December 31, 2014
Outer Banks Angling: A wicked good time
By ROB ALDERMAN
The end of another year is finally upon us and what a great year it was.
Overall, 2014 provided some great fishing. A variety of species were caught and provided tons of entertainment for all.
you ask inshore fishermen, they might even refer to 2014 as the year of
the drum. What an incredible year from January through December we had
with red drum of all sizes -- just spectacular.
tuna this year also provided a great deal of meat and reel-screaming
opportunities, as the fleets did exceptionally well with them.
In 2014, we also saw something new for the Outer Banks – a national TV show highlighting our area’s fishing.
Tuna: North vs. South" was spawned as a spinoff to National
Geographic’s highly popular original, "Wicked Tuna," which is based out
of Gloucester, Mass., and follows local commercial captains who chase
Obviously, this show must be popular since Nat Geo
started production work on the spinoff just prior to the airing of the
third season of the original.
"Wicked Tuna: North vs. South" was filmed off the Outer Banks last winter and made its television debut on Aug. 17.
Now we are wondering if a second season is in our future.
these types of reality shows that follow several boats around is not
cheap, and it generally involves a few months of day-in and
day-out filming when the weather permits.
So, the viability of this type of programming must be strong.
were mixed emotions when word got out on the Outer Banks about Nat
Geo's plans for the spinoff after publication of a Craigslist ad
seeking willing captains and boats for the show.
Some didn’t believe it. Some thought it was great, and others just flat out didn’t want it here.
I was definitely one of those who thought it was great, but I also understood the viewpoint of those who didn’t really want it.
This area hosts incredible inshore, offshore, pier and surf fishing, along with great wading, kayaking, and spear fishing.
Dare County and North Carolina don’t do much in the way of promoting
fishing in comparison to other southeast states. A lot of other
southern states from here to Texas throw big money into promoting their
fishing and, in most cases, it’s proven a wise investment.
the "Wicked Tuna" franchise highlights the bluefin tuna, which is one
of the most controversial fish in the commercial and recreational world.
Many environmentalist and marine organizations think this species is overfished and on the brink of extinction.
think that promoting the harvest of these fish on a national level
could help those who would like to see bluefin listed as an endangered
species, especially if the general public sees the television reality
show as exploitation of the species.
The truth is that
the U.S. has the best policy and quota control of the harvesting of
this species. Most in the know realize that the U.S. does its best to
protect this stock, while other countries have lenient or no quota
policies at all.
Bluefin tuna are the most sought meat for
sushi in the world and the fish are big business. There is a lot of
money on the line for fishermen during harvesting season and those
chasing them take it very seriously.
There is also the
possibility that if you publicize how good a fishery is that it will
attract more boats here to chase them. And that is already happening
after the first season of the show. I’ve been told that boats from
as far away as Hawaii have made the Outer Banks their home for the
bluefin season in the hope of reaping some of the rewards.
a show like this on the level of the National Geographic channel is a
double-edge sword. There are plenty of pros and cons.
Outer Banks was nothing more than a small fishing community before the
days of tourist gift shops and mini-mansions on the beach. This area
has basically developed offshore fishing as the world knows it,
along with hosting some of the world’s best boat builders for almost a
This area is also plagued by a constant fight to
maintain access through our waterways and inlets, without which no open
ocean commercial or recreational fishing is possible. Outer Banks
leaders have to continuously fight state and federal politicians for
funding to keep our fleets moving.
Showing off our area and the importance of our waterways to the local and state economies can’t hurt in that department.
while I could go back and forth for another two pages, I personally
come to the same conclusion each time – the local economic pros
outweigh the cons every time.
Nat Geo offered the Outer Banks a chance to be highlighted, and many of us are glad it did.
original "Wicked Tuna" shows the Gloucester captains as they go out
each day and try their luck in a particular spot. The boats will be
anchored, and then they will begin the arduous task of feeding live
baits back into chum slicks. Sounds easy enough, but there truly is an
art form to it, and some boats are better than others at picking spots
and making their presentation.
On the Outer Banks, our boats
truly hunt fish. Our boats charge out into the deep blue and begin a
long day of being on the lookout, while trolling for these fish.
Around here this is a huge investment. It costs a few pennies to operate one or two large, diesel CAT motors all day.
also is not easy to navigate through our treacherous inlets. On more
than one occasion this past winter Oregon Inlet, through which the
boats had to travel, almost closed off completely, and in one episode
that is highlighted nicely.
Gloucester is no walk in the park for mariners, but this area is referred to as the Graveyard of the Atlantic for a reason.
was definitely interesting to watch the season play out among the
different captains and observe the obvious differences in the type of
fishing between the north and south.
And there is always the
entertainment of 21st century reality TV -- the arguments, the trash
talking, and just overall jousting amongst all the players.
And let’s not forget good ol’ editing.
week social media and fishing forums would be lit up with comments
pertaining to the show and inconsistencies that viewers saw. People
would pick apart the arguments, the fishing, the prices obtained for a
catch and just about everything they could.
Sure, I spotted more
things that made me chuckle, but that is just part of the reality TV
game. I was still just pleased to know that the show was being watched
and talked about by so many.
In the end, it was a southern
captain who won battle of "Wicked Tuna: North vs. South by collecting
the most money for the fish brought to the docks.
Captain Greg Mayer and his mate, Nick Gowitzka, of the Fishing Frenzy, brought home the "Wicked Tuna" gold.
known Greg for a while, and he is a great guy. He and Nick are
very passionate about commercial and recreational fishing -- and
they do both.
Nick became one of those favorite reality TV
characters. There were a few episodes when Nick brought out his shotgun
and let a few shells fly, which was quick to bring out the internet
In a recent conversation, Greg told me how, with each
new episode that aired, there was plenty of love and hate on the
internet. Greg just held his head high and took the good with the bad,
as did everyone on the show. It’s just part of the game.
Greg says he is happy about the overall reception and outcome of the show.
a non-native to the Outer Banks, is very passionate about the area’s
fishing and wants to promote and advocate it in any way possible. Greg
agrees that the Outer Banks needs more promotion in order to grow --
and even maintain -- the current fishing economics of the area.
admits that reality TV doesn’t do justice to the job of commercial
fishing as much as it should. It’s definitely not about charging out
and catching a $5,000 fish, coming home, and getting paid.
of us on the Outer Banks were paying close attention to the reports
about fishing during the show and how it was going because we
recreational guys want to catch bluefin also.
The production crews filmed for two months before the first bluefin ever hit fiberglass.
That’s a lot of overhead, before one ever starts to see a paycheck.
I asked Greg if the show had helped his recreational fishing business and he said that it had.
show had yielded more phone calls for bookings. One of them was from a
woman, who simply said, “Are y’all them people from that TV show? My
10-year-old wants to fish with you.”
Greg was able to get those
nice folks out and while the fishing wasn’t overwhelmingly hot, they
did catch fish and that is a trip that youngster will never forget.
also said that his merchandising had grown. Viewers are quick to pick
their favorite boat and show support by purchasing a hat, T-shirt,
sweatshirt, or sticker.
Greg if he would “most definitely” do it again, if asked.
while Nat Geo hasn't made any formal announcements about a second
season of "Wicked Tuna: North vs. South," we all saw another call for
captains and boats on Craigslist in November.
One would have to
assume that the first season of the spinoff was a success for the media
powerhouse. With a host of successful shows under its belt, Nat Geo
isn’t investing into a TV show that doesn’t bring home the bacon.
I hope that the benefits from this exposure will continue to grow, along with the show.
I hope that the powers-that-be locally and throughout the state see the show and realize its importance to the economy.
hope that there is a second season and that all of our local captains
and their crew members -- on the show or not – have a great and safe
Go fishing and play hard.
Alderman has lived on the Outer Banks for more than 13 years and has
worked in the recreational fishing industry the entire time. A former
variety fishing TV show host, beach fishing guide, tackle shop and pier
employee, Rob currently owns and operates Outer Banks Kayak Fishing. He
is on the Pro-Staff of Bending Branches LLC, Wilderness Systems Kayaks,
Release Reels, Yakattack and is an ambassador for Ugly Stik. You can
follow his adventures at www.FishMilitia.com or OuterBanksKayakFishing.com.)