Maurilio Marquez, a construction worker from Cary who has fished in Emerald Isle for the past 18 years, made the catch of a lifetime last Saturday. Marquez caught a 21.75-pound citation blackfin tuna off Bogue Pier.
Equipped with a new Shimano reel packed with several hundred yards of tough braided line and a green-headed Got-Cha plug, he watched as false albacore were jumping and feeding some 500 yards out. After about 20 minutes they got close enough to the pier to cast the plug to them.
“I tried one time and didn’t get anything,” said Marquez. “I tried a second time and one of them just swallowed the Got-Cha plug and just took off, taking about 200-yards of line.”
According to Marquez, the fish went right, then left, then right and left again and even went into the beach twice, somehow avoiding a buoy 200 feet from the pier.
“That’s when I tightened the drag a little bit so I could get him in; I figured it was tired already,” said Marquez.
And so was Marquez after the 75-minute battle.
By that time he could see he’d hooked a tuna. Danny Glover, pier staff and fellow fisherman, gaffed the fish.
“Finally we brought him up, and there was so many people taking pictures,” said Marquez. “What I enjoyed most of all was the crowd of people that you have around. They were all cheering, and when you catch the fish they applaud, and that’s the joy I get when I catch a big fish.”
Pier Owner Mike Stanley said the blackfin tuna was a first on Bogue Pier in more than 50 years of operation.
The tuna was legal for Marquez to catch, keep and eat, as the fish did not require a state or federal permit.