When the Wicked Tuna captains of Gloucester, Massachusetts headed down the coast to North Carolina, they probably expected the waters to be roughly the same. However, as they would soon find out, the fishing in Outer Banks was a completely different game than it was up north.
While the waters might look the same at first glance, the elusive tuna underneath the surface of the Massachusetts and Outer Banks waters behave quite differently. From feeding habits to school quantities, the tuna from North Carolina might as well have been a different breed of fish altogether.
Captain Dave Carraro of Tuna.com led his crew and vessel through both Gloucester and Outer Banks waves, and he knows exactly what it takes to succeed in both types of environments. Of course, the key to unlocking the tuna populations in both states is first identifying how to adapt your previous techniques. That’s exactly what Carraro did when he arrived at the Outer Banks shores.
‘Wicked Tuna’ Captain Rethinks Fishing Techniques
When Carraro first began looking for tuna around the Outer Banks, the Wicked Tuna captain first noticed that the fish fed much closer to the surface than they did in Gloucester. Back in his old stomping grounds, Carraro would find tuna feeding further down in the ocean. This meant he had to pivot from anchored fishing to trolling.
“Up [in Gloucester], we’re sitting on anchor and we’re waiting for the fish to come to us,” Carraro shared on last year’s season finale of Wicked Tuna. “Whereas down in the Outer Banks, we’re not on anchor, we’re moving, trolling, and we’re looking for the fish. Two different techniques. What works up here wouldn’t work down there.”
This isn’t as simple as raising the anchor and patrolling around the waters until they find tuna in their nets. While anchored fishing requires patience and strategic placement, trolling requires rapid changes. If an area doesn’t reveal any tuna, the captains have to make the quick decision to stay put or move to different waters. This split-second decision can make or break the day’s catch.
Tuna in the south also tends to come in higher numbers. As the Wicked Tuna captain reported, “When you’re on fish, you’re on a lot of fish.”
“It definitely can be a little more exciting down there knowing there’s so many fish underneath the boat.”
Meanwhile, up north in Massachusetts, your daily haul might not be quite as impressive as the Outer Banks’, but your haul over time will likely be steadier and more reliable.
For Carraro and many other captains, the gamble down south is worth the risk. And for these men, chasing down tuna rather than waiting for them to bite is much more rewarding at the end of the day.