Ocean City Today

Local captain preparing for ‘Wicked Tuna’

Dale Lisi returns to Outer Banks for competition with Will Hathaway and Ed Gross
By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Jan 19, 2017
Capt. Dale Lisi

(Jan. 20, 2017) Capt. Dale Lisi saw a window of good weather, so he drove his boat, Foolish Pleasures, to North Carolina on Monday to get ready for the upcoming season of National Geographic Channel’s “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.”

Lisi and his crew – Will “Willbilly” Hathaway and Ed “The Beard” Gross – were featured for the first time on last season’s “Wicked Tuna,” where fishermen are on the hunt for lucrative bluefin tuna in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

They caught seven bluefin tuna and earned $33,395, good for third place out of the seven-team fleet. Fishin’ Frenzy caught 10 tuna, winning $42,217, to land in the top spot. Pinwheel came in second place with seven tuna, worth a total of $41,530.

Lisi found out about auditions for “Wicked Tuna” last year from a friend. Auditions began last October, and after several interviews he found out at the end of November that he was chosen for the show.

Filming began last February and ended in April, showcasing New England’s best bluefin tuna crews battling a local fleet. There were seven boats highlighted – three representing the north and four the south – and it was “extremely competitive,” Lisi said.

Foolish Pleasures was a member of the south team. But, despite north and south “teams,” it was “more of a free-for-all,” he said in July. The 10-episode show aired weekly from the end of July to late September.

“We had a really fun time doing the show. They did a fantastic job portraying us,” Lisi said earlier this week. “There was good sportsmanship all around. You don’t get paid a tremendous amount, but it’s fun, and it’s great for charter [fishing] business.”

This will be year two of Lisi’s seven-year contract. He took the Foolish Pleasures, a 36-foot custom sportfish charter boat based out of the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City, down to North Carolina on Monday, docked it at OBX Marina, and drove back to Ocean City the next day.

Lisi is scheduled to make an appearance at the Baltimore Boat Show, Jan. 26-29. After that, he will travel back to North Carolina to prepare for the bluefin tuna fishing season.

The boat will be equipped with cameras and microphones, and as soon as the fish start biting, filming will begin, Lisi said. There was one cameraman on the boat last year, who Lisi said “became part of the team.” The cameraman was easy to work with, as were the show’s producers, he said.

Filming may run until April, depending on the bite this year. Lisi said he will do some charter trips in April and May out of North Carolina, before bringing Foolish Pleasures back to Ocean City for the summer.

“Last year [bluefin tuna] showed up early. We started the first week of February,” he said.

Hathaway and Gross will join him on the boat again this season.

Lisi said producers have not disclosed the fleet of boats participating this year, but added that there is a rumor of a new boat.

“They’ve kept us in the dark,” he said.

Despite finishing in third place last season, Lisi was pleased with the fish he and his crew caught. They were determined to win going into the 2016 season, and are even more fired up this year.

“Obviously, we would have liked to have won,” he said. “We learned a few things that will hopefully make us first-place contenders. We learned you can’t always trust information from your competitors.”

Lisi said he fell for a trick or two, but this season, as veterans, they are a “little more schooled on what’s going on,” and know what to expect.

“We’re excited to do it again,” he said. “Everybody’s chomping at the bit right now. We can’t wait to start fishing.”

From filming last winter, through the summertime, when the show’s 10 episodes aired and even up until now, Lisi said the support from Ocean City, Virginia and even the mid-Atlantic area has been awesome.

Running charters out of the Ocean City Fishing Center from May until the late fall, Lisi said the “whole town of Ocean City couldn’t have been nicer or more supportive.”

“It makes you proud to be from Ocean City,” he said.

A number of adults and children stopped by the boat at the Fishing Center this summer and fall to meet Lisi, take photos with him, and a few fans even got autographs.

Lisi said he didn’t realized how many families watch the show, and all ages – from 4-5-year-olds to 75-80-year-olds – enjoy it.

To watch last season’s “Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks” episodes and to learn more about the crews that participated, visit www.channel.nationalgeographic.com/wicked-tuna-outer-banks.

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