‘Wicked Tuna’: Captain Dave Marciano Explains Why Cast Can’t Fake Moments on Show

by Amy Myers

Whenever there’s a reality show, there will always be a batch of skeptical fans. It’s the yin and yang of quality television–one cannot exist without the other. Wicked Tuna is no exception to this rule. Some moments might feel too convenient or too dramatic to be true. With how advanced video editing technology has become, it’s sometimes hard to know what’s genuinely real and what’s scripted on our favorite programs. After all, ratings are the driving force behind a show. And plenty of fans of numerous other reality series have caught producers in the act of fabricating the storylines. However, Captain Dave Marciano assures vessel viewers that Wicked Tuna is wicked real.

Dave Marciano has fished with the series in both Massachusetts and the Outer Banks. He’s captained more than one ship on the show and had his fair shares of victories and losses. In short, he’s been through the ringer on Wicked Tuna and is one of its pivotal players. If there’s any cast or crew member on the show that can speak to its validity, it’s Captain Marciano.

“It’s not like we can set up the cameras and go, ‘OK fish bite,’” Marciano explained in an interview with Hollywood Soapbox. “It doesn’t work like that.”

If Marciano loses a big catch, there’s no chance of getting that back or planning a do-over. In fact, if the National Geographic producers could train the tuna to bite the bait on command, they likely wouldn’t even need the captains at all. As Marciano and his fellow Wicked Tuna captains know, bluefin tunas are incredibly elusive and slippery fish. Catching them is a task of its own. Training them would be worthy of an award.

‘Wicked Tuna’ Reveals The ‘Real Challenge’ Of Filming

From the moment Marciano and the Hard Merchandise crew shove off from shore, the cameras are on and recording. Every moment, whether dramatic or not, is on film. And sometimes, the juxtaposition between downtime and actual fishing is hard to portray on the show.

“There’s a lot of downtime when we’re waiting,” Marciano said. “You guys don’t see all the downtime.”

On the other hand, for as much material as the Wicked Tuna filming crew has on the crew taking inventory or counting seagulls, there are as many missed moments of exciting action.

“Again we’re not actors. It has to be real, so they have to capture it that very first time,” he shared. “And that’s what the real challenge is.”

Luckily, for Marciano and other Wicked Tuna captains, the cameras have caught plenty of their more celebratory moments on the water. Even if the season isn’t going as planned, though, the captain has no intention of tricking their viewers.

“If we try to reenact or do [some] acting, people are going to see right through us,” Marciano said.