'Wicked Tuna' fisherman Charlie Griffin and his dog die in boating accident

Veteran fisherman Charlie Griffin, who starred in the National Geographic TV franchise “Wicked Tuna,” has died.

The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed in a statement published on Tuesday that Griffin and his dog Leila were found dead off the coast of Oregon Inlet in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Griffin was 65.

The Coast Guard published its report a day after the Facebook page for Griffin’s boat, Reels of Fortune, mourned its captain and revealed on Monday he died in a “boating accident.”

“Please keep family and friends in your thoughts and prayers,” the post said. “We will forever remember Griff.”

In a joint statement shared with The Times, “Wicked Tuna” channel National Geographic and producer Pilgrim Media Group also remembered the Reels of Fortune captain who starred in the spin-off series “Wild Tuna: Outer Banks.” The statement confirmed that the shipwreck was unrelated to the series.

“Charlie was known to all as a spirited fisherman with a big heart,” National Geographic and Pilgrim Media Group said. “We join Charlie’s family, fellow cast members and friends in mourning his untimely loss.”

The Coast Guard said on Tuesday that members of its North Carolina Command Center received a report of two overdue boaters late Sunday evening. Griffin, his dog, and a second boater identified as 36-year-old Chad Dunn left Virginia Beach for Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo for repairs. Dunn and Griffin were reported missing later Sunday.

The Coast Guard called off its search for Dunn on Tuesday, after a 41-hour search that involved crews from the National Park Service, Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, among others.

“It is one of the hardest decisions to call off a search, and we offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends affected by this tragic event,” said North Carolina Coast Guard Deputy Commander Corrie Sergent.

Griffin, known among fans and fellow fishers as “Griff,” appeared in seasons two through five of “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.”

“I started fishing when I was a pretty young boy and I’ve spent my life on the Outer Banks,” Grififn said in a “Wicked Tuna” introduction.

He shared his experience of sailing rough seas and passion for fishing with his only child, Jake, who served as the Reels of Fortune’s first mate.

“Having my son Jake work with me has been, really, a blessing. He’s a pretty tough character now,” Griffin said. “I mean everybody’s proud of their son but you will not see a harder-working young man.”

In the introduction, Griffin also shared that the Reels of Fortune second mate was a Labrador named Renegade. The dog often joined the father-son duo on their treacherous, yet bountiful fishing excursions.

“We have to catch fish so we can pay the bills, so we can take care of the people that we love,” he said. “So it’s very important that we start catching fish right away.”

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