New Boat ‘Hot Tuna’ Makes a Splash Last Night on Wicked Tuna

The competition was fierce last night on the season 3 premiere of Wicked Tuna. Hot Tuna Captain TJ Ott may be new in town, but he’s a familiar face to The Pin Wheel Captain Tyler McLaughlin. Tyler was TJ’s first mate for four years, and worked exclusively on the Hot Tuna before going off to Captain The Pin Wheel. TJ says that Tyler went to school on the Hot Tuna, but then stole his numbers (fishing coordinates) and started his own boat. Now TJ is out to prove that while Tyler may think he’s the teacher, he’s still the student. And while typically fishing off the coast of Miami, when TJ heard Tyler was catching so many fish in the Gloucester area, he decided to make his return to northern waters. These gentlemen better watch out because there’s a new boat in town, and the Hot Tuna is ready to rough up the waters.

**Spoiler Alert** If you haven’t seen last night’s episode, the following contains spoilers: 

On the season 3 opener, it’s the first day of the fishing season and the captains have one thing on their mind… the first catch. Because for these captains, the first fish is not just about money, but about bragging rights.

Tyler and The Pin Wheel caught the most fish last season, and Captain Dave Carraro is ready to silence Tyler after spending a winter hearing his bragging.

Sure enough, Dave snags the first fish right in front of Tyler. The guys are hooting and hollering… but with just 100 feet left, the hook pops out. As the fishermen know all too well, “The fish is never yours until you’ve got the tail rope on it, and even then sometimes it’s still not yours,” laments Dave. Tyler heckles Dave over the intercom and calls it karma for fishing in his spot.

Hard Merchandise Captain Dave Marciano is back at dock a few hours behind the other boats. We left off last season watching the Hard Merchandise sink into the water. But after the boat sank, the community rallied and helped Marciano get back in the water. “It was a great feeling to know that when I was down, Gloucester had my back,” says Marciano. Now equipped with a new engine, new wiring, and all new electronics, the Hard Merchandise is like a brand new boat, and Marciano sees the sinking as a blessing.

Meanwhile, new face TJ and veteran Dave are bonding over their mutual rivalry with Tyler, but then TJ throws a curveball… “I’m mostly here for him, but then I’m coming for you.” Right on cue, TJ hooks a Bluefin. And the fight for the first catch begins on the Hot Tuna.

But not long after, Dave hooks one too. And while it’s a close fight, makes the first catch of the season. Dave decides he doesn’t want to stick around to wait for fish #2, he wants to be the first boat back to dock with the first Bluefin of the season to guarantee the most competitive market price. Dave returns to dock to see what type of quality fish he has caught. The price per pound is based on the fat and oil content of the fish, and samples are taken from a tail cut and a core sample. Dave’s fish gets a whopping 23 dollars per pound and at 226 pounds, he brings in over five thousand dollars for the first fish of the season. goes right back out to the same spot hoping to bring in another fish.

Not far behind, Hot Tuna’s battle pays off and the new boat makes the next catch. Hot Tuna is hot on’s heels and is next at the dock ready to get their offer, pulling up right as is heading back out to water.

Meanwhile, back at sea, Tyler’s in the path of a large boat with a tuna on the line. And since Tyler is the lone wolf and star of his 1-man crew, this means he has to man the reel and the wheel. Somehow, Tyler manages to steer out of the way while the boat is coming at him and still keep his tuna on the line. Once the fish is close enough, Tyler goes in for the harpoon- but misses. Tyler can tell he’s up against a wise fish whose been hooked before and knows what he’s doing, making high circles, and fighting for its life… but tyler’s fighting harder. And finally, Tyler catches him… all by himself.

Back over at the Hard Merchandise, Marciano can’t catch what isn’t here, and after a slow day he wraps things up.

Dave’s having a slow day after the big catch and he’s about to call it quits when a fish starts marking on the radar. “That’s the thing about Bluefin fishing. One moment you can be totally bored, wondering why you’re out there, and the next minute two 500 fish are right under your nose,” says Dave. And his patience pays off, but only for a moment. The fish is not hooked in the right spot, and he gets away. The only choice, the only option really, is to roll with the punches and get back out there.

But over on the Hot Tuna, TJ’s luck hasn’t run out, and they hook another fish. And while it’s not the prettiest catch and they nearly lose him, they snag their second fish, and back at dock they learn the quality of the fish is off the charts. The Hot Tuna brings in over 15,000 dollars after what is possibly the biggest first trip in Hot Tuna’s history.

TJ comes on the intercom to tell the other boats the news of his second catch, “I know it’s been a while, but we’re back and there’s more to come on the old HT. It’s going to be a good year.”

But as these fishermen know, it’s a marathon… not a sprint. Will Hot Tuna hold on to the lead? Tune in next Sunday at 9P to find out. Be sure to visit the leaderboard to check in on this week’s earnings, and vote for your favorite boat.


  1. Josh bunch
    February 17, 2014, 11:19 pm

    Drifting in the cook inlet. Haha that’s a joke compared to set netting out their. If you want a show you should film that. You would get way more views. It’s more Intense an interesting. And I say again drifting is a joke composite to set netting. If want a show film that.

  2. jeffrow63
    February 18, 2014, 11:37 pm

    Wicked Tuna is by far, the greatest reality show that has ever been on tv. However, having lived in Ak, Josh Bunch is probably right, there is nothing like Cook Inlet. The Russian is pretty fkn cool too. My favorite will always be Homer Halibut.

  3. SW
    Cape Cod, MA
    February 23, 2014, 8:44 am

    Love, love, love this show! But what happened? Where are our other favorites ?? Where is Ralph? Where is Kevin?
    We want Marciano, Paulie, Drama Dave C., Ralph and Kevin…this is the cute crew…and want them back.
    You added Tyler a little annoying but OK. Hot tuna does nothing for me. If you have to get rid of anyone rid Bounty Hunter, and Tyler. Just saying…..

  4. Mary Bond
    February 26, 2014, 11:51 pm

    Said it once , twice , three times…….. the WT guys are really hospitable and kind. Jarrett and TJ and Reba put up with us visiting last September and we had a ball. Dave, Sandro, Bill, Scott and Donna were all wonderful. It is so fun to walk on the harbor and chat. Perry and i are so looking forward to meeting more of the guys and eating at the Causeway….. Go Red Sox

  5. Capt John Badger
    Benicia Ca
    March 2, 2014, 1:45 pm

    I find myself watching episodes 2-3 times over. Allot to see if you pay attention. Love the series !
    Dave’s struggle is appealing to us because his intentions seem to be providing for his family. The other guy are interesting with their cocky ways . HT adds some spice. I like the fact that you found a match for the big mouth Pin Wheel. Who obviously got lucky last year.
    All of this would not be possible without the great in the action filming and editing. Good job on the show !
    On Sundays I work a 12 hr shift, all the while ,thinking whats going to happen tonight on Wicked tuna.
    Wednesday Thursday and Friday I’m fishing for my charter business and this same drama is ever-so present.

  6. Tina
    March 12, 2014, 10:04 pm

    Love love love this show! It never gets boring. Great cast!

  7. a daniels
    Houston tx
    March 16, 2014, 6:05 pm

    Love t j Ott hot tuna boat and his Brutus. Take no second place attitude who built hot tuna boat engine make and horsepower
    great show can’t get enough

  8. tom
    March 31, 2014, 4:30 pm

    show sucks with hot tuna just their for TV spotlight now the show sucks with him their

  9. Hildred Renaud
    April 17, 2014, 6:39 am

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  10. Tim Chestnut
    Myrtle Beach SC
    April 26, 2014, 8:10 pm

    Love the show guys!…..TV is much better with real guys..real lives…hard work…and living in the real world….all these” cartoon character actors could take a lesson from all of you!”…..KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

  11. gator cullen
    pendleton south carolina
    June 2, 2014, 4:41 pm

    she and i watch you all the time we hope u all will be back i would to get your shirts and other things for her and me let us know thank ya very much

  12. Fernando silva
    Lowell Ma
    February 25, 2015, 2:11 pm

    TJ, says that Tiler use to scrub buckets in your boat, but for what i’m seeing is nothing but Kos on your boat, you guys are very disorganized, i believe your father is the biggest problem on the boat, drive your guys all crazy,
    On the contrary you don’t see does issues on Tilers boat, so far this season they got 4 tuna and catching those tunas was no issues, everything running nice and smooth,
    Know i do believe wen you lost
    Tiler you lost your best men in the boat.
    Regards, the show is the best.

  13. Mike
    Lk St Clair
    February 23, 2016, 7:05 am

    Why does the crew look like three monkeys trying to hump a football every time they get a bit. It is total ciaos and unprofessional behavior. Like watching an episode of the three stooges…