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The Untold Truth Of Wicked Tuna's Tyler McLaughlin

National Geographic's show "Wicked Tuna" has captivated and entertained audiences who not only revel in some good ol' reality television but are also interested in what life at sea really entails. The show has had a successful run (a whopping 10 seasons) and people just can't get enough of these New England tuna fishermen who risk their lives for a promising salary and prestige. According to National Geographic's "Wicked Tuna" page, there's a whole lot of juicy drama as the various teams of fishermen try and catch the notoriously profitable and massive bluefin tuna, which is worth more than $20,000.

One of the show's favorite OG fisherman is tuna fishing expert and New Hampshire native Tyler McLaughlin. McLaughlin has been on the show since day one and is the hardworking captain of the "PinWheel" crew. He's quite an intriguing guy with an interesting background that may surprise even some of his biggest fans. Let's dive into the untold truth of "Wicked Tuna" star Tyler McLaughlin.

Tyler McLaughlin received an award from the American Red Cross

McLaughlin isn't only an extremely skilled fisherman, he also is extraordinarily brave. In 2015, he received the First Responder Award for boldly rescuing two members of a submerging fishing vessel called "Miss Sambvca" in October of the prior year. Both vessel members were brought to a hospital in Gloucester, MA, and were released not too long after the incident. 

When McLaughlin received the perturbed call from the "Miss Sambvca" crew, without hesitation, he valiantly came to their rescue. American Red Cross Board Member DawnMarie Corneau honored McLaughlin with the distinguished award at the Season 4 premiere of "Wicked Tuna" during the New England Boat Show in Boston, MA.   

The night McLaughlin received the award, he acknowledged how perilous being a fisherman can be (via BusinessWire). Certainly, the honor that was bestowed upon McLaughlin for his immense bravery and quick response proves that he is truly one of the finest fishermen on the East Coast. 

He was really into tennis

While Tyler McLaughlin has always had a love for fishing, it wasn't the only thing that was important to him early on. Tennis was actually a huge part of his life at one point. He played on his high school tennis team for 4 years and during his residence at Nichols College, he actually played on their team, as well.

Via TheCinemaholic, McLaughlin started off fishing with his dad and mentor, Marty, when he was 3 years old. His father served as a guide for all he knew about fishing and McLaughlin developed a deep passion for it. While McLaughlin was never proficient in his high school classes, he went on to excel at Bridgton Academy and then attended Nichols College, where he graduated in 2011. With his basic academic courses completed, he was able to purchase his very own fishing boat and begin his commercial fishing career.

McLaughlin's sister also shares a passion for fishing

It's apparent that fishing runs in the McLaughlin family. Not only do Tyler and his father love to fish, but so does his sister, Marissa McLaughlin. As a gifted fisherwoman, Marissa became Tyler's mate on the "PinWheel" after the devastating death of Nicholas "Duffy" Fudge. Marissa knows how to drive a boat and navigate the waters when Tyler and his crew are wrestling to catch a tuna (via Distractify). Impressively, she and her brother have caught a bluefin tuna that weighed over 800 pounds. 

Marissa also has her captain's license and is more than qualified to be Tyler's right-hand woman on the decks of the "PinWheel." Her presence on social media is quite notable, as an Instagram photo of her with Tyler and a huge tuna displays the hashtag #fishingforduffy. It's wonderful to see such a strong and skilled sibling duo out there while also commemorating Fudge's tragic absence from the New England fishing community.     

He dedicated his first catch to his fishing mate who was killed

McLaughlin and Duffy Fudge were good friends and an unstoppable team on the "PinWheel." Tragically, the almost 29-year-old Fudge died in 2018 after suffering from "the bends" (also known as decompression sickness), which is a common occurrence for deep-sea and scuba divers. According to University of Michigan Health, decompression sickness results from an increasing amount of pressure when a diver comes up to the surface of the water too quickly. The bends can cause serious injury, or in Fudge's case, death.

McLaughlin's first catch with Fudge was certainly a bittersweet memory. Since Fudge's sudden passing, McLaughlin has continued to catch big fish as a dedication to Fudge's work and to honor his legacy. Fudge frequently appeared on "Wicked Tuna" and National Geographic's spin-off show "Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks" and was one of the most qualified professional fisherman in the fishing industry.

The real meaning behind the PinWheel's name

There's an interesting story as to how McLaughlin's boat was given the titular name of the "PinWheel." As reported by SpringerLink, it's known in the fishing community that when a tuna develops dangerous levels of hypoxia (a decrease in heart rate and an increase in ventilation volume), it results in the tuna becoming exhausted. Primarily common for happening to yellowfin and skipjack tuna, hypoxia nearly debilitates the fish and allows it to give in to the pressure. After the tuna gives in, it eventually starts to swim in circles and then goes up to the waters' surface giving McLaughlin and his crew an opportunity to reel one in.  

Per The Sun, McLaughlin's boat cost $280,000 to purchase. Typically, the price of tuna fishing boats can range anywhere from $20,000 to over $100,000. No fishing boat is the same, with each one being built for specific conditions and purposes. One thing is for certain: The "PinWheel" has a long and profitable history thanks to McLaughlin's steadfast determination and the tenacity of his team.