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Matthew J. Webster – Writer

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Wicked Tuna Breakdown – S1/EP. 8

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Happy Memorial Day! An unnamed US soldier in Afghanistan throws his “tails up”. Photo courtesy Susan Seger Corsbie.

5/25/12 – CAMBRIDGE, MATTHEW J. WEBSTER
NatGeo has signed on for another season of Wicked Tuna! The news was leaked just a few hours ago, via Facebook, by F/V Bounty Hunter mate Scott Ferreiro. No surprise to this observer, considering the show’s globe-sweeping impact as pictured above, but still very impressive considering the shared time slot with AMC’s Mad Men.

Episode 8 should remind avid viewers that Wicked Tuna is produced within the limits of the reality format: since it’s impossible to actually portray everything that takes place over the course of a commercial fishing season, Wicked Tuna unfolds in non-linear “TV time”. The goal is to evoke the spirit of the work and leave out the boring stuff.

Photo courtesy Ali Kat.

As such, Episode 8 begins two weeks before the end of giant tuna season. I seem to remember a previous installment being set two days before, but who cares? Paul Hebert, formerly of the Tuna.com, has moved over to Captain Bill Monte’s Bounty Hunter, and Monte seems to be falling prey to every good fisherman’s tragic flaw — superstition. Monte’s hoping Hebert has some inside dope, or esoteric technique, that will improve the crew’s fortunes. Unfortunately not.

“Tuna-ing is 90 percent luck,” says Hebert.

“I think the prick just likes to hear himself talk,” says his new mate, Scott Ferreiro.

Over on the Hard Merchandise, baldhead skipper Dave Marciano’s got Jason Muenzner, his first mate and nephew, under the microscope.

“I dropped the anchor a million times, but with Marciano looking over you, it’s intimidating,” says Muenzner.

Monk Mask Replica – Jason Muenzner of the Hard Merchandise.

It all comes good later, when Muenzner reels in a 500-pounder, as expertly as you please. Can we get the Hard Merchandise some classic hard rock for background music in Season 2? Maybe Queen’s Big Bottom Girls? Dave likes that one.

WICKED TUNA QUOTE OF THE WEEK – S1/EP. 8

“We might go on a streak, we might get a bunch of zeroes. But I know Dave will put us on that meat. I’m always coming out ahead when I’m fishing with him, because the knowledge he gives me is priceless.”

-Jason Muenzner, first mate of the F/V Hard Merchandise

Written by webster71

May 26, 2012 at 00:14

Wicked Tuna Breakdown – S1/E7

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

5/14/12 – CAMBRIDGE, #MATTHEW J. WEBSTER

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 Tuna.com, 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 Tuna.com’s good luck rub off? Tuna-in to NatGeo next week to find out.

WICKED TUNA QUOTE OF THE WEEK: S1/E7

“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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4/30/12 – CAMBRIDGE,  #MATTHEW J. WEBSTER

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.

WICKED TUNA QUOTE OF THE WEEK – Episode Five

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

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

Written by webster71

April 30, 2012 at 14:03

Wicked Tuna Breakdown – S1/E3

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4/16/12,  CAMBRIDGE – #MATTHEW J. WEBSTER

Episode 3 begins with our seamen fishing on a summer weekend, a situation they prefer to avoid because of waters crowded with troublesome “googans,” or amateurs. Here they have no choice, as they’re up against foul weather predictions for the week ahead.

The treatment of the googan problem exemplifies Wicked Tuna’s balance of genuine, entertaining characters with informative reportage. The screaming down that Captain Ralph Wilkins gives one weekend warrior fishing too close to the Odysea might seem unnecessary if not followed by Ralph’s explanation that, as the tide turns, his baited lines could easily snag with the googan’s anchor line.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by webster71

April 16, 2012 at 14:03

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

CAMBRIDGE — 3/29/12 — MATTHEW J. WEBSTER

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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