked onto," VanFleet said.

The fish pulled the boat about a mile and fought him for over an hour. It took around two-and-a-half hours to finally get the massive fish into the modestly-sized boat.

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It took the teamwork of seven guys on the boat and a couple of pulls to successfully get the tuna into the boat.

"I could not believe how big it was," VanFleet said.

When people began to estimate that the fish was nine feet long, he wouldn't believe it. He was proven wrong when the fish ended up being around nine-and-a-half feet long.

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"No doubt in my mind this will be a lifetime memory," VanFleet said.

You can watch more of VanFleet's fishing adventures on his YouTube channel.

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