Reely Hooked Fish Company: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Reely Hooked Fish Company felt like they caught a big one with a unique recipe for a smoked fish dip. Entrepreneurs Steven Markley and James Arcaro chose the creamy ingredient swap of Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in the base and made it a priority to use high-quality fish.

The pair got their start working out of Hour Cucina in Boynton Beach, Florida — a commissary kitchen that rents to small, food-based businesses. The space has evolved into a sort of incubator that has helped to get many startups off the ground, including Reely Hooked Fish company. The product was first available at just a few local markets, restaurants, and breweries.

Many seafood-focused products have cast a line into Shark-infested waters hoping for a bite. Meat delivery service Moink, tinned fish company Fishwife, and premium seafood online store Fish Fixe all walked away with deals. Reely Hooked Fish Company was hoping for the same outcome. Markley and Arcaro took their shot in front of Sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec on Season 9, Episode 11 of "Shark Tank," which aired in November 2017.

What happened to Reely Hooked Fish Company on Shark Tank?

These two enterprising, fish-loving, firefighting Floridians made a clear ask right off the bat — Steven Markley and James Arcaro asked for $75,000 in exchange for a 25% stake in their company. They pitched the product as a lighter alternative to the typical smoked fish dips that were loaded with mayo and cream cheese. Greek yogurt kept the mackerel dip creamy but cut down on calories and increased protein. The pair brought plenty of energy to the Tank, and after the samples were passed around, all the Sharks raved about the flavor and nutritional density.

When it came to the numbers, sales to date were only at $10,000 in three months. The company was selling eight-ounce containers at a price of $10 with a cost of $4.50 per unit. The goal for the investment money was to drive down the cost of production by investing in equipment and facilities, which would also allow them to buy larger quantities of fish at a time.

Daymond John was the first to drop out citing the fact that the company had not yet demonstrated scalability in a notoriously difficult market. Reluctantly, Lori Greiner bowed out for similar reasons. Kevin O'Leary wasn't a believer, but Mark Cuban seemed to have some faith. As the guys nervously kept trying to pitch, Cuban interrupted by offering what they asked for, and the pair quickly accepted the offer.

Reely Hooked Fish Company after Shark Tank

Steven Markley and James Arcaro left the Tank hooting and hollering with glee after making a deal, and they immediately channeled that energy right back into their own business. At the time Reely Hooked Fish Company appeared on "Shark Tank," the dip was being sold at just three breweries and one specialty store. The company expanded its business into farmers' markets and restaurants, with plans to get into retail stores quickly. They also announced that they were changing the fish from mackerel to wahoo.

The Facebook page was full of comments from folks who were eager to have the product shipped for them, but after the episode aired, Reely Hooked Fish Company was still not in a place to be able to ship its product. By March 2018, the company was able to launch a nationwide shipping program. In a Question and Answer session on Facebook Live about shipping, the founders explained that the high shipping costs were largely due to the nature of mailing a fresh product. It could not be shipped frozen with dry ice because it affects quality, so the only option was to ship the product in less than 48 hours. They also opted for more eco-friendly packaging than styrofoam, which further increased the shipping prices as well.

Regardless of the challenges, folks who could get their hands on a container of dip absolutely loved it. Out of 131 Facebook reviews, the product has a 4.8 rating.

Is Reely Hooked Fish Company still in business?

Despite much enthusiasm from both founders and fans, it looks like Reely Hooked Fish Company went out with the tide. The website is down; Reely Hooked Fish Company is no longer listed on Mark Cuban's site; and the Facebook page has not been updated since July 2019.

It really did seem like the Reely Hooked Fish Company was poised to keep trucking along, but what actually happened remains unclear. Leading up to the final days, the company continued to highlight new partnerships with restaurants and reiterate its commitment to providing an affordable retail product. In the comments, fans stayed engaged, giving compliments and begging for the dip to be made available in nearby stores. In a Facebook post made in August 2018, the business even hinted at expanding distribution. The final post from the company was actually a poll asking whether they should set up a smokehouse on the East or West Coast.

What is next for Steven Markley and James Arcaro?

Both entrepreneurs quit their firefighting jobs to work with Reely Hooked Fish Company full-time, but Steven Markley went on to pursue other projects after his company went under. At the time of writing, James Arcaro does not appear to have any sort of internet presence, so his current ventures are not known.

On the other hand, Markley has an active LinkedIn and lists himself as a "life enthusiast," "entrepreneur," and "coastal culinary aficionado." In fact, as of November 2023, he is the business owner of D.J. Fischers Seafood Market & Provisions, and the grand opening was in December 2023. He and his wife bought the business from another seafood monger in Port Richey, Florida.

Presently, the business has 37 reviews and an impressive five-star rating on Google. The Facebook and Instagram pages are both active. It looks like Markley is taking what he learned from his "Shark Tank" experience into new waters, and according to a post on Facebook, and a listing on the market's website, Reely Hooked Fish Company Dip is still on the menu with its original recipe.