Before Bobby Earl joined Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks, he was just another dedicated angler looking to make a living off of the ocean. Originally a New York resident, Earl came down to North Carolina every winter for 12 years for tuna season, competing against some of the most renowned fishermen on the East Coast. But it wasn’t until Earl nearly sliced through a fellow vessel’s line that he, too, became a star of the show.
Recently, Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks inquired about the Reel E’ Bugging captain’s start on the series. Whereas other cast members sat down for a more formal interview, Earl’s introduction was more like trial by water.
Listen to his story in the clip below.
“The season before I was on the show, we fished alongside all these boats,” the Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks star said, referring to the other starring tuna vessels. “There was a scene where Dale from ‘Foolish Pleasures‘ is screaming at me. He thought I was gonna cut his fish off.”
He proceeded to reenact the scene.
“‘Bed Bugs! Turn right, Bed Bugs,” Earl imitated with a smile. “The rest is history.”
Earl’s vessel’s appropriate nickname refers to his vocation before becoming a bluefin fisherman. Before he heard the call from Mother Ocean, the Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks star owned and operated a bed bug extermination business with his son. Because of their vast success in the industry, Earl was able to buy his own tuna boat. He then decided to name the vessel after the occupation that made his dream possible. And so, Reel E’ Bugging was born.
‘Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks’ Star Shares His Motivation for This Bluefin Season
For the experienced Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks angler, last season was not as fortuitous as he had hoped. Bringing in only five bluefins for the whole three months of the competition, Earl didn’t even have half the amount of catches that season winner TJ Ott did.
“We pushed probably too hard, too early,” Earl admitted. “Our first trip, we never left the ocean for four days. That was a mistake.”
With such a long journey so early in the season, not only did the captain have to keep replenishing his supplies, but he was also exhausting his crew. However, Earl seems to have learned from this mistake and hopes that this season will place him higher on the leaderboard.
“It’s all about redemption this year,” the Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks captain said. “It’s cause these are some of the best fishermen around. And to just be there at the top of the leaderboard – that’s what I’m looking for.”