Alaska: Battle on the Bay

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Alaska: Battle on the Bay TV Poster Image
Rival salmon fishermen aggressively compete in reality show.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The fisherman are determined to win and work hard to reach their goals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some captains play by the rules, others don't. All are motivated by money. 


Dangerous waters lead to precarious situations. Competition leads to yelling and boat ramming. Accidents and death discussed. 


"Ass"; lots of bleeped cursing. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional whiskey shots; beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Alaska: Battle Of The Bay is a reality series that follows seasoned fisherman during the annual Salmon Derby, a salmon fishing free-for-all on the edge of the Bering Sea. Its salty fisherman swear like sailors (curses are bleeped, of course), and engage in competitively aggressive behaviors (lots of yelling, ramming each other's boats, etc). There's some drinking (whiskey shots, beer), as well as some discussions about death and drowning. 

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What's the story?

ALASKA: BATTLE ON THE BAY is a reality series that follows seasoned fisherman during the annual Salmon Derby on the edge of the Bering Sea. Every year during sockeye salmon migration season, the Department of Fish and Game allows four weeks of unlimited sockeye salmon fishing in Bristol Bay to maintain its sustainability. Among the nearly 2,000 captains vying for the half a billion dollars worth of fish are Leonard Ferrigno of the Deborah Renee, local Taran White of the Thunder, and Detroit native Luke Swab of the Jimmy Jeff, plus a handful of other crusty characters. As they do everything they can to take advantage of the season, they contend with rough waters, bad weather, and aggressive competition. Throughout it all, the authorities impose hefty fines on those who violate the rules, which include staying within the legal fishing boundaries. It's dangerous work that breeds lots of rivalries, but the fisherman believe that the financial returns make it worthwhile. 

Is it any good?

The series, similar to fishing shows like Wicked Tuna and Lobster Wars, shows how individual fisherman navigate the Salmon Derby to cash in on the annual event. It highlights challenges each captain must face on their own vessels, like struggling with engines that are barely seaworthy, and coping with dangerous costly mistakes being made by greenhorn crews, as well as the competition as a whole. Constant monitoring by law enforcement also adds to the fray. Much of the show's entertainment value comes from the competition among the fisherman, who engage in downright violent traditions like slamming boats into each other (more dangerous than fun) in order to secure a coveted spot on the water. As the season progresses, each vessel's catch numbers are posted, creating as much tension as can be created on a show about fishing. It's not for everyone, but fishing enthusiasts will certainly enjoy it. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of fishing reality shows. Is it the actual fishing that makes them interesting? Or is the culture and traditions of the fishermen? What kinds of positive traits do fisherman have? 

  • Talk to your kids about sustainable seafood and how fresh fish get to the dinner table.

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love competition

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