For several years, Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch” has been ruling reality programming. After all, viewers can’t get enough of the boat crews going out to the Bering Sea to make a dangerous living.
Today, “Deadliest Catch” is on its 15th season. And according to Discovery Channel, it’s all about “new blood, old wounds, and rivalries that never die. For some it's a season of change; for others, a chance to make a name for themselves, but some things remain constant: the perilous, icy waters of the Bering Sea and most dangerous job in the world.”
And while you keep enjoying episode after episode, check out these interesting things that the cast don’t really want you to know:
15 A captain was reeling in illegal crabs
At one point, Captain Monte Colburn was caught illegally reeling in crabs on the high seas. According to a 2016 report from TMZ, while the show was taping in November, Colburn had ventured out into an area that was strictly off-limits.
During an inspection, it was found that his crew caught the protected Opilio crab. As a result, he was slapped with a $750 fine.
14 There are a lot more boats on the water than you think
During an interview with The A.V. Club, Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski explained, “It’s kind of a lengthy explanation, but they gave everybody a percentage of the catch over the history of your performance and now the quota that’s given to you can be transferred to other boats so you can stack it up.
So now, you’ve gone from over 300 boats with five or six guys on each boat to… we’re down to under 100 boats.” Wichrowski estimated 78 boats.
13 One boat captain was sued due to fireworks
At one point, Time Bandit captains Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand were slapped with a lawsuit following a fireworks incident that left deckhand David “Beaver” Zielinski with a serious hand injury.
According to Zielinski, the explosive had detonated prematurely. At the end of the trial, Zielinski was awarded $1.4 million, according to Seattle PI.
12 The cast sells their catch to Red Lobster
In a series of videos posted on the Discovery Channel website, Red Lobster’s very own Director of Procurement, Skip Frisz explained, “Red Lobster's been working with suppliers in Alaska for many, many years. I'm very proud of the high-quality crab Josh and Casey of the Cornelia Marie bring to Red Lobster.”
11 The boat crew likes to eat
Wichrowski told The A.V. Club, “If you watch the show, especially on my boat, eating is of a high priority, though it comes few and far between. A lot of times the camera guys will make themselves something real quick. I’ve had guys that make meals or they’ve made sandwiches and took them out on deck.”
10 Captains can make millions in a few days
Indeed, there is a lot of money to be made in the high seas when you’re crab fishing. According to an April 2018 report from Fox Business, Cornelia Maria captain Josh Harris said that he can make $2 million in just two days.
So as you can see, if you can withstand the turbulent seas, crab fishing is a pretty good business to undertake.
9 Captain Wild has a hard time working with his son
During an interview with The A.V. Club, Wichrowski remarked, “To be honest, he was a pain to deal with; he would back-talk and smart-mouth and I was doing everything I could to elevate him through the ranks as any father would and he was fighting me about it. At some point last season, I expressed to him that I was tired of arguing with him about teaching him what I’ve learned over 37 years in a short period of time and if he didn’t get his act together, he can find another boat..”
8 The show has lost some beloved cast members over the years
On and off the camera, “Deadliest Catch” has experienced some fatalities over the years. For starters, Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie suffered a fatal stroke while he was off-loading crab in Alaska. Moreover, the show also aired an episode when captain Sig had just found out that the F/V Destination disappeared, along with its crew.
Meanwhile, other fatalities among the cast include Dr. Keith Anderson, Tony Lara, Justin Tennison, Blake Painter, and show producer Joe McMahon.
7 Sig Hansen once kicked an Uber car
In 2017, Sig Hansen got into some trouble after assaulting an Uber driver and car. Reports indicate that Hansen had spat on the driver and dented the car after using the ride-hailing service.
According to AP News, Hansen ended up getting sentenced to one-year probation. He has also been ordered to go on alcohol treatment.
6 Other cast members have been in trouble with the law
As you may know, several cast members of the “Deadliest Catch” don’t really have squeaky clean records when it comes to the law. In fact, a number of them have gotten into some serious trouble over the years. These include Jake Harris, Edgar Hansen, and Feleti “Freddy” Maugatai.
The charges pressed on these men include assault, possession, DUI, and others.
5 Some of the casts got fired, then rehired
When you watch “Deadliest Catch,” you’re not only catching suspense and thrills from all the crab fishing going on. In fact, you also get a good dose of drama because of the interactions among the various boat crews.
At one point, things got quite heated and intense, so much so that Relief Captain Monte “Mouse” Colburn got fired. No worries though, he got hired back.
4 The featured boats on the show can suddenly get sold
For several seasons, one of the most prominent boats on “Deadliest Catch” has been the Time Bandit, which is owned by the Hillstrand brothers. Unfortunately, it seems like the boat will never be seen on the show again as the brothers have already decided to put it up for sale.
According to the listing on Dock Street Brokers, the Time Bandit has an asking price of $2,888,888.
3 The show follows an outline
Sure, “Deadliest Catch” is classified as a reality program. However, as it turns out, it still follows an outline, which allows them to stage a story. One of these outlines was once discovered by The Hollywood Reporter.
Part of it read, “The fiction we are constructing is that the big wave hit the Wizard on their steam up to Dutch — caused a leak in Lenny’s stateroom. In reality, these were two separate events.”
2 Pickup shots are usually included in the show
It seems that the use of pickup shots is also not uncommon on the show. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Discovery president and general manager John Ford explained, “For certain things, we do pickup shots for continuity.
If the camera didn’t run properly when the captain was boarding the boat, they have the captain back up and board the boat again.”
1 The show is heavily edited
Before an episode of “Deadliest Catch” gets aired, its footage goes through some heavy editing first. For instance, it can be used to sort of, fake a storm or a big wave.
As suggested in the outline discovered by the Hollywood Reporter, “WIZARD ROGUE WAVE: Combine Wizard leak story on 9/26 with the Wizard being hit by a big wave on 10/1 and 10/2.”
Sources - Discovery Channel, TMZ, The A.V. Club, AP News, Anchorage & Daily News