• Published:August 28, 2013
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Locating, hooking and landing giant bluefin tuna is no easy feat. Catching giants takes skill and determination, especially when targeting these fish in the North Atlantic.

The National Geographic Channel saw the viewer potential in this classic, Northeast rod-and-reel fishery and developed the hit television show, "Wicked Tuna."


"Fishing is a hard life, and harder with bluefin stocks depleted," Nat Geo writes on the "Wicked Tuna" webpage. "In Gloucester, Massachusetts, there's a special breed of fishermen. For generations they've used rod and reel to catch the elusive bluefin. They depend on these fish for their livelihood and competition is brutal."

The show has amassed a cult following of viewers who tune in to watch these crews hunt for giant tuna from relatively small, Down East style boats.

The top boats in the show make long runs offshore to fish Stellwagen Bank and even the Grand Banks. The payoff? A high-quality bluefin tuna that may garner upwards of $18 a pound for its choice meat.


Anyone who watched the show this past season will instantly recognize the vessel PinWheel operated by Tyler McLaughlin. The boys on PinWheel are young, cocky jokesters who aren't afraid to piss off the old guard. Whether you love or hate these young guns, they can catch fish. They finished last season in the top position in the fleet of boats that are in the show, catching a total of 16 bluefin tuna totaling 6,359 pounds, which is worth more than $100,000.

How do the boys on PinWheel stay ahead of the fleet? They use every possible tool they can. Finding bluefin tuna takes good electronics, and a working knowledge of how to use SST Charts.

"In Gloucester, Massachusetts, there's a special breed of fishermen. For generations they've used rod and reel to catch the elusive bluefin. They depend on these fish for their livelihood and competition is brutal."
-- Wicked Tuna
When you watch "Wicked Tuna," it's easy to see that the top boats lead while the rest of the fleet follows. Tyler and his crew on PinWheel aren't afraid to steam more than 100 miles if they find a good piece of water over some structure. By using Sea Surface Temperature charts and chlorophyl imagery such as those found on Fishtrack, Tyler can find temperature breaks and clean water to set up his slick and begin fishing for giants.

"I got into fishing because of my dad," says Tyler, who caught his first bluefin tuna at the age of seven. "I like bluefin tuna fishing because it's hard. The bluefin tuna is the baddest fish in the ocean -- there is not a badder fish. The whole aspect of everything you have to do and come together to catch one of these animals is incredible."

To watch Tyler in action, tune in to Wicked Tuna on the National Geographic Channel. You can also find more info at pinwheeltunafishing.com.

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