Q&A With Wicked Tuna’s Dave Marciano, Captain of the Hard Merchandise

November 02, 2020 / Good to Know, Outdoor Adventures, Things to Do & See

In March 2020, Wicked Tuna premiered its 9th season on the National Geographic channel. This “monstah” of a TV series landed in the port of Gloucester, MA in 2012 which brought thousands of viewers around the world to America’s oldest seaport. Each episode caught the latest adventures of actual bluefin tuna fishing captains and their crews who share their lives and real-life tales and trials of the commercial fishing industry. Fans of the show travel year round to Gloucester which is just 40 minutes north of Boston, in hopes to reel in a chance to meet one the captains, to see their fishing boats, to buy their Wicked Tuna gear, as well as discover all that this coastal and historic city has to offer. Discover Gloucester met with fan-favorite Captain Dave Marciano of the Hard Merchandise for a Q&A to find out what life is really like on and off the camera.

How does it feel to be a celebrity in your home port?

It’s crazy! It’s something I never imagined happening, but it’s also been a blessing. Sometimes it can take 20 minutes for us just to get off the boat because people are lined up watching us come in. Even on the days when we’re tired after a long trip, I’m always happy to meet with fans. It’s been a very humbling experience, and it’s good for the community.

What is it like to be on camera while you battle a fish?
Wicked Tuna's Crew of the Hard Merchandise in Gloucester, MA

Photo credit: National Geographic

It’s always a challenge. Before Wicked Tuna, we were quite reserved when we were fighting fish – we were focused, we wouldn’t say much at all. Once we started filming, we had to learn to become more animated because we were making a television show, and we had to get into the habit of explaining what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I remember early on, the cameraman said to me, “I want you to explain things to me like you would explain things to your youngest daughter. Remember the viewers may not know anything about commercial fishing; it’s your job to help people understand what’s going on.” That really stuck with me.

Do all the captains get along in real life?

Yes, generally speaking. Out of all the guys on the show, Captain Dave Carraro of the FV-Tuna.com and I have become really great friends over the years. I knew who he was before the show came along, and I knew he had a reputation for being a good fisherman, but since we’ve been working together on Wicked Tuna we’ve become very close.

Can folks go out fishing with you?  How does that happen?

Our charter season runs from April 15 – July 15, and then we usually have a few open spots in October after production wraps. All our charters are booked through our website, fvhardmerchandise.com.

How has Wicked Tuna changed the town of Gloucester?

It’s put Gloucester on the international map, and it’s been great for the community. Gloucester has a 400-year history, and Wicked Tuna has helped keep the town moving forward. Of course, Wicked Tuna isn’t the only reason people come to Gloucester, but it has been a big factor in recent years.

What sets Gloucester apart from other fishing communities?

Gloucester has always been a top fishing community because of its proximity to so many rich fishing grounds. Places like Stellwagen Bank, Jeffreys Ledge, Tillies Bank, are all very rich historic fishing grounds, and those spots are the reason Gloucester came into being – to be close to the best fishing in the world.

Do you have any favorite local spots to recommend?

I like Morning Glory for breakfast, and Gloucester House is great. I also like Charlie’s Place for fresh local seafood.