‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’: The Inspiration Behind Captain Bobby Earl’s Boat Name Reel E’ Bugging

by Joe Rutland

There’s always some story behind a captain naming his boat. “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” star Bobby Earl shared his own story.

Earl had an interesting profession between his time on Wall Street and becoming a fisherman. He talked about it during an interview with Screenrant.

“But then, I would sneak away for three months every year to go tuna fishing in the Outer Banks,” Earl said. “That was the progression. That’s how the name of the boat came about.

“My thought was, bed bugs paid for the boat! Reel E’ Bugging,” he said. In between his time working on Wall Street and taking up fishing as a full-time lifestyle, Earl worked as a bug terminator. Therefore, that’s part of the story behind his boat’s name.

‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’ Star Saw Ocean as His Escape From Manhattan

“I couldn’t wait to go fishing so I could get a break from Brooklyn and Manhattan,” the “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” star said. “My escape was always the ocean. At some point, I said, ‘Hey, I could probably do this full time.’ So we started running charters, etc, and the rest is history.”

Earl kissed his Wall Street days goodbye and made living along North Carolina’s Outer Banks a solid lifestyle. Now he shares his adventures in fishing for bluefin tuna with the world through the show that’s on the National Geographic Channel.

Besides Earl, other captains on the show include Greg Mayer, Britton Shackelford, Adam Price, and Jimmie Horning. In July 2021, “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” started airing its eighth-season episodes.

Earl Had A Fiery, Scary Moment Happen When He Was On His Boat

At one point, Earl took himself down from Manhattan to the Outer Banks with his boat. He felt a sense of serenity in one morning, but an explosion down below broke it up.

The “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” star quickly rushed to see what caused the noise. That’s when he discovered that his engine room was ablaze.

“And then I heard an explosion,” Earl said. “And I went downstairs and the entire engine room and salon was on fire. It went fast. I ran down to the bunk room and my friend, Danny King, was sleeping. At least I thought he was sleeping, but he wouldn’t respond.”

Earl managed to wake King up but it took a punch in the face to do so.

“My brain was trying to process, I couldn’t leave him there, so how am I gonna drag his body off this boat?” the “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” star said about his not-moving friend. “But for the grace of God, he started to cough up all sorts of stuff, and he started to come to [at that time].” Earl said he and King had about 12 minutes to get out.