Tuna charter brings in 609-pound bluefin

CorrespondentMarch 20, 2013 

609 pound giant bluefin tuna landed by charter boat at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center at Nags Head NC last Friday 3/15 Posted by: Capt Danny Wadsworth, Point Runner Charters, Oregon Inlet Fishing Center Steve Donovan was hoping to catch some fresh sushi to take home. Looks like he will need a bigger cooler. Three fish had already been battled by Steve, his son Stephen, and Michelle Muller....in the 300 to 400 pound size, which were too big to keep. Capt Danny aboard the charter boat Point Runner had told them they are allowed to possess one fish per day under 73 inches. We are also permitted to take only one Giant bluefin over 73 inches per year and were holding out for a trophy fish over 100 inches. And then, luckily, this wicked tuna hit on the troll for Jill Muller from Connecticut. She stayed in the chair battling the giant for two hours until finally Scotty set the gaff. The fight would have lasted longer if the fish had not stayed near the surface much of the time. It was 102 inches 609 pounds.

DANNY WADSWORTH

You don’t know what patience and perseverance will bring. Charter boat captain Danny Wadsworth can tell you that from experience.

The Smithfield native informed his party of four anglers last Friday that he didn’t think they would catch a giant bluefin tuna small enough to keep and that they should reserve their one-fish trophy limit for a true giant.

“Sure enough, it was the next fish we caught,” he said.

Connecticut angler Jill Muller reeled in a 609-pound bluefin after a two-hour fight.

“This is probably one of the largest that has been caught this year,” said Wadsworth, who has been a charter captain for 25 years and runs Point Runner Charters out of the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center at Nags Head.

North Carolina’s state record is an 805-pound fish caught in March 2011, also out of Oregon Inlet. That fish broke the record of 744 pounds set in 1995, according to N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries news releases.

Wadsworth and his crew took a party of four about 35 miles southeast of Oregon Inlet to the blended water along the Continental Shelf near the Gulf Stream. The recreational anglers were catch-and-release fishing, and New Yorker Steve Donovan, son Stephen Donovan, and Muller’s daughter Michelle hooked three fish in the 300- to 400-pound range.

The fish were too big for Wadsworth to keep under strict regulations. The federal permit allows one fish per day less than 73 inches – which would weigh about 200 pounds, he said – and only one bluefin exceeding 73 inches can be kept per year, so the captain was holding out for a trophy fish topping 100 inches. During Muller’s turn in the fighting chair, the 102-inch trophy hit a trolling bait.

Wadsworth said he expects the migratory species to remain in the area for two or three more weeks.

“We really have grown to rely on the fish being here in December through mid April, and they have been here consistently for the past several years,” he said.

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com

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