An exhausted captain has spoken of his struggles after a crew of five came in Texas took on a 676lb bluefin tuna that broke the rod in half during a two hour battle.
Captain Tim Oestreich was on March 24 with his crew and 16 fishermen aboard the Dolphin Express charter fishing boat at the Hoover Diana Oil Fields, approximately 130 to 160 miles from Port Aransas.
Oestreich said the trip started in rough seas with waves 6 to 8 feet high, but the yellowfin tuna bit.
The captain said the bait was in the water just 10 minutes before the bluefin caught and dived him, taking 800 meters of line with him.
“That’s almost half a mile straight down in about a minute,” Osetreich told Sport Fishing magazine.
pictured; The crew members next to the huge tuna. Captain Tim Oestreich and a crew of five in Texas took on a 676-pound bluefin tuna that broke the rod in half during a two-hour battle
Pictured: the 676-pound bluefin tuna. “It took two hours to reel in the bluefin and eventually the rod broke,” Oestreich said.
Forty-five minutes later, the fishermen had rolled the tuna back to the side of the 115-foot boat, but then it took off again.
The captain tried to keep the fish moving to drain it of energy.
“You can’t chase a big tuna in deep water or you’ll be fighting it for hours,” Oestreich said.
The boat followed the running tuna for about 2.5 miles.
After 45 minutes the fish was back next to the boat.
It took off again and broke the 30-pound rod in half,
Osetreich grabbed the broken rod and pulled the fish in by hand 40 feet.
He said it took eight people to lift the tuna out of the water and into the boat.
“It took two hours to reel in the bluefin and finally the rod broke,” Oestreich told Houston news outlet Chron. He also noted that the rod cost $1,000.
Pictured: tuna at Dolphin Dock. Dolphin Dock’s Deep Sea Fishing is calling the 56-hour trip the ‘Texas Safari’
Because each person took turns landing the fish, some could only last for two to three minutes before getting tired, Oestreich told Sport Fishing Magazine.
“When a fisherman finished, I called for ‘fresh meat on the reel,'” he said.
Oestreich said, “The rules for catching bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico are strict, with only one per boat. It’s not common to catch one because they’re focused and so big.’
During the 56-hour trip, the fishermen also caught three yellowtail tuna and 11 wahoo fish each.
Dolphin Docks Deep Sea Fishing said in a Facebook post, “Great anglers.”
“Once my arm recovers, I’d love to go again… as soon as I find a bigger freezer,” one guest wrote on Facebook.
Pictured: fresh catches at Dolphin Dock. During the 56-hour trip, the fishermen also caught three yellowtail tuna and 11 wahoo fish each
Commenting on the fishing charter Facebook post, one user wrote, “Yay Tim! You are the fish killer!’
Another posted: ‘Nice catch guys!!’
One of the photos in the post shows the crew posing with the huge bluefin tuna, which is as long as five men.
Another photo shows the tuna hung up for display on the wharf.
On an average trip, the boat catches up to three yellowfin tuna per person.
“I probably land 1,100 tuna every four or five months,” Oestreich said.
Dolphin Dock’s Deep Sea Fishing calls the 56-hour trip the “Texas Safari.”
After the huge fish was brought back to land, it was filleted and distributed among 14 customers, Chron said.
Another boat from Port Aransas caught a 750lb bluefin a few days later.
Bluefin tuna is the largest type of tuna in the world, measuring between 6 and 10 feet in length. They can weigh up to 1,500 kilograms and survive an average of 35 years.
They are predators, seeking schools of fish such as herring, mackerel and even eels
About 1 billion pounds of tuna are eaten each year, according to the National Fisheries Institute.