FIGHTING TUNA, Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel's new show FIGHTING TUNA has successfully portrayed Cape Cod tuna fishing and fishermen in an accurate manner that is informative, educational and entertaining.
The show features 4 captains who are all dead set on hooking and landing fish that can fetch as much as $20,000 per fish. Of course the one thing Cape Cod fishing is notorious about-the weather-is keeping everyone stuck on the docks during a late October bite.
Cape Cod tuna fishermen fish from relatively small boats, especially considering how angerous, windy and rough fishing hot spots like Stellwagen Bank, Cape Cod Bay and George’s Bank can become. If it is windy on land you can rest assured the wind is howling at George’s Bank-some 150 miles east of Cape Cod.
Waves in these areas reached heights of greater than 25 feet during Hurricane Sandy, which hit Cape Cod this past weekend.
The show begins with Paulie Stern, who has a reputation for catching big tunas and lots of them. He’s heading to Stellwagen Bank, one of the richest fishing gounds on the East Coast of the United States. Paulie is known as a “fish killing machine” who would “much rather be on ocean than on land.”
Anthony is the youngest captain in the fleet and is running the 35 foot Ocean Raider. He fishes a little differently than the other tuna fishermen and prefers to troll and remain on the move instead of anchoring and chumming. Anthony is in a constant search for the “ecosystem” of bait, birds, whales and tuna. Tuna often times can be found feeding amongst various forms of marine life.
Captain Donnie Brag had the most epic quote of the entire show. Brag is quoted as saying “I’m Elvis, I’m back and I’m pissed.” Donnie is off to Stellwagen Bank with Paulie. The day time bite at Stellwagen is slow but things turn hot once the sun sets. Paulie hooks up during the night on the Bank but has trouble close to the boat and snaps the line. First mate Richie Lucas takes the blame for the lost tuna and things get a little tense for a moment.
However unlike National Geographic's tuna fishing show WICKED TUNA, Discovery does not focus in on the tension and disgruntled attitudes. Instead Discovery allows the moment to pass and continues on with new content.
The next morning Donnie runs into one issue that just about everyone fishing Cape Cod can relate with-the dreaded dogfish. Despite being at times considered near endangered, dogfish (small sharks) are a major and persistent problem for Cape Cod tuna fishermen. Dogfish eat baits meant for tuna and wreak havoc on expensive gear.
According to many Cape Cod fishermen, dogfish numbers are out of control as the small sharks literally pave the ocean floor in some areas.
Back at George’s Bank, a long ways from the rest of the fleet is Anthony and his crew. He’s teamed up with sportfishermen Carmine Z. Carmine is a custom home builder on Long Island, NY and tuna fishes for sport. The commerciAl Fishermen don’t seem all that crazy about Carmine, which is expected. Tension between commercial and recreationAl Fishermen off Cape Cod is often quite common.