Last season is history--it’s a new day and everyone is looking for the first catch. A new season of Wicked Tuna, airs on National Geographic beginning Monday, February 1, 9 PM EST.
Wicked Tuna is a reality television series about commercial tuna fishermen who fish for the very lucrative bluefin tuna. The teams of fisherman battle each other to see who can catch the most fish, using the traditional rod and reel method.
Reeling in a bluefin is no small feat. One of those “monstahs” can weigh over a thousand pounds. The largest bluefin caught (on record) in the North Atlantic with rod and reel was a fish taken off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1979, weighing 1,496 pounds. A large tuna can take about 200 yards of fishing line as it vies for escape. Considering they can swim up to 40 mph at top speed, it’s a true challenge of one’s skills.
On the show, these salty, skilled fishermen have ten weeks to hook as many fish as they can, while surviving the harsh North Atlantic winter weather and taking care of their families (the Atlantic bluefin season runs through March). One tuna can bring in up to $20,000. Although most usually pull in fish between 400 and 800 pounds, the potential of catching much larger ones only adds to the competitive nature of the business. A day with no fish can be an agonizing loss; if a fishing vessel returns to shore empty, the captain faces a loss of thousands of dollars in fuel and provisions.
Win or lose, these fishermen are making names for themselves up and down the East Coast. The fame of participating in a Wicked Tuna series is enough to keep their charter business fully booked at least a year in advance.
Captain Dale Lisi, Foolish Pleasures, based at the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City, Maryland, is one of a handful for the lineup for 2016. Their charter booking calendar is typically full during the summer season out of the Ocean City Fishing Center, but this year they expect their Wicked Tuna appearance to really put the popular vessel on the map.
This season, featuring Captain Lisi and his crew, among others, will pit teams of anglers from the north against teams from the south, fishing out of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Foolish Pleasures will represent the south team.
“We’re going to win it or we’re going to die trying,” Lisi said in a January 14 interview with the Dispatch.
The determination of all the fishermen for their livelihood while facing the challenges of fishing under brutal winter weather conditions, coupled with the opportunity of a lifetime, promises to make this show one of the best ways for the rest of us to spend a winter night.
National Geographic - Wicked Tuna
Area Boat Prepping For ‘Wicked Tuna’ Television Spotlight, Shawn Soper, January 14, 2016, The Dispatch