Only if you have been living under a rock might you have missed the reality series “Wicked Tuna”, that has amassed a massive following over its 11-season run. Initially released in 2012, the show follows a group of commercial tuna fishermen in Gloucester, Massachusetts and their journey as they make a living by fishing the highly coveted Bluefin tuna. The fishers divided into teams compete in sometimes hilarious and captivating battles to see who can emerge with the most profit from catching the fish.
Besides the thrilling elements of competition, the show additionally illuminates some of the crucial issues surrounding the fate of the endangered Bluefin tuna, that have put this species on the list of endangered fishes. Given the popularity, it does not surprise that the show spawned a spin-off series entitled “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.”
- 1 Who is the cast of “Wicked Tuna”?
- 2 How much does the cast get paid?
- 3 T.J. Ott of the Hot Tuna
- 4 Dave Marciano of the Hard Merchandise
- 5 Dave Carraro of the FV-Tuna.com
- 6 Tyler McLaughlin of the Pin Wheel
- 7 Paul Herbert of Wicked Pissah
- 8 Bob Cook of the Fat Tuna
- 9 Spurge Krasowski of the Moonshine
- 10 Jack Patrician of the Time Flies
- 11 Sandro Maniaci
- 12 Controversy on the Show
- 13 Paul Hebert Fraud Case
- 14 The Loss of Three Cast Members
- 15 Who has the most wins?
- 16 When will the next season air?
Who is the cast of “Wicked Tuna”?
As happens with any show, since launching the series, numerous cast members have exited the show for various reasons. However, the current cast numbers nine members – T.J. Ott Dave Marciano, Dave Cararro, Tyler McLaughlin, Paul Hebert, Bob Cook, Spurge Krasowski, Jack Patrican and Sandro Maniaci.
How much does the cast get paid?
Each cast member gets different pay which largely depends on their experience in the industry. Initially, each boat received between $2,000- $3,000 per episode. However, as the show’s popularity grew, so did the members’ paychecks, and over time, the amount rose to $ 10,000 per episode plus the acquired revenues from the fish they caught. As one of the most expensive and sought-after fish, Bluefin tuna can cost between $20 – $40 per pound weight, about double that per kilo. However, the price also depends on the location where it was caught, the season and the supply, and can fluctuate up to $200 per pound.
T.J. Ott of the Hot Tuna
Timothy James Ott known as T.J. is captain of the fishing boat “Hot Tuna”, and reportedly receives $100,000 per episode, which is very high compared to the other cast members’ pay. Coming from a family rooted in the fishing industry, he has more than 30 years of experience under his belt.
At the age of 12, he caught his first Bluefin tuna, and took over the family business when he was 20. In the third season, T.J. joined the show’s cast and has been a regular ever since. According to reports, his net worth as of 2022 is estimated at $500,000.
Dave Marciano of the Hard Merchandise
One of the original members of the show, Dave Marciano has been on “Wicked Tuna” since its launch in 2012. The captain of Hard Merchandise, Dave, a skilled fisherman earns around $83,000 per episode. In addition to his high salary he is also one of the most popular captains and is often described as “real” and “down-to-earth”.
As a skillful and versatile individual who has spent more than four decades navigating the fishing industry, Dave has amassed enorous experience and rightfully has the biggest estimated net worth of all cast members – $600,000. Interestingly, he stepped into the business driven by zeal for tuna; Dave bought a fishing license and ship, and literally launched into the business.
Dave Carraro of the FV-Tuna.com
Dave Carraro is also one of the original cast members who has been featured on every season of the show. According to the latest reports, he makes around $83,000 per episode. Dave developed an interest in fishing at a very young age, and has harbored love and dedication for it ever since. After completing his education, he launched a career in the industry, and emerged as an experienced tuna fisher with an envious reputation, which eventually landed him a spot in the reality TV series.
FV-TUNA.COM Captain, Dave Carraro, is worried about the bluefin buyer shutdown.
Dave, an entrepreneur with his fishing firm and a commercial pilot, is one of the popular members, due to his benevolent attitude and competitive nature.
Tyler McLaughlin of the Pin Wheel
Tyler, who joined the show in the third season, is making around $10,000 per episode. He rose to popularity for his incredible skills and excellent debut season, which he won by reeling in a tuna apparently worth over $100,000. Before joining “Wicked Tuna,” Tyler competed at the 75-boat tournament in Maine, making a splash and becoming known for his vigor and high ambitions. He attributed his skillfulness and abilities to years of training under several seasoned fishers. Besides his role in the show and fishing business, he is also a businessman with marketing his quality apparel entitled “Pin Wheel Gate.” His estimated net worth is in the range of $400,000.
Paul Herbert of Wicked Pissah
Paul Herbert, who has starred in the show since the third season, earns around $10,000 per episode.
He is a third-generation fisherman who took on the craft from his father, after developing a love for it from a young age. Paul reportedly caught a huge Bluefin Tuna 1,100 pound-heavy, about 500hgs when he was eight.
That isn’t his only notable achievement – he’s the holder of the record of catching a giant mako shark, weighing over 1,530 pounds, about 700kgs; his remarkable catch was featured in the 1997 edition of the “Old Colony Memorial” newspaper. Paul previously worked with FV-Tuna.Com. When it comes to his net worth, he doesn’t fall much short compared to other members, being estimated at $400,000.
Bob Cook of the Fat Tuna
Bob Cook is a USCG (United States Coast Guard Charter Boat License) 100GT captain who earns around $10,000 per episode.
Similar to other captains, the Beverly native has a background in the fishing industry, and has been active for more than two decades in Northeast waters, honing his craft and experience. He’s acquired knowledge of onshore and offshore lobstering and commercial swordfishing. His estimated net worth is at $350,000. In addition to his fishing business and spot on the series, Bob co-owns a pizzeria entitled “Little Italy” in Beverly Hills.
Spurge Krasowski of the Moonshine
Spurge Krasowski is one of the members who joined the tuna hunt in the 10th season; he makes around $10,000 per episode. A skilled fisherman, he has been spent more than forty years in the industry, and shares a true passion for fishing. Also a bit of a joker, Spurge, who is 76 years old, calls his boat a “43-foot rocking chair, saying: “Instead of being in a rocking chair, I got a 43-foot rocking chair.’
During his debut performance on the show, Spurge and his protégé Ryan Fletcher made a splash, reeling in a 304-pound tuna worth approximately $2,000. He followed this success with another- in the third episode, when he caught a 166-pound tuna. As of 2022, his estimated net worth is $350,000.
Jack Patrician of the Time Flies
Jack Patrician, introduced in the 10th season, receives $10,000 per episode. He’s one of the newest members, and not much information is known about him and his life. While on the show, he disclosed that he’d been in the industry for over 10 years, and his boat specialized in Striped Bass and Giant Bluefin tuna. His wealth is in the range of $300,000.
Sandro Maniaci’s pay is in the range of $10,000 per episode. Similar to other members, Sandro developed an interest in fishing when he was just a child.
Hailing from Gloucester, he landed his lucky break when Dave Carraro needed a partner, so Sandro joined him on a tuna hunt, and the rest, as they say, is history. With 10 years of experience in the industry, Sandro gives fishing enthusiasts a thrill and action-packed adventure. His estimated net worth is in the range of $300,000.
Controversy on the Show
Even though the show has amassed a large fan base, and continues drawing solid ratings, it has attracted some controversy and criticism for various reasons over the years. Since launching the show, it received backlash for exaggerating tuna prices, which according to some individuals in the industry, aren’t realistic and do not represent its actual value. While most reality shows are centered on glamorizing the job that has been showcased, it’s logical to assume that many viewers might try to do the same.
The show portrays Bluefin tuna fishing as a highly lucrative business, in which one can earn up to $40 per pound and consider that Bluefin tuna weighs between 480-55lbs, that is a high income. However, some fishermen claim that Bluefin tuna could be bought for only $6 per pound.
Paul Hebert Fraud Case
While most of us believe that celebrities are exempt from “mundane” repercussions and consequences, Paul Hebert showed that it’s not always the case. As a public person and a TV star, it was unlikely that the government would not track his earnings.
In June 2018, he was sentenced to four years of probation with a $5,000 fine, and ordered to pay over $53,000 in restitution for Social Security and Medicaid fraud after pleading guilty to two counts of benefit fraud. Reportedly, he was sued after he failed to amend his status as a person unfit to work due to a disability.
Despite his position, he continued to star in the show, working on his ship and displaying his skills, which involves a lot of physical activity when it comes to fishing.
The original indictment claimed that he collected disability benefits from 2010 to 2012 of $34,000 after swearing under oath that he was “completely disabled.” Additionally, it contained a letter of his statements which alleged that he had lived on $25 while his monthly income was in the range of $50, which included the food stamps. Although Paul landed himself in hot water with this benefits fraud, it did discredit his role or place on the show, and he continued to star in addition to avoiding jail time.
The Loss of Three Cast Members
Watching the episodes from a cozy, safe and dry sofa and following the adventures of its cast is very entertaining and exciting.
However, despite the speciously undemanding portrayal of this laborious business, working on the vessel is quite hazardous. Although luckily there hasn’t been a fatal accident on the show, some cast members have died behind the camera in unfortunate circumstances.
Nicholas “Duffy” Fudge
One of the show’s favorites, Nicholas Fudge, who worked with Captain Tyler McLaughlin of Pin Wheel, died in July 2015. He was found unresponsive by his friends at his residence, and following emergency respondents’ arrival, pronounced dead. Nicholas’ cause of death remained a mystery for several years, inviting rumors and controversy.
Later it was announced that he suffered from decompression sickness, a medical condition caused by changed barometric pressure. In simple words, it is a type of injury that happens when there is a rapid decrease in pressure around the body, and often occurs to scuba or deep-sea divers.
One of those unlucky members was also William Hathaway, the star of “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks”, who passed away after being involved in a fatal car crash that landed him in a ditch. He called his wife and talked to her after the accident, explaining the situation, but unfortunately, despite him sounding okay on the phone, he was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.
In September 2015, another cast member, Adam Mosner, who worked under McLaughlin, passed away in Portsmouth due to a fentanyl overdose. After his death, his parents spoke about the destructiveness and devastating effects of opioid use. While on the show, Adam proved to be a valuable asset to the Pin Wheel vessel, coming out on top in the second season, and many viewers assumed that his journey was only just getting started. Sadly, his ride didn’t last long, but he will always be remembered.
Who has the most wins?
As a reality series with a competition element, everybody wants to know who holds the most wins since launching the series – Dave Carraro of the FV- Tuna.com. Even though fishing tuna is his bread and butter, it’s evident that Dave Carraro enjoys the pleasure of fishing, and the joy of winning. So far, he’s taken the season’s winner title five times, in the first, third, fifth, sixth and eighth seasons; so who holds second place in terms of winning? Tayler McLaughlin is right behind Dave Carraro with two wins, taking the title in the second and seventh seasons. Three other captains, T.J. Ott, Dave Marciano and Paul Herbert, have each won a single season.
When will the next season air?
The 11th season has kicked off recently, on 27 February 2022, with a 90-minute episode entitled “Back on the Hunt” on National Geographic. All those who missed the adventures of our beloved captains can watch the seasons 1-10 on the streaming platform Disney+.