After weeks of fishing filled with treacherous conditions, multi-day trips, sleepless nights and record-breaking catches, the North Atlantic bluefin season is coming to a close and the captains of National Geographic Channel’s hit series Wicked Tuna are in a fierce battle to the finish. Tempers flare and the pressure builds as captains and crews reach their boiling points in a desperate scramble for last-minute paydays. Four boats are within striking distance of the title, but only one can go home the champion.
The high-octane Wicked Tuna season five finale premieres Monday, May 16, at 9/8c, followed immediately by National Geographic Channel’s only live after-show, Reel Talk Live, at 10 p.m. ET. The season’s captains and crews join host Mike Catherwood (@MikeCatherwood) before a live audience to answer fan questions, reveal behind-the-scenes details and look ahead to what’s next.
Fans can participate in Reel Talk Live by submitting questions for the captains and mates on Twitter using the hashtag #ReelTalkLive.
Throughout this season on Wicked Tuna, the leaderboard standings have shifted with every weigh-in. Heading into the finale, Captain TJ Ott (@tjHOTTUNA) has scooped up the lead after a risky trip out to Georges Bank. Ott’s performance over the past few seasons has damaged his reputation, and he’s fishing with a vengeance to prove that he’s not just an average captain. Ott has the lead for now, but last season’s champion Captain Dave Marciano (@CaptMarciano) is close behind. Marciano fishes with his son and nephew, and has had a very successful season due in part to the supportive family atmosphere on the boat. The Hard Merchandise is the oldest boat in the fleet, and often the punchline of other captains’ jokes, so a second victory would prove to his hotshot competitors that slow and steady wins the race.
Ott and Marciano aren’t the only ones chasing the title. The ultra-competitive Captain Dave Carraro (@TunaDotCom) knows that the top spot on the leaderboard is slipping further away from him with every fish the other boats catch, so he and his crew are determined to fish harder than ever in order to finish first. And Captain Paul Hebert (@PissahTunaPaul), often disparaged by his fellow captains, has gone from being this season’s underdog to a real contender for first place. After years of struggling, Hebert finally owns his own boat, the Wicked Pissah. Despite some rocky moments, including the departure of one crew member, Hebert has battled back against the odds and is within striking distance of the top spot. A win would top off his incredible season and finally earn him the respect of his peers, but the leaderboard standings are razor-thin and any captain could take the title.
Meanwhile, Captain Tyler McLaughlin (@PinwheelFV) has had a disappointing season aboard the Pinwheel—pulled hooks, broken gear, and near-mutiny have cost the captain and crew. Now well behind the rest of the fleet, the Pinwheel desperately needs to catch a few more fish in order to make a profit.
Don’t miss the season finale of Wicked Tuna: The Final Fishdown Monday, May 16, at 9/8c followed by the live after show at 10:00 ET.