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3 teens spend 7 hours reeling in 700-pound tuna off the coast of Maine

They only had the line in the water for about 30 minutes before the bluefin tuna bit. But that was the easy part.
Credit: Griffin Buckwalter

PORTLAND, Maine — When Wyatt Morse, Martin Scanlan, and Griffin Buckwalter set out to sea on July 1, they were hoping for a 200 to 300 pound tuna. Not long into the trip, however, they snagged the fish of a lifetime.

The trio of teens hooked a 700 pounder about 15 miles off the coast of Portland.

Morse said they only had the line in the water for about 30 minutes before the fish bit. But that was the easy part. 

They spent the next seven hours reeling the fish in and keeping control of it.

"It was me and Martin who took turns reeling," Morse said. "There was a point in time six hours into the fight when Martin was like 'Bro my arm is like done.' I kept watching him, he kept punching his harm to regenerate it, it was unbelievable.'"

"You can't have too much tension on the line because you'll break it," Morse added. "You can't just reel that fish up and kill it right away."

The fish dragged the boat ten miles from where they hooked it. Then they drove one mile per hour for eight more miles with the fish swimming next to the boat, until they were finally able to call someone with a big enough boat to come and actually bring the fish all the way out of the water.

Credit: Griffin Buckwalter

Scanlan and Buckwalter are both 16 years old and Morse is 17. Scanlan is from Aspen, CO but has a house in Harpswell. Morse is from Auburn and also has a house in Harpswell, which is how he originally met Scanlan. Buckwalter is from Scarborough.

The three are familiar with one another's fishing abilities, which Morse said is important when dealing with a fish that big.

"That's really what you need when you go out there because it's hard to take someone out there who doesn't know much," Morse said. "It's harder to catch the tuna."

Morse, Scanlan, and Buckwalter ended up selling the fish to a seafood company for $2,000.

"You have so much adrenaline really, all you do is focus on the fish. Afterward I was starving, I needed food right away," Morse said. "Everyone after that went right to bed. We slept for like the next day. All that adrenaline, let me tell you, it'll make you tired. It'll put you right to sleep."

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