Fisherman sends ‘distress call’ for help landing big fish
With assistance from two other anglers from another boat, Steve Mcnally manages to boat the 650-pound bluefin tuna in waters off Cape Cod
October 10, 2013 by David Strege
Tuna fisherman Steve Mcnally, alone on his boat in waters off Cape Cod, was in need of help, so he “sent out a distress call around 10:15 a.m. on October 3,” according to the Lowell Sun.
Only he wasn’t lost at sea. He wasn’t trying to survive in stormy waters. His boat wasn’t sinking. Mcnally needed help … landing a really big fish.
Gregg Looney and his fishing party responded to the call from two miles away with Looney and Brian Shaffer joining Mcnally on his boat to lend a hand.
It didn’t take long. Once help arrived, the bluefin tuna was boated in 25 minutes, largely because the line had wrapped around the fish’s tail preventing it from fighting normally.
The tuna weighed an impressive 650 pounds and was expected to fetch $10 per pound after it was dressed out.
“I’m very thankful for them,” Mcnally told the Lowell Sun. “It took a lot of pressure off me when they got there. I definitely needed them to get it on the boat.
“I got lucky, and everything turned out good in the end. Just like it was supposed to.”
All the fishermen had previous experience landing big fish. Mcnally caught a 1,100-pound tuna a few years ago, and Looney and his buddies landed a 920-pounder in July while fishing with Capt. Kevin Leonowert from the National Geographic TV show “Wicked Tuna.” They were with Leonowert again when they helped Mcnally.
“We were happy to be reeling in another fish,” said Looney, who like Mcnally is from Dracut, Massachusetts. “It was a good-sized one, and without our help, it would have been really tough for him.”
The Lowell Sun posted video that shows some of the action. It is aptly named “Tuna Helper”: