New Jersey native and "Wicked Tuna" captain Dave Carraro will regale visitors with tales from the high seas and may even spill some secrets from the new season at the New York Boat Show. Credit: National Geographic Channel
Weighing up to 1,200 pounds and tearing through the ocean at 40 miles an hour, the bluefin tuna is no easy catch. Earlier this year, Captain Dave Carraro and his crew spent a full ten hours fighting a single fish in rough waters. “All three of us were on that rod from the dark hours in the morning, until after it was dark at night,” Carraro said. “It’s basically like you’re hooking up to a car on the highway - you’re along for the ride.” But did they finally catch the mighty bluefin? Most people won’t get the whole story until Carraro’s reality show "Wicked Tuna" returns to National Geographic Channel for its third season in February. But New York Boat Show attendees have the chance to meet Dave and hear high-seas adventure stories straight from the seahorse’s mouth.
The bluefin tuna is highly prized — a single fish can rack up anywhere from $2000 - $20,000. It is considered a delicacy, and is used to make sushi. Up to 90 percent of all bluefin caught are sold to Japan, Carraro explained. “Sushi is to Japan what wine is to California.” And just like grapes in a vineyard, each individual bluefin is examined individually and priced based on its quality.
Captain Carraro and his crew typically begin fishing every June, when the bluefin are in the waters of New England. They wrap in December, when the fish leave for warmer waters in the Mediterranean and off the African coast. Carraro and his crew spend up to six days at a time on the water: “During fishing season, my crew is basically my family.”
A full 30 years after his first catch, Carraro still spends the first half of each year itching for fishing season. What’s so exciting about catching a bluefin tuna? “The hunt, the hook-up, the fight, and the adrenaline rush,” Carraro said. “You ask any fisherman, they’ll tell you the same thing.”
The excitement has its downsides — bluefin fishermen spend a lot of time away from home, and the job can be exhausting and strenuous. The money is good, but the competition is fierce. “I would never recommend this as a profession,” Carraro joked. “It takes a lot out of you. Go to college instead.” Does Carraro wish he could follow his own advice? “No way,” he said. “I would do this again, and again, and again, and again.”
Maybe he just wants to keep more bluefin for himself.