Q&A: Wicked Tuna Star Talks Season 5, ‘Boston Sunfish Bros’

Captain Dave Marciano liked the video, but doesn't think Mikey and Jay would be a good fit for his crew.
Captain Dave Marciano Photo by National Geographic

Captain Dave Marciano Photo by National Geographic

As Wicked Tuna—National Geographic’s wildly popular, Massachusetts-set reality series—prepares to set sail once again, don’t expect veteran fisherman Captain Dave Marciano to make any rookie mistakes like the infamous “Boston sunfish bros” on the upcoming fifth season.

Unlike Mikey and Jay, Marciano can tell the difference between a “baby wheel” and your everyday sunfish, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a chuckle at the viral video.

While the captain enjoyed the hilarious clip, he doesn’t think its stars could cut as crewmen aboard his boat.

“I’m not sure they’d be an ideal match,” Marciano said. “I like my peace and quiet. It seems like those guys have way too much to say.”

Check out what else Marciano had to say about the video, what fans can expect during season 5, and more.

So as a fisherman from Massachusetts, what did you think of the ‘Boston sunfish bros’ video that went viral?

It was pretty funny. It had nothing to do with our show, but obviously through social media a lot of people kind of tagged me on Facebook and Twitter because my crewman’s name is Jay… It’s funny, we see those ocean sunfish out there on occasion when we’re out fishing. Some day, Jay and I are going to do a little spoof of that very video. We just need the right situation.

Would you ever let Mikey and Jay join your crew?

I’m not sure they’d be an ideal match. Jay and I work well together, and if you notice, I don’t have a lot of different guys on my boat if people watch the show. I have Jay with me, my son works with me, and I think a lot of it has to do with that they’re really good crewmen and Jay most of all knows I like my peace and quiet. It seems like those guys have way too much to say.

The video was so funny because they didn’t know what a sunfish was, which you’d spot in a second. But what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at sea?

I guess the strangest thing I’ve come across on a rare occasion is a torpedo ray. They’re right out here in the Gulf of Maine. They have a range from about here to Florida, so all up and down the coast. They’re generally a deepwater species. What’s interesting is they have a body kind of shaped like a shark, expect the head of them is shaped like a stingray. They are very odd-looking and the real kicker is they’re electric like an electric eel. In the fishing industry over the years, that’s always one of our favorite tricks to play on the new guys on the boat. I’m sure I played it on Jay when he was new. If you’re handling them, you can tell if you watch, just before it contracts its muscles, that’s when it’s going to give a shock. You can go, ‘Oh yeah, they’re fine to touch,’ and it’s always a good laugh when the new guy reaches out to touch it and basically gets knocked on his butt.

Have you enjoyed any perks since becoming a reality TV star?

Oh sure. The perks are we kind of have little things come into place like endorsements. We’re getting fishing tackles and companies like that reach out to us. As a fisherman, that’s pretty cool. Obviously too, my charter business has gotten a really big bump. Not many charter boat operators have an opportunity to, essentially, make it commercial.

Who’s going to be your biggest competition this season?

As usual, Dave Carraro of FV-Tuna.com is a top fisherman, not to say all of the other captains aren’t top notch fisherman. The season’s over, we filmed it during the summer, but we had a great season tuna fishing. All of the boats on the show caught a lot of fish. I can’t say who caught what, but it’s going to be a very exciting season to say the least. We have more fish on film that we caught than any other season prior.

It’s good to hear that you guys had a great year since there’s always concerns about over-fishing and the affects that has on the wild populations. All that considered, are you positive about the future of the fishing industry?

Absolutely! It’s getting better all of the time. From 2015 to 2016, we’ve had a 20 percent increase in our quota as fishermen on the year for that western Atlantic stock [of bluefin tuna]. That’s totally due to the stocks getting bigger every year. We’ve been working at rebuilding giant bluefin tuna for well over 25 years. It’s starting to pay off. It starts out slow because they tend to grow slow. These 500-600 lb. fish that we catch, they’re probably 15-20 years old, so if you’re rebuilding populations it takes time. Now, after all of these years of working at it, we’re starting to get these pay offs. Every year the stock is becoming larger, larger, and larger.

‘Wicked Tuna’ returns for season 5 on National Geographic Monday, February 1 at 9 p.m.

This interview has been edited and condensed.