‘Wicked Tuna’ Fans Spark Debate About the Crews’ ‘Expenses Over Income’

by Amy Myers

Wicked Tuna fans want to get to the meat of the matter. How much do the stars of the show really make after all is said and done? Sure, the show accounts for how much each catch is worth, but as Reddit users point out, this is only part of the picture. There are still a number of expenses that the vessel’s captain has to fund from the tuna money, and even then he still has other crew members to pay for the 12-week season. With how much money it takes to fund an efficient tuna vessel, it seems like the crews are fighting a losing battle to make enough income on the water.

One Reddit user started the conversation by pointing out the discrepancies with the Tuna.com crew’s win at the end of season six. By the end of the season, Tuna.com managed to bring in just $19 more than its close competitor, Pinwheel. However, the final tally didn’t account for the fact that Tuna.com had a crew of three, while Pinwheel only had two. Not to mention the Pinwheel is a much less expensive vessel to maintain and repair. So, by the time the captain wrote the checks, the crew on the Pinwheel would end up seeing more money than the season’s actual winners.

Fans Question Whether ‘Wicked Tuna’ Stars Make Stable Income Through Fishing

“The fixation on income alone is a bit annoying when considering the fact most crews talk a lot about this being how they make their living,” the user said in the Subreddit.

Other fans concurred with the user’s analysis.

“Yea and if you add it up it seems like they must be doing other jobs all year and this is just a side gig,” another fan speculated.

The Wicked Tuna fan isn’t too far off. Because tuna season is only 12 weeks long, no matter what the turnout at the end of the season, the star anglers have to find another way to make ends meet when they’re not trolling for bluefin. As another fan correctly pointed out, the fishermen supplement the rest of the year with charter trips.

On the other hand, starring in a reality series doesn’t hurt the bank account, either. As of March 2021, according to The Sun, the stars of Wicked Tuna see $100,000 per episode, regardless of what they reel in. This is much higher than the show profits that the anglers saw when the show first started, earning only $2,000 to $3,000 per episode. But this doesn’t mean that the fishermen are any less hungry for the biggest catch. With tuna prices at $40 a pound, a sizeable tuna can rake in $20,000 extra for the crew’s income, depending on the condition of the meat.

Likely, even if the income from Wicked Tuna meant hard living, the crew members would still continue to onto the Atlantic every season. After all, they have saltwater running through their veins.