Wicked Tuna returns for its eighth season tonight, but it will sadly not feature cast member Nicholas "Duffy" Fudge, who died in July 2018.
In a new teaser for the Season 8 premiere, Captain Tyler McLaughlin, who worked with Fudge, talks about his death and the challenge ahead due to losing his first mate. He also revealed who will replace the late fisherman on his ship.
"A few days before the season, we got some tragic news," McLaughlin said. "I just lost the the best first mate I ever had. I decided to ask my sister Marissa to fish with me this season."
While Mariss is up to the challenge, she admits will be a lot to take on.
"I've never committed to a fishing season this in intense before," she says.
A montage of the sibling duo's first outing is then shown, as Tyler reveals that he is dedicating his first catch of the season to Fudge.
"No fish ever in my career has ever meant as much as catching this fish right here. We want to catch this fish for Duffy," he says.
Fudge's death came to a shock to fans, friends and producers of Wicked Tuna. The network confirmed reports of his death through a somber tweet. No exact details of his death were given.
"Duffy was the first mate on Captain Tyler McLaughlin’s fishing vessel, Pinwheel. We join his family and friends in mourning his untimely loss," National Geographic said in a statement.
In his obituary, the fisherman was remembered for his adventurous spirit and life on the water.
"His passions were fishing and the outdoors. As a child, Nick began tuna fishing with his father and grandfather," his obituary reads. "After becoming one of the top sport fishermen in the country, he earned a place on the National Geographic reality show Wicked Tuna for multiple seasons. Nick also treasured the environment and he took seriously his responsibility to protect it."
While Fudge's official cause of death has not been officially released, rumors in the local fishing scene stated he may have died from decompression sickness.0comments
"Rye Harbor has been quiet since Nicholas 'Duffy' Fudge of Wicked Tuna suddenly passed away last week. Greenland police are investigating the cause, but local fishermen say he may have been the victim of decompression sickness, also known as 'the bends,'" New Hampshire Union Leader reporter Kimberley Haas wrote at the time.
Photo Credit: National Geographic