What does the winner of Wicked Tuna get? This question has been something of a curiosity to fans and followers of the hit TV series Wicked Tuna for several seasons.
Now is as good a time as any to spill the tea! If you would like to know how much the likes of Captain Paul Hebert of Wicked Pissah and Captain Dave Marciano of Hard Merchandise earn from their winning seasons, then keep reading for more details!
How Much Do the Winners of Wicked Tuna Get Paid?
The grand winner of Wicked Tuna gets paid according to their total earnings for the season.
That is right, they do not receive a bonus or incentive if they hauled the most profitable Bluefin Tuna. They simply earn bragging rights and the right to call themselves the champion of whichever respective season their crew won.
Season 10 of Wicked Tuna recently concluded and the winner, Wicked Pissah (led by Captain Paul Hebert) cashed in a total of $53,303 with 15 Bluefin Tuna caught.
Usually, the champions get approximately $100,000 in earnings but due to the significant market dip as a result of the pandemic, the price of Bluefin Tuna just has not been as good as the years before.
For reference, the highest total cash-in was in 2014, wherein Captain Dave Carraro of FV-Tuna.com hauled a total earnings figure of $126,403 with 15 Bluefin Tuna caught. In 2019, the same crew did it again. Captain Dave Carraro and crew hauled a total earnings figure of $120,318 with 19 Bluefin Tuna caught.
How Much Do the Runner-ups Get Paid?
Similar to the winners of Wicked Tuna, the runner-ups earn their keep through the fish they caught and the earnings they get per pound.
In Season 10, Captain Dave Marciano bagged a total of $48,541 with 14 Bluefin Tuna caught. This figure pales in comparison to the earlier seasons.
For example, Captain Tyler McLaughlin of Pinwheel earned $119,741 with 18 fish caught in Season 8 of Wicked Tuna which was in 2019. Captain Paul Hebert (Season 10’s grand champion) was the runner-up in Season 5 (2016) and earned $104,611 with a total Bluefin Tuna catch of 19.
The Risks Involved in Competing in Wicked Tuna
Aside from the standard risks involved in fishing in general, competing in Wicked Tuna also has its risks. Listed below are a few of the more important things to consider if you plan to participate in the hit TV show.
The Bluefin Tuna Market has Crashed
As a result of the pandemic, the Bluefin Tuna market has taken a nosedive in terms of both demand and selling price.
This is due to the fact that sushi restaurants and shops have closed down as a result of poor business or government-mandated health and safety protocols.
To paint a picture, news reports have surfaced reporting that at a Tokyo New Year auction, the winning bid for the Bluefin Tuna catch was only 10% of the winning bid just the year before (from $1.75 million in 2020 to $202,600 in 2021).
There is no Salary or Regular Payment for Participating
Although it can be argued that contracts may vary from participant to participant, it is generally accepted that none of the Wicked Tuna participants are being paid a regular salary.
Again, the earnings from each catch as documented by the show suffice as the winning prize for the participants.
If you and your crew are having a drought with regard to catching high-quality Bluefin Tuna, then you might be financially dry in the months to come.
Not All Footage is Shown
The show is absolutely spectacular. The participants are very likable and relatable, the camera angles are great, and the drama rivals that of other more established TV shows.
However, just like any reality TV show or competition show, not everything is seen by the viewers and fans.
As such, it is always better to take things with a grain of salt when it comes to catching Bluefin Tuna. Better yet, try it for yourself to get a grasp of the full experience of fishing! See how much a tuna boat costs if you want to give it a go.
Where to Watch Wicked Tuna
If you want to stay up to date with Wicked Tuna, catch the latest season on air every Sunday night at 9 PM on the National Geographic Channel.
If you want to check out previous seasons of the hit TV show, subscribe to Disney+ to gain access to the entire collection of past seasons and more!
Wicked Tuna is one of the best reality TV competition shows and although there are a few series that have mimicked both its theme and delivery, none have bested the show in terms of ratings and followers from across the globe.
So, if ever someone comes up to you and asks, “What does the winner of Wicked Tuna get,” then you definitely have a pretty good idea about the answer to that decade-old question.