Deadliest Catch

‘Deadliest Catch’ Captain Sig Hansen on Season 20 Challenges & Jake Anderson Reunion

‘Deadliest Catch’ Captain Sig Hansen on Season 20 Challenges & Jake Anderson Reunion

Sig Hansen deadliest catch

The stakes are high for Season 20 of Deadliest Catch as the Red King Crab fishery reopens in Alaska. With millions of slurs potentially on the line, captains are in a battle against time and other fishermen in a competitive derby-style race. It’s an environment Captain Sig Hansen is all too familiar with as fans following him on the show since its inception. Bringing even more nostalgia to the start of the milestone year is having Jake Anderson aboard the F/V Northwestern again.

Hansen extended the olive branch when Anderson found himself a man without a vessel days before the season was set to begin. His protege lost the F/V Saga, which he captained for a decade and held an ownership stake in after honing his skills on the Northwestern almost 18 years ago.

We caught up with Hansen to reflect on the longevity of the show and the challenges his crew faces this season.

How is it for you to be here in Season 20 of Deadliest Catch after being there since the beginning?

Sig Hansen: I was just flattered we hit Season 10. The fact we hit 20, it’s not just a milestone but I feel like it’s a common practice. I feel like people expect it. I can’t believe we’ve come this far because people want it. The time went so fast. I’m awestruck myself.


What’s it like to reflect on your journey on the show so far?

I just feel like some of the things I’ve seen in the past and morphed to where we are today and the struggles we’ve been through. Losing Captain Phil [Harris], for example, my heart attack. All these life-changing experiences are on television. One example I can give you that really puts it into perspective for me is Mandy. She is my daughter in the program and the captain-to-be so to speak. When she was a younger girl and a teenager, the program started airing. I would be in Alaska and at the time we didn’t have cell phones. We went from radio, to ship to shore and started using a 15 years or so tag phone. A device you could use through satellite where I can tag my family. We’ve morphed into a satellite where you can pick up a cell phone and have the internet. When she was a little girl, one thing I can never get out of my head.

We had the tag and she watched the program. She saw the weather and the danger in front of on the television. It stuck in her head. For a little girl to all of a sudden start looking at the weather and tell me, “Dad, you know there’s a storm in Alaska. You need to be careful.” It made me want to cry. She is not supposed to be thinking of stuff like that. It’s what brought it home for me. She has always wanted to be on the boat and made it…I’ve never had a summer at home since I was 12…For Mandy, she wanted to replicate that. By the time she was 13, she was on the boat every summer and here we are.

Was there a moment you realized how big the show was? I’d say having a Disney-Pixar character voiced by you and inspired by the boat you captain.

Doing Cars 2 was amazing. I had many milestones and that was one. Then just meeting famous people. Being with Discovery and all these avenues that have opened up. We’ve had these fundraisers to where it’s a whole different world I didn’t know existed. I’m flattered. We raise money for different charities. I raised $2 million for the Nordic Heritage Museum at my dinner table because of our fame. It’s flattering. We get it across the board. I will tell you I get more younger people saying, “Can you take a selfie for me for my grandma or grandpa?” That’s happening more and more. It’s making me feel old.

Mandy Hansen and Sig Hansen standing in front of the Northwestern at dock

With the Red King Crab fishery open, there seems to be added intensity this season. How does that impact the vibe you felt?

This year was different only because mentally we went into the derby-style fishery. With the derby, when the shotgun goes off it’s every man for themselves. That’s how it was. We do that because we had something to prove and had to prove that to the state of Alaska. You have a little thing called Fish and Game. They’re watching the numbers. It’s almost like an us versus them mentality. We’re watching numbers too. We want to catch as much crab as we can and want that CPU (Catch Per Unit).

We want the numbers up in our pots and catches to be high so we impress the pencil pushers. To do that, you have to throw the gloves off. You can’t go in there casually. Crab fishing is not casual. That’s what happened, and it paid off. If numbers are low because of the scarce quotas we have, it insinuates there is not enough crab and they may shut us down. We were under the gun to keep it open. We did everything we could to paint that picture so it’s a game, always a game. Now we have to play the political game.

What did it mean to you to help Jake at the start of the season?

I mean it’s par for the course, isn’t it? He has been with me since he was a child. I feel like I’ve been a role model for him for quite some time. I will say he has grown leaps and bounds and is amazing at what he does. He has really impressed me over the years. One thing you can’t teach is drive. He has drive and passion. I’m very proud of him because of that. For him to be on his knees basically and almost left with nothing, for me to help him out is great. I feel like I didn’t rub it in his face. I feel like I would never want to be in that situation. I did the best I could. He did move forward from that stepping stone we gave him once again. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Move on.

What can you say about your other captains like Jonathan [Hillstrand] coming out of retirement and the competitiveness with Jack [Bunnell]?

Jonathan can say he is going to retire all day long, but he’ll never retire in my opinion. It’s a love-hate relationship where Jon wants to retire and be a grandfather, but he is always going to come back I feel. Just like I can lie to myself too and say I’m never going to do it again and will. I’m realistic. That’s the truth. Jack is a young go-getter. I remember he was monkeying around with our gear. He has ways to go. It’s going to take him a while to learn the art of lying and deception. To be a fisherman, you have to be very deceptive. That will come in time. He does have a spanking coming to him, but that’s the way you live and learn.

What are you most excited for viewers to see this season?

I’m excited we did the derby-style fishing, and it was aggressive. I believe that this year the work ethic will shine through. I feel like that is inspirational for a lot of people. It’s what I’m most proud of. You can never take it for granted.

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