So, if you were on a crab boat in the Deadliest Catch fleet, working and bonding with crew and captains, which crab boat would you choose?
Well, it’s hard to imagine that it would not be the Time Bandit for most viewers—I know that’s the boat I would choose. They’re all hard-working crews, to be sure—they have to be. “Hard-working” doesn’t really begin to describe the job, actually. But, of all the boats, the captains of the Time Bandit, Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, seem to try hardest to make being on their boat (1) educational and (2) as much fun as possible. They don’t simply brow-beat their crews into submission, or try to grind them into the deck with no praise or reward. They actually teach their crew about all aspects of their profession, bring them into the process, instead of trying to simply dominate them from above. And, in the process, the crew respects their captains and appreciates their jobs.
This week’s episode had a good example of education combined with fun on the Time Bandit. After catching the bulk of their red crab quota, the Hillstrand brothers devised a competition for the crew members to top off the tanks, allowing them each to put up $1,000 and set a five-string pot. Fun, yes, with the friendly competition building the ties of brotherhood even stronger between the deckhands. But, also educational, teaching the boat’s deckhands a little more about how the process of crab fishing works on the whole, from setting a string to guiding the boat.
“I’m anticipating winning the bet and blowing it all on buying these guys dinner and drinks,” one crewman said, demonstrating the bond that seems to keep growing among the Time Bandit crew.
“It’s gonna be a fun day for me,” Captain Johnathan said as the competition got started. “because there’s gonna be tragedy, somebody’s gonna lose, somebody’s gonna be victorious.”
Josh Harris Trusts Captain Phil's Fishing Philosophy
The last crew member to set and check his string was new deckhand Josh Harris. His philosophy when setting his pots was a crude one, but one that his late father swore by: fart bubbles.
“You watch,” Captain Phil Harris once told his son. “If there’s fart bubbles, there’s crabs.” So, when setting his string, that was how Josh ultimately chose the spot to drop. And, although he started with only four meager crab in his first pot, he finished strong, winning the competition and topping off the tanks, with a rainbow shining in the sky as they pulled the last of his pots, no less.
Could you script a better ending to the king crab season?
And, the camaraderie on the Time Bandit was apparent as the crew taunted each other after Josh’s win, ultimately duct taping Josh to a ladder on the boat, with Captain Johnathan laughing his signature laugh in the wheelhouse as he steered the boat.
“That’s how we roll,” Captain Andy said with a smile.
So, yes, for me, if I were on a crab boat—which I would never be, unless I had a serious death wish—and I had my choice of the Deadliest Catch fleet, it would be the Time Bandit. Education and experience combined with fun—that’s how they roll.
Some of the other captains should take notice; maybe they could keep a few more greenhorns, or have a dedicated crew instead of one that appears ready to walk off deck and never look back at the end of the season.
Image: Wikimedia Commons