‘Wicked Tuna’: Captain Paul Hebert Recalls the Biggest Fish He’s Ever Caught

by John Jamison
(Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

Paul Hebert is competitive among the Wicked Tuna lineup of bluefin tuna anglers as the captain of the Wicked Pissah, earning the champion title in Season 10. Over the course of 60-plus episodes, he has landed plenty of monsters. But what if we told you the first fish he ever caught weighed over 1,100 pounds?

The Wicked Tuna star claims his first catch came in a small rowboat handline fishing for tuna. Was it actually 1,100 pounds? We certainly aren’t going to question it. Besides, who can blame a career fisherman for exaggerating a bit?

That holds especially true considering Paul Hebert consistently brings in huge fish these days. He talked to Chesapeake Bay Boating’s Proptalk about everything from his big moneymakers to his biggest fish ever.

“This year, I caught a fish that returned the highest money in 20 years. It was the highest-priced fish in Japan in 2015 and sold for over $65 a pound. That translated to $47 a pound coming back to the boat. It was crazy. The whole world was talking about Paulie’s fish,” said Hebert.

The ‘Wicked Tuna’ Star’s Biggest Fish Was a Record Breaker

One of these fish truly can make or break an entire season. Higher-end tuna can go for roughly $200 per pound, putting the value of a 600-pound fish in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mako sharks don’t quite hold the same value per pound, but Wicked Tuna star Paul Hebert offset that with volume.

“The biggest one I ever caught was a mako shark. That was in 1997, and I was out lobstering, and my brother was out harpooning. He called and said, ‘Where are you?’ And I said, ‘I’m in the Bay pulling our traps.’ He had me come four miles out, and there was this shark in a school of tuna.

Hebert hooked the shark on his handline, and he quickly realized how massive it was. The shark was reportedly too heavy for the hoisting gear, so it had to be gutted in the water. When he got it back to shore, it weighed in at a record-breaking 1,530 pounds and hung 19 feet and 7 inches tall. Now that’s a fish.

Paul Hebert Comes from a Proud Fishing Tradition

Fishing was a way of life in the Hebert family, even though Paul told the Patriot Ledger that he’d prefer his kids pursue other careers. Both Paul’s mom and dad were dominant tuna anglers in their day.

“She won all the tuna fishing tournaments she was in. My dad, too. They wouldn’t let us in anymore. We’d get the biggest, the last, the smallest, and the first fish of the day,” said Hebert.

One thing they never got was a 1,500-plus pound mako. At least Paul has that for bragging rights.