10 Years Later, Still Going Strong: Wicked Tuna Q&A with Captain Dave Carraro

September 07, 2021 / A Local Favorite, Good to Know, Local Characters, Outdoor Adventures

After 10 years and 100 plus episodes later, National Geographic’s hit TV series, Wicked Tuna, is still going strong. We had a chance to “cast a line” of questions to Captain Dave Carraro of FV-Tuna.com to find out what it’s been like being part of this show that has brought our historic and authentic city worldwide.

How did you come to be involved in Wicked Tuna?

FV-Tuna.Com (left to right) Fish Buyer and Captain Dave Carraro discussing the quality of the bluefin catch. (PFTV/Jake Stollmeyer)

For me, Wicked Tuna started as a phone call from the production company saying they were possibly going to produce a show about tuna fishing. They were interested in interviewing me and came out on the boat to shoot some footage. With what they captured from us, along with a few other boats, they produced a pilot episode for networks to review. Once National Geographic picked up the pilot, the production company contacted the captains they felt best for the show and asked if we’d be interested in being part of the cast. And here we are, 10 seasons later, still going strong. Most reality shows fail early on, so for us to be here 10 years, 100+ episodes later, it’s very exciting to have been a part of it since the beginning.

When did it hit you that Wicked Tuna had become a success?

It was during the third season, that was when people really started recognizing me and the other captains in public. We weren’t faces in the crowd anymore, we were faces from the TV show. After the first season, we had a few fans here or there, but by season three there was a line of people when we’d come in from fishing, that’s when it really hit me that the show was becoming popular and drawing a big tourist crowd.

Why do you think Wicked Tuna resonates so well with viewers?

Most people who watch the show are landlocked and haven’t heard of a bluefin tuna, that a fish of this size and power even existed. That’s the feedback I get from fans. So to watch us catch these fish on a small rod and reel, people are just so impressed that we catch such big fish on small tackle and the money that can be made and lost over just one fish. You can hit the jackpot on that one great “catch”. Fans love the competition between the boats, they all have favorite boats like people have a favorite sports team.

Do you think the show has changed people’s perception of the commercial fishing industry, or the fishing profession? If so, how?

It has made viewers more aware of what commercial fishing is and the hardships that go with it, the failures, the successes, the risks, the money that can be made and lost. People can put a face to the plate of seafood that they’re eating and have a sense of where that fish came from.

What’s been the biggest surprise for you about being on the show?

Never at any point in my life did I think that I’d come in from fishing and have people on the dock waiting to say hello or have someone approach me in a restroom asking to take a picture of me! The fame for catching a fish and being on TV—I never could have seen this coming. And the kids! Kids love the show, they approach me with a nervous energy…I feel like a superhero when I’m around children…and they always ask the coolest questions.

You and first mate Sandro Maniaci have fished together since the beginning of the series. How has your relationship evolved over the years, and why do you think you two make such a good team?

Sandro has been with me for 13 years. In fact his first day of commercial fishing was with me. It’s been great watching him grow into his own and seeing firsthand his progress over the years. I’m proud that he’s taken what he’s learned and applied it so well. Sandro has the passion, the drive, the integrity that it takes for this job. For me to let someone take my boat out without me takes trust—and over the years he’s earned that trust.

You’ve been the top-earning boat on Wicked Tuna five times, more than any other captain. What’s the secret to your success?

The other captains would say I’m a “lucky boat”, but I say you earn your luck, good or bad. Each year that we have won has been credited to our hard work, our knowledge, and our collaboration. We work together very well as a team and that wins big!


Top Photo: Tuna.com’s Captain and Crew. Courtesy of National Geographic.

Wicked Tuna airs Sundays at 9/8c on National Geographic, and stream past seasons on Disney+.