‘Wicked Tuna’ Star TJ Ott Discusses How Accurate the Show Is to Real Life

by Katie Maloney

We all know that “Wicked Tuna” is a super popular reality television show.

But just how real is the show? Since reality shows have come onto the scene, people have questioned their legitimacy. And yes, many reality shows have been debunked and proved to be just as scripted as any narrative television show. However, there are other reality shows that are a little more on the real side. Nevertheless, all shows are just that, shows and there’s always a mix of reality and fiction when it comes to Hollywood. So, we’re here to break it down for all of you “Wicked Tuna” fans and reveal what is and isn’t real when it comes to the show.

How Real Is ‘Wicked Tuna’?

Overall, it seems like the show is actually pretty to true to life. The cast of “Wicked Tuna: are all real-life fishermen who work these vessels for a living. They all hunt for bluefin tuna and they really are pretty badass. Additionally, the cast’s hauls aren’t usually exaggerated wither. Yes, camera operators can use camera placements and angles to make a pile of fish looks a little bigger. But they can’t exaggerate to the extent that the show loses realism points.

Even the cast members have vouched for the authenticity of the show. In fact, Captain TJ Ott shared his thoughts about how “Wicked Tuna’ depicts his real-life job.

“They’ve done a good job showing the hardships,” he said.

However, there’s one thing that he says is cut from the show in order to make the show more appealing to audiences. And that is the number of hours the fishermen put in at work. Obviously, an episode of the show is limited to 42 minutes. So, “Wicked Tuna” production crews have to use some editing magic to take out some of the downtime the fishermen experience in between hauls.

“What people maybe don’t see is the hours,” said Ott. “You see some seasons are great, some are a struggle. It’s not an easy racket.”

Here’s What May Not Be So Real About The Show

For a bunch of fishermen, “Wicked Tuna” has its fair share of drama. So, is the tension real or scripted? For the most part, the drama is actually pretty real. And, in a way, it makes sense. The cast members are stuck in the middle of the ocean, they’re extremely sleep-deprived, and they have to deal with the stresses of trying to catch tuna while maintaining strict protocols. Naturally, people are going to start to get on each other’s nerves. And it’s not like you can just walk away and catch a breath or two somewhere else. So, no the drama isn’t scripted.

That said, there is a fair amount of editing on the show. So, some of the dramatic moments that appear to be back-to-back may have taken place hours, if not days, apart. The episode is more like a highlight reel of all the exciting moments from a day on the water, than an actual minute-to-minute depiction of an average workday.