Highlight Reels: Bluefin blitz video goes worldwide

Published 12:19 am Tuesday, February 11, 2020

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From big blue giant tunas to small spotted crappies, winter fishing continues to produce despite the up and down air and water temperatures; not to mention several big blows.

A video surfaced on Facebook Feb. 4 of what appears to be hungry tuna feasting on a school of bluefish in a post made by Ocean Isle Fishing Center.

By Tuesday morning, the video had reached more than 27 million people from around the world including Australia and Japan. Check it out at https://bit.ly/2OMaoeV.

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“Insanity outside of Oregon Inlet today!” Capt. Brant McMullan of the Ocean Isle Fishing Center posted Feb. 5. “Bluefin feeding on blues like kids on candy.”

The out of town captain was quick to say the fishing vessel Hot Tuna was the first on the bite and the captain had shared the info over the radio.

Additional boats from the Wicked Tuna Outer Banks fishing television show Pin Wheel, Fishing Frenzy and others had also hit the bite, McMullan said.

All these vessels are engaged in commercial fishing and can only keep one fish per day per boat. In general, Capt. McMullan said “fishing has been pretty good.”

As for the bluefish appearing cold stunned or playing dead in the video, he said it appeared they were deploying some sort of defense tactic where they all seemed for freeze at the surface while the bluefin looked to pick them off one by one.

“A lot of people have been asking about it,” he said and added the fish looked exhausted to him.

His theory? Perhaps if they all acted the same, playing dead, they’re each less noticeable.

In the clip, Capt. McMullan hooks a bluefish with a gaff. Although not captured on the footage, he said he put it on a hook and dropped it back overboard.

“It darted to the middle and then did nothing,” he said. “I pulled it until it was struggling to just outside the group – as soon as I did, he looked different [from the rest].”

And then boom, a giant bluefin nailed it. It was a 94 incher McMullan brought back to the dock at O’Neal’s in Wanchese on his sizable Freeman center console with four outboards.

Again, he thanked the Wicked Tuna crews and local boats for sharing fish information.

“Hot Tuna was first on the scene and called out ‘Got a fish,’” McMullan said. “They [Wicked Tuna crew] got excellent footage.

“It will be out in the fall maybe . . . it was epic!” he continued. “Mine was just a tease!”