A few friends from Massachusetts had a hunch they would catch something big when they booked a charter with Captain Kevin Leonowert of the reality show “Wicked Tuna” on on July 31. They had no idea their catch would weigh nearly half a ton.
Gregg Looney, Brian Keefe, and Michael St. Jean, of Dracut; Allan Gourley, of Chelmsford; and Brian Shaffer, of Lynnfield, were on board the Huntress when they hooked a 920-pound bluefin tuna. The fish proceeded to drag the boat for four-and-a-half miles over a three-hour period before surrendering, the Lowell Sun reports.
Leonowert said it’s the biggest tuna to come into the state’s Gloucester Harbor this year.
“I couldn’t believe the power of this thing. It almost ripped my shoulder out,” said Looney. “It looked like a whale, just an absolute monster. But we did it.”
The article also states that no one man aboard the boat is claiming to have caught the fish. From setting up lines around the boat to taking turns every 10 to 15 minutes to reel in the fish, the men are adamant the accomplishment was a team effort.
“You get to the point where you’re looking for the guy behind you to switch out. My arms still hurt, but it doesn’t matter,” Keefe said. “It’s all worth it in the end.”
Leonowert said he’s caught larger tuna before, but this fish was leaner than most and fought harder. The fish was sold to a seafood company in Gloucester for approximately $4,000, the Lowell Sun reports. The anglers can either have their money back or return for a trip next year.
“We’ll go up the same day, same time, wear the same clothes and see how that works,” Looney said. “We’ll probably never catch one like that again, but we’ll still have a blast.”