TJ Ott is the captain of the fishing vessel Hot Tuna, which is featured on the popular reality TV show Wicked Tuna. He is a passionate and competitive fisherman who loves to catch bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean. However, his passion also landed him in legal trouble when he was fined $13,500 for illegally selling bluefin tuna at a Gloucester fish market without the necessary permits in 2021. He is a secretive guy who rarely shares details on his personal life, but he has a pet dog named Reba and was romantically linked to his show rival Marissa McLaughlin.
TJ Ott was born on December 3, 1979, in Broad Channel Queens, New York, United States. He is the son of Tim Ott and Debbie Ott. TJ comes from a family of fishermen. His father Tim set his roots in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1989 after searching for bluefin tuna fishing grounds.
Growing up in a family involved in fishing TJ develop a passion for the sport very early. He would spend his summers on the docks in Cape Ann fishing with his father or anyone who would take him. He caught his first Bluefin Tuna at the age of 12. TJ got the opportunity to captain and run the family boat Hot Tuna all by himself at the age of 20. Since he has been captaining and running the fishing vessel. When not chasing bluefin tuna TJ resides in Key West, Florida doing light tackle charters and chasing a variety of inshore and offshore species.
For TJ, commercial fishing is not just a profession but also some kind of addiction. Not a surprise considering the years he has spent in the profession. He has over 22 years of firsthand experience as a captain, and several years before fishing in the family boat. And being a veteran has its perks as TJ is used to tackling the adversity of the sea and making a living out of it. TJ is also a competitive fisherman as seen on television shows Wicked Tunad and its spin-off Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.
TJ is the captain of the Hot Tuna, a 48-foot boat that belongs to his family- his brother Michael Ott works as a deckhand. TJ’s fishing exploits and expertise have helped him get into television. He is one of the main cast members of Wicked Tuna and its spin-off Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks, a popular fishing television series that airs on the National Geographic Channel. Wicked Tuna follows several fishermen based in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as they compete to catch the most and the biggest tuna in the Atlantic Ocean. The show also showcases the challenges and dangers of fishing in harsh weather conditions and unpredictable seas.
T.J. joined Wicked Tuna during its third season in 2014. He enjoys having cameras on his boat and sharing his passion for fishing with the world. He says he has become friends with many of the camera crew and other fishermen on the show. He does not let the competition on the show consume him, but rather focuses on having fun and doing his best. He has also proven to be a skilled and successful fisherman. He won season 9 of the show by catching 11 fish worth $67, 854. In order to do so he overcame Dave Carraro, the most successful fisherman on the show who caught 10 fish worth $63,152 and was declared runner-up.
T.J. Ott has an estimated net worth of $1 million as of 2023. He earns money from his appearances on Wicked Tuna and Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks, as well as from his commercial tuna fishing business. He also sells Hot Tuna merchandise on his website for his fans. He uses part of his income on salary for his employee, maintenance and of boat operation which is estimated to be around $40,000.
Brushing with the law and Plea deal
TJ Ott is no stranger to drama. As the captain of the Hot Tuna, one of the featured boats on the hit reality TV show Wicked Tuna, he has faced fierce competition, rough seas, and mechanical failures in his quest to catch the prized bluefin tuna. But in 2021, he found himself in a different kind of trouble: a legal one.
Ott was accused of illegally selling several bluefin tuna to a Gloucester fish market without the required state and federal permits. Bluefin tuna are a highly regulated species, with strict quotas and seasons to ensure their long-term survival. Ott, who holds a federal charter/headboat permit that allows him to fish commercially and recreationally for bluefin, allegedly sold the fish during a closed commercial season.
The Massachusetts Environmental Police launched an investigation in October 2021, after noticing the Hot Tuna fishing at Stellwagen Bank National Sanctuary, a popular spot for tuna anglers. They searched Ott’s permits and discovered that he did not have a valid state permit for 2021. They also learned that he had sold several bluefin tuna to a Gloucester fish market that had bought them from an unpermitted individual.
Ott was charged with nine counts of violation of a commercial fishing license. He pleaded guilty in November 2022 and agreed to pay $13,500 in restitution to the state’s environmental trust fund. He also received a stern warning from the authorities and the public.
TJ has a unique look and a relaxed personality that make him likable and relatable to viewers. Also, if you are a longtime viewer of Wicked Tuna you must have seen him go through dramatic physical changes. TJ was always a big guy who didn’t care much about his weight. But one day, he realized that he needed to make a change. He decided to embark on a weight loss journey that would transform his body and his life.
TJ initially weighed around 170 Kg ( 374 lbs) and lost about 29 -31 kg (63 to 68 lbs ). He didn’t have any weight loss surgery instead chose to change his diet. He also consulted with a nutritionist who helped him plan his meals and track his progress. He also began to exercise regularly. He joined a gym and worked with a personal trainer who designed a workout routine for him.
Is TJ Ott married or dating a girlfriend? Kids?
TJ Ott kept his personal life a mystery to the public for the longest time. Several online outlets reported he was married to a woman named Kristina Doellman. By the way, she is Kristin a resident of Illinois who has been married to some other person named TJ Ott since 2016.
As of now, TJ Ott is neither married nor single, he is dating fellow fisherman Marissa McLaughlin who is also the sister of Tyler McLaughlin. TJ does not have children of his own but has a goddaughter named Eliza Rose. Eliza is his niece born to his sister Katie Rose.
Relationship with Marissa McLaughlin
They say that love can bloom in the most unexpected places. For TJ Ott and Marissa McLaughlin, that place was the ocean. They are both fishermen and stars of the show Wicked Tuna, where they compete with each other to catch the most bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean. They are rivals on the show, but lovers in real life.
Their romance started as a secret. They didn’t want to reveal their relationship to their crew members, their fans, or their competitors. They wanted to keep their professional and personal lives separate. They also wanted to avoid any drama or jealousy that might arise from their situation.
They met on the show, where TJ is the captain of the Hot Tuna boat and Marissa works with her brother, Tyler McLaughlin, on Team Pinwheel. They were attracted to each other’s passion, skill, and personality. They shared a love for fishing, dogs, and adventure. They also respect each other’s work ethic and ambition.
The two have been dating secretly for quite some time and the relationship only came to light in 2020, during the ninth season of Wicked Tuna. They also showed some sweet moments on the show, such as when TJ made breakfast for Marissa after she missed two fish, or when he cheered her on from his boat when she caught a big tuna.
They have been keeping their romance low-key and have not shared many details about their personal lives. They are not married yet, but they seem to be happy and supportive of each other, despite being rivals on the show. They also share a love for dogs and have adopted one together.