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Out-casting and Outlasting the Competition

A captain claims victory at the end of a popular high-stakes ? shing competition thanks to help from a new electronic boat control system.

hen the Summer to Fall blue? n tuna season est seaport and home of the original “Wicked Tuna” series, ends in Gloucester, Mass., it’s only just be- tuna ? shing in the Outer Banks can throw even the most ginning in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. seasoned ? sherman for a loop. Gloucester ? shermen are


It’s in these rough waters that commercial accustomed to anchoring themselves in one spot and wait- ? shermen compete on the TV show, “Wicked Tuna: Outer ing for the tuna to come to them. Because there are so

Banks.” A spin-off of the original “Wicked Tuna,” this series many tuna in the area, ? shermen don’t have to waste valu- has run on National Geographic since 2014 and recently able fuel pursuing them.

completed its seventh season on air in September 2020. But in the Outer Banks, it’s a different story. For one,

Fishing for blue? n tuna comes with unique challenges. the weather is more unpredictable, promising rougher seas.

Weighing up to half a ton, these ? sh are dif? cult to reel In addition, ? shermen who are more accustomed to the in. In addition, commercial ? shermen face a short ? shing rod-and-reel technique favored in the north must engage season, a declining tuna population and strict government in trolling, a ? shing technique that involves dragging bait- catch quotas. With these limitations, the ? shermen can’t ed ? shing lines behind the boat through the water. The afford to take to the seas with substandard equipment. boats must always stay in motion, which keeps the bait

No one knew this better than Tyler McLaughlin, captain “swimming” as naturally as possible. of the 45-foot boat, the PinWheel. Featured on the origi- Due to this technique, the most successful boats on “Out- nal, Gloucester-based “Wicked Tuna” series, the captain er Banks” incorporate special proportional hydraulic valves has recently claimed victory on “Outer Banks.” This win on their gearbox called trolling valves. These valves transfer wouldn’t have been possible without new electronic boat the engine’s power to the propeller behind the boat, allow- controls from Emerson, a specialist in automation tech- ing the ? shermen to slow the boat’s speed. When ? rst tack- nologies, enabling McLaughlin to successfully adapt to the ling the waves of the Outer Banks, McLaughlin’s PinWheel ? shing style of the south. didn’t have these trolling capabilities, as the boat was origi- nally intended for northern ? shing. If he wanted success in

North versus south ? shing challenges the southern waters, something would have to change.

Compared to tuna ? shing in Gloucester, America’s old-

First the Falcon, now the PinWheel

As luck would have it, the Manager of Business Develop- ment Marine at Emerson, Steve Vincent, was a fan of the “Wicked Tuna” series. Vincent recognized the need for the

Outer Banks ? shermen to be able to maneuver their vessels quickly from different locations on their boat, especially when reeling in a large, half-ton tuna.

Vincent ? rst approached McLaughlin’s fellow “Wicked

Tuna” contestant, Dave Marciano, and together upgraded the mechanical control system on Maricano’s boat, the Fal- con. McLaughlin witnessed the ways this upgrade made

Marciano a more formidable competitor on the show, and

FV Pinwheel, a 45-foot Donelle custom boat, following the suc- cessful installation and commissioning of the Marex OS III controls.

Photos: Emerson

December 2020 40 MN

Marine News

Marine News is the premier magazine of the North American Inland, coastal and Offshore workboat markets.