‘Wicked Tuna’: Why One Ship Captain Didn’t Fish for Tuna Very Often Until Show Started

by Courtney Blackann

Before Wicked Tuna’s Captain Dave Marciano was hauling bluefin tuna out of the Atlantic, he said he was simply just “Dave the fisherman.” Commercial fishermen are a different breed. They enjoy the open sea, where the rigorous work and the quiet are the only constants.

Add in a camera crew and expectations of making a hit show and things get a little different.

While Marciano said he’s grateful for what the show has done for his family and career, he didn’t always seek out monster catches.

“As a fisherman, I would do what I believed was going to be the most profitable fishery as the seasons and the times changed, so I would only go tuna fishing for really a much smaller amount of time before the show just when it was as good as it gets,” Marciano said in an interview.

“And as soon as the tuna fishing slowed down, I’d go on to something else. Whereas other guys … they’ll fish day one of tuna season until the very bitter end, and it’s over at the end of the year. … For me, it’s always been during this tuna season, if they show up or can I make some money real quick doing it, and as soon as tuna fishing got slow, I’d go on to something else. … For me, it’s never been about being the biggest and the baddest.”

Marciano is a native of Gloucester, Ma. where “Wicked Tuna” is filmed. He captains the F/V Hard Merchandise. Additonally, he’s unlike some of the other fishing captains and crew in the area. Marciano doesn’t come from a family of fishermen.

However, the fishing captain said he’s always enjoys it – with or without the cameras. The “Wicked Tuna” star reiterated that he’s not an actor and on no occasion can he control the catch.

“It’s not like we can set up the cameras and go, ‘OK fish bite,’” he said. “It doesn’t work like that. There’s a lot of downtime when we’re waiting. … You guys don’t see all the downtime.”

“Wicked Tuna” Star Gets Real About Long Fishing Days

Speaking of not being able to train the fish, Marciano spoke about the grueling fishing trips the crews embark on each season.

The fishing captain relents that the job is tough, it’s not always pretty and it can be extremely tedious at times.

“I think the actual fishing days you see are accurate. What’s really hard to get a sense of is that if you watch the show, it looks like we’re just out for the day. The viewer really doesn’t see that most of the time we’re out for multiple days at a time,” Marciano expressed.

During the crew’s downtime, and probably what the viewer won’t see, is the team playing cards, resting, or prepping meals.