'Deadliest Catch': Which crew would you want to crab fish with?

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

If you were on the crew of one of the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch boats, which would you choose?

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.

Stay tuned.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Submitted by Phil (not verified) on
I have fished for 40 years and Keith on the Wizard is a either bi-polar or just a complete jerk. I'd have put him on his butt for sure if he talked to me the way he does his crew. WANT RESPECT KEITH?.......GIVE IT. Oh yeah.....your boats a sled.....no way I'd fish on it....haaaaaaa

Submitted by Phil (not verified) on
Keith on the Wizard is either bi-polar or just a complete jerk. 40 yrs. i've been on the banks and I'd have for sure put him on his butt if he talked to me the way he does his crew. KEITH, WANT RESPECT? GIVE IT! One other point. Your boat ia a sled! No way I'd fish that old fuel hauler!!!!!......haaaaaaaa

Submitted by Crab lover (not verified) on
Yeah, Keith on the Wizard is a nut for sure. That guy has a screw loose. Wild Bill Wichrowski also seems like a pain to work for the way he treats his son and the crew. The only Captain's I'd fish for (which would never happen anyway) would be Sig on the Northwestern and of course the Time Bandit with the Hillstandt brothers. Sig knows his stuff and has a good system and the Hillstrandt brothers are just cool characters. "Jr." on the Seabooke seems ok but he makes unrational stupid moves and puts his crew at risk because he thinks he's a "Legend." Oh, and Elliott Neese on the Ramblin Rose is a complete moron.

Submitted by Revs (not verified) on
I totally agree with everything you wrote. I would add one thing. The Northwestern looks like the only boat that is seaworthy. The other boats, especially the Wizard, look like they will sink in a heartbeat if the right wave comes along.

Yes, the Northwestern does look like a beautiful boat; the brothers' pride in keeping their family jewel in great shape is apparent, as well. If I couldn't be on the <em>Time Bandit</em>, my second choice would be the <em>Northwestern</em>; I think Sig employs the "educate-not-browbeat" philosophy, as well. He has a good sense of humor, too, tho' not as over-the-top with his pranking tendencies as the Hillstrands. Both the Hansens and Hillstrands seem to put the human element before the money, which I believe leads to success in more ways than one in most endeavors, including crab fishing.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I agree with your points about Captain Keith but disagree with your points about Wild Bill. He went on deck to teach his son and his son was a smart alex from the start. When he asked is son what he learned the response should have been "I learned not to panic if I miss, not to throw it with all my strength and to have excess rope so I can get greater distance". Had he said that Wild Bill would have had a more positive response. Just remember, those who can do and those who can't whine about how they're being treated unfairly. Own your own boat before you criticize how others run theirs :).

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I totally agree with your points about Wild Bill. More to the point, I _have_ sailed on a fishing boat with Bill (not the Kodiak). Learning on the fly in the Bering Sea is deadly serious business, and acting like Joe Junior College won't cut it when conditions go south. Every crewmember needs to learn as many deck jobs as they can handle, and learn how to do them so well it becomes instinctive. It is a matter of safety of life and limb, not sensitivity training.

Submitted by Kim (not verified) on
Of course it would be the TB.... They make good money AND have a great time doing so..... Maybe the NW, but they works soooo hard...

Submitted by PiratesCut (not verified) on
Legend in his own mind anyway. Guys like him get men killed......been there done that. Get over yourself!!!!

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