For greater than 10 hours, Captain Johnny Johnson Jr. battled the 1,236-pound tuna because it pulled his boat, the Subdivider, greater than 12 miles throughout the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s his largest catch to this point.
“That is hardcore work. It’s very intense. You’re in very severe water, preventing an animal that can take your life,” Johnson mentioned with a gravelly Southern twang. “That is harmful work, nevertheless it’s my ardour. When that rod bends over I nonetheless get butterflies in my abdomen identical to I’m a child.”
Johnson, a Decatur native, will share that keenness with a TV viewers within the Discovery Channel’s new collection “All on the Line.”
The fact present described by Johnson as “a day within the lifetime of a tuna fisherman” premieres Friday at Eight p.m. and follows two crews in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Filming occurred final August.
For Johnson, the present represents the subsequent chapter in a lifelong fishing story, which began on the Tennessee River and included stops within the Pacific Ocean close to Hawaii and the Atlantic Ocean close to Massachusetts.
As a toddler, Johnson watched his father, Johnny Johnson Sr., land two world data — an 87.8-pound catfish on a 12-pound take a look at line and a 68.7-pound catfish on an 8-pound take a look at line.
“After my dad caught these I used to be hooked on large fish,” Johnson mentioned. “He took me fishing on a regular basis. After my dad and mom divorced, I begged my mother (June Corridor) to take me fishing once I was along with her too. I mentioned, ‘When you’ll take me fishing, I’ll bait your hook and take your fish off for you.’ It was my favourite factor to do.”
Whereas Johnson liked to fish, not till he visited Hawaii as a part of the Grateful Lifeless’s highway crew did he take into account changing into an expert angler.
“In Hawaii, I caught a 228-pound yellowfin tuna. As soon as I caught that large tuna, I knew it was one thing I used to be going to do for the remainder of my life,” mentioned Johnson.
As a substitute of returning to Alabama to complete up his structure diploma at Auburn College, Johnson held a storage sale at his Decatur house to boost cash to maneuver to Hawaii.
He packed his van stuffed with mandatory gadgets, drove to Los Angeles and sailed, van and all, to Hawaii. That was greater than three a long time in the past and Johnson’s been chasing large fish since.
“The second day I went fishing in Hawaii, the captain broke his again. The boat proprietor requested me if I may run the boat. I used to be younger and silly and mentioned, ‘After all I can.’ I didn’t have a clue what I used to be doing. I grew up on the Tennessee River and there I used to be in Hawaii. However I realized,” Johnson mentioned.
Throughout his 23 years in Hawaii, Johnson began the Hawaii Tuna Firm and shipped tuna all around the United States, Mexico and South America. Whereas in Hawaii chasing yellowfin tuna, Johnson realized of the bigger and rarer bluefin tuna within the Atlantic Ocean, which might herald $20,000 per catch.
An adventure-lover fueled by the hunt, Johnson booked a visit to Gloucester, Massachusetts. On the second day of his journey, Johnson hooked an 847-pound bluefin tuna.
“I got here house and I mentioned, ‘Mother, déjà vu. I’m having a storage sale and transferring to Gloucester,’” mentioned Johnson, who moved to Massachusetts a decade in the past and based the Gloucester Constitution Connection.
As a business fisherman, Johnson serves as a information for beginner anglers.
Throughout a typical Atlantic bluefin tuna fishing season, which runs from June 1 to late November, Johnson works 24 hours a day, seven days per week and leads 140 fishing journeys.
“When the fish come you must catch as many as you’ll be able to since you solely have six months to make your dwelling for the entire 12 months,” Johnson mentioned. “Bluefin tuna fishing isn’t like fishing within the Tennessee River. You don’t simply drop your line in and get a chew. It is a hunt.”
Within the 2½ minutes after the tuna bites the bait — a interval Johnson describes as “managed chaos” — he has to clear his different traces, drop the anchor and begin chasing the fish. If not, the fish, which is touring as much as 60 mph when it hits the road, will strip the reel’s 1,500 yards of line — equal to 15 soccer fields.
“My 1,236 pounder took me 10 hours and 37 minutes to get to the highest of the water. The smaller fish, the 600 and 700 kilos, can take two to 4 hours to get to the highest of the water. It’s a battle, an intense battle,” Johnson mentioned.
A few years in the past, an individual related with Uncooked TV chartered Johnson’s boat and caught a bluefin tuna weighing over 1,100 kilos.
“He referred to as Uncooked TV and advised them about me. They requested if I might be eager about touring all around the world and going after completely different species of fish attempting to interrupt the world report. I advised them that in the event that they actually wished to see true, hardcore fishing, they wanted to come back to Gloucester,” Johnson mentioned.
After seeing the pilot filmed by Uncooked TV, the Discovery Channel — the station behind “Deadliest Catch,” “Gold Rush,” “Moonshiners” and “Alaskan Bush Individuals” — picked up the present.
Throughout the 2019 fishing season, a producer, sound man and cameraman spent seven-and-a-half weeks on the Subdivider with Johnson and two mates. The crew additionally filmed on the Julia Nicole with fourth-generation fisherman 18-year-old Danny Smith and his father Dan Smith Sr. The boats work collectively to find faculties of bluefin tuna.
By the present, Johnson hopes to unfold consciousness in regards to the conservation efforts surrounding bluefin tuna, which, years in the past, bordered on the sting of extinction due to overfishing.
“Individuals have been catching total faculties of fish with nets. If you try this, there are none left to spawn. Congress handed laws that prohibited web boats. Within the final 10-12 years, the tuna inhabitants has grown,” Johnson mentioned. “Individuals must see the significance of taking good care of our planet and oceans and constructing a sustainable bluefin business.”
Together with elevating consciousness, an interior competitors fuels Johnson, who, like his father, desires of setting a world report.
“The world report for bluefin tuna is 1,496. I do know I’m going to interrupt it at some point. I’ve had the world report on my line twice. I’ll land him and I’ll catch him. It is going to be a battle,” Johnson mentioned.
— to www.decaturdaily.com