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Matthew J. Webster – Writer

Posts Tagged ‘bluefin tuna

Wicked Tuna Breakdown – S1/E7

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Above, the cast of Wicked Tuna. That’s my old high school in the background.


Captain Ralph Wilkins of the F/V Odysea starts out this trip with a case of the midseason blues, meaning he hasn’t caught a bluefin in a while and it’s making him superstitious. Pirate, his mate, confirms the Odysea’s been having some bad luck, and proposes that “bad things” tend to happen in sets of three. The episode narrates their progress as they attempt to shake off the slump.

Salem’s Donna Monte captures the hearts of America’s deep-sea-fishing public by weeping openly at the dock as her husband, Bill, steams out in the Bounty Hunter. Like Wilkins, the Montes have been on a cold streak, and Donna has to return to her day job temporarily. But what really bugs her is missing out on a day at sea.

On the, first mate Paul Hebert is growing weary of Captain Dave Carraro’s management style, and rebels by sitting in Carraro’s chair, flagrantly challenging the skipper’s authority.

“I’m gonna have to get someone else,” says Carraro.

Later, Hebert meets Bill Monte in the parking lot next to Beacon Marine, a ramshackle part-residential, part-industrial wharfside complex in Gloucester that perpetually appears about to slide into the ocean. There they conspire to bring Hebert over to the Bounty Hunter. Will some of the’s good luck rub off? Tuna-in to NatGeo next week to find out.


“If Donna had been on deck, we would have caught that [EXPLETIVE] fish.” – Captain Bill Monte of the F/V Bounty Hunter

Written by webster71

May 14, 2012 at 17:10

Wicked Tuna Breakdown – S1/E5

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With Captain Kevin Leonowert of the f/v Christina coming off a season-high giant tuna catch in the last episode, Week Five finds him hooking and losing not one but four likely keepers.

NatGeo’s producers show their savvy by positioning Leonowert to personify Aristotle’s concept of peripitea, as described in Poetics: it’s more dramatic to portray a once-vaunted man who has fallen on hard times than the other way around.

Capt. Dave Marciano makes a smart move by bringing his teenage son, Joseph, out on the Hard Merchandise, and is rewarded when the lucky youth reels in a 600-pound fatty. Marciano coaches confidently as his son finishes the job, and the crew is treated to a traditional family greeting when they find Dave’s wife, Nancy, and their youngest daughter waiting at the dock for their return.

Capt. Ralph Wilkins, of Provincetown’s f/v Odysea, comes up short for slobs this week, but demonstrates sufficient patience and chum-chucking technique to show he’s a break-even skipper at worst, and more likely a badass fisherman. Bravo to NatGeo for also including an informational spot during the third commercial break to let a balanced selection of scientists and experts outline their perspectives on tuna conservation.


“I’m not arrested, and we’re good to go.”

–Paul Hebert, first mate of the, after Coast Guard officials have completed a routine onboard regulatory check.

Written by webster71

April 30, 2012 at 14:03

Wicked Tuna Breakdown – S1/E4

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Captain Kevin Leonowert of the f/v Christina proves the clear hero of  Episode 4, first by landing a one-thousand-pound giant tuna that at least a couple of other boats had already marked on their sonar devices, then by catching another big “slob” (aka tuna) later in the same episode.

Dave (aka “Tricky Dave”) Carraro, the competitive captain of the, is grinding his teeth just knowing the Christina got a fatter slob than him. Meanwhile, Capt. Dave Marciano of the Hard Merchandise has grown “desperate” enough to accept a day of charter fishing, which means he has to cut bait and tell fishing stories to a bunch of googans who never even caught a medium tuna before.

“These guys are offering me money for a chance to go out and catch a few fish,” explains Dave. “Call me a slut but they offered me money.”

The charter turns out more successful than anyone hoped, however, when the Hard Merchandise crew hooks and lands an 800-pounder. Dave even gives each of the “landjobs” on his boat a chance to reel in a few turns of giant tuna (once he’s properly set the hook, of course).


“And I thought tuna fishing was expensive.”

 — Dave Marciano, upon learning that his wife is running a tab of $487.50 at the same tackle shop where he’s rigging up for his next adventure.

Written by webster71

April 29, 2012 at 20:43

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Wicked Tuna on NatGeo channel! Watch the whole first episode here!


Call me a “homer,” but the gala pre-screening of Wicked Tuna’s season one premier, at the Wilbur Theater last Tuesday night, was the best 42 minutes of sports television I have seen.  

The NatGeo channel premier is 10PM Sunday, but these wicked sharp sportsmen (and one woman) are already big stars, covering national TV news, radio, and broadsheets in the past week. Wicked Tuna portrays exceptionally genuine, hard-working characters, all fishing out of the historic seafaring city of Gloucester, MA., which is also my own home town.

Bluefin are wiry, intelligent animals weighing up to a thousand pounds. Wicked Tuna’s narrative pacing is graphic and authentic — long, tedious, waiting periods at sea building up to action sequences of fishermen hooking and harpooning tuna, culminating with crafty overhead shots of the long, steaming beasts pulled onboard along the narrow side berths* of boats no longer than 38 feet.  

Wicked Tuna is about huge, tasty fish and the thrill of the hunt, but natGeo also does the right thing by explaining that none of these cursing, probably stinky, real-life fishing characters is finally concerned with plundering the environment, or a fat paycheck.The bulk of their work really supports tuna conservation, and it’s very hard work.

The show’s innovative under-and-aboverwater photography makes up for the occasionally creative editing and its loose points regarding day-to-day fishing business.

One of the guys on the show is called Pirate. Pirate’s cool, all the elegant ladies wanted to have their pictures taken with Pirate at the Wilbur.  

(*Dave Marciano will call me a “landjob” if I get the nautical terms wrong.)

Written by webster71

March 30, 2012 at 18:32

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