OCEAN CITY — The season finale of the National Geographic Channel’s “Wicked Tuna” fishing reality show aired on Monday with the wildly popular Ocean City-based Foolish Pleasures and its colorful Captain Dale Lisi and his crew of characters finishing a close third.
Lisi and the Foolish Pleasures based at the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City were chosen last fall to participate in and appear on the latest season of “Wicked Tuna.” The National Geographic Channel show follows groups of salty fishermen as they make a living battling monster Bluefin tuna the old school way with a rod and reel. Lisi and his crew, including mates Will Hathaway and Ed Gross, certainly fit the bill.
Lisi and the Foolish Pleasures pulled out of Ocean City late last January and headed south to the Outer Banks in North Carolina to battle other crews of grisly veteran Bluefin tuna anglers throughout much of February and March. The premiere episode debuted in July and the finale was aired last Monday. The show was met with great enthusiasm from the resort’s fishing community with premiere and finale parties held at the Ocean City Marlin Club.
Throughout the summer, Lisi and the Foolish Pleasures crew were sworn to secrecy not to divulge the outcome in advance of the finale. For the record, the Foolish Pleasure finished third overall after catching seven Bluefin tuna during the show’s filming period worth over $33,000 in earnings. The Fishin’ Frenzy won the competition this year with 10 Bluefin tuna worth over $42,000 in earnings, while the Pinwheel was second with seven Bluefin worth a little over $41,000 in earnings. While the Foolish Pleasures crew was sworn to secrecy on the outcome, even they didn’t know how it all turned out until they watched the finale on Monday.
“They didn’t really tell us anything,” he said. “We knew who caught how many fish, but we weren’t really sure who was going to win until the finale on Monday. We were kind of thinking it was the number of fish, but the earnings are determined more by the number of pounds at the best price.”
During each episode, Bluefin tuna caught by the participating boats are brought to the dock and weighed. Core samples are taken and an estimated price per pound is calculated. In some cases, a smaller fish might be worth more than a larger one because of the quality of the meat, for example. Lisi said the Foolish Pleasures crew did not anticipate just how much went into producing the show in the treacherous climate off the coast of the Outer Banks in the middle of winter.
“It went really well and they were great to work with,” he said. “The show is so expensive to produce. There are seven cameras on every boat, there is a camera man on every boat and everybody on the boat is mic’d up. It’s a ridiculous amount of work.”
Lisi said the crew enjoyed every minute of the competition although there were times things got a little dicey.
“We had a fantastic time,” he said. “The whole operation was much smoother than I imagined it could be. We fished every possible day we could and the conditions were almost always treacherous. The one thing they can’t over-exaggerate is the conditions at that inlet. The bar that you have to cross is just horrendous.”
Lisi said it hasn’t been officially confirmed, but he almost sure the Foolish Pleasures will be back for another season of “Wicked Tuna” next year.
“It looks like we’re going to be back next year,” he said. “We heard from the Nat Geo people that were one of the fan favorites, so I think we have a future with it.”
Meanwhile, the Foolish Pleasures enjoyed a highly successful season back in Ocean City, winning several different categories in the Ocean City Tuna Tournament and the Big Fish Classic, for example. The boat’s strong presence on “Wicked Tuna” certainly did not go unnoticed around the resort area.
“We’ve had tons of little kids coming up to the boat at the marina asking to take pictures with us,” he said. “I even signed a couple of autographs. I’d tell them it’s not going to be worth anything, but I’ll be happy to sign for you.”