Why ‘Wicked Tuna’ Captain Dave Marciano Describes Show’s Stars as ‘Marine Biologists’

by John Jamison

Experience is an education in and of itself. The fishermen on “Wicked Tuna” may not have studied marine biology at school, but they know the water. Dave Marciano has been hauling in tuna on the National Geographic show since it started in 2012. Before TV, he was doing the same thing. Call it what you will—an art, a science. Just know that at the end of the day, guys like Marciano approach fishing as their livelihood.

Maybe they’re not marine biologists in the traditional sense. Their end goal, after all, is to come home with 1,000-pound sea monsters. Folks like Dave Marciano aren’t as concerned with the “why” of it all. They’re too busy with the “how.” Where a scientist aims to understand, say, the migratory patterns of bluefin tuna for the sake of academic study. Marciano and his peers study the same patterns so they can hook ’em, weigh ’em, and fillet ’em.

In an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment in 2013, Marciano talked about developing strategies over the years. No two “Wicked Tuna” stars approach tuna fishing the same way. But they are all students of the ocean.

“I have 20 years’ experience, which guides me to where I believe I’m going to find fish. That’s really basic stuff, it’s not really an industry secret,” said Marciano. “All of us are somewhat marine biologists in a fashion, because we have to be in tune with the environment out there. That’s how we’re going to home in on these fish. And that’s where I believe I have an edge, because I fish year-round. … Maybe not always for tuna, but I’m out there, I’m interacting with that environment. In shore person’s terms, I’m out there doing my homework long before tuna season starts.”

Is ‘Wicked Tuna’ Star Dave Marciano Friendly With His Fellow ‘Marine Biologists’ When the Cameras Aren’t Rolling?

Are they friends when the cameras are rolling? That’s an easy one. Of course not. Just because there’s a TV show going on doesn’t mean these guys want other people catching their fish. It’s a competitive business.

Of course, they’re all in it together. Dave Marciano is not going to endanger Dave Carraro for one tuna. But he wants to outperform him. That doesn’t mean they’re not friendly when they get back to shore, however. Marciano talked about how he and Carraro share a strong bond.

“Out of all the guys on the show, Captain Dave Carraro of the FV-Tuna.com and I have become really great friends over the years. I knew who he was before the show came along, and I knew he had a reputation for being a good fisherman, but since we’ve been working together on Wicked Tuna we’ve become very close,” Marciano told Discover Gloucester in 2020.