Edgar Hansen of the F/V Northwestern held a live chat on the Discovery website almost two weeks ago and it was recently posted on the Deadliest Catch Wiki. As you probably already know, Edgar is the youngest of three brothers who are all first-generation american from a family with super-strong Norweigan ties. As one of the most often featured fishermen of Deadliest Catch, Edgar is pretty much unforgettable. He’s known as the man with the greatest sense or humor, the man who’ll eat anything, and he’s known as a deckboss who works right alongside the crew and does anything and everything he can to keep up their spirits as they tackle the untiring, unfeeling Bering sea. He is one-third owner of the F/V Northwestern and is everybit as much a proprietor of the family business as his older siblings Sig and Norman Hansen. Check out what he has to say…It’s guaranteed not to be boring!
(photo courtesy of Discovery)
Edgar Hansen: Thank you for joining us at Discovery.com. At least you’re here and not watching Jerry Springer.
Donald: When you bite that herring do you swallow any of it? That is real sushi.
Edgar Hansen: It tastes like sushi, but it would probably hurt coming out. So, no I don’t eat any of it.
The Galway Girl: We all know you love to pull pranks on fellow crewmembers, especially greenhorns, but what’s the best prank you’ve ever had pulled on you?
Edgar Hansen: Best one? Was probably from Phil on Cornelia Marie, the one where he put a 20 foot piece of pipe on our pot. That was a classic. It was a good thing we know our stuff so we knew how to deal with it quickly.
djdebsing: Hello Edgar, just a wondering do you have a desire to take over full time for big brother Sig?!?
Edgar Hansen: Not full-time, but eventually if we get more quota I’m sure we’ll just take turns running the boat.
Love This: Do people really steal from each other out there or was tonight’s episode a rare event?
Edgar Hansen: No, people take other people’s stocks all the time. It is illegal; you’re not allowed to take the crab but people do it. If they’re just getting out there and have a full load of gear on often times you’ll see people check pots just to see if there’s life in the area. We don’t do that, we don’t need to!
ducky: How’s the head after getting hit by the hook?
Edgar Hansen: I’ll be pleased to say I didn’t knock any corners off this Norwegian head (that’s why they call us square heads). It did hurt; it rattled my teeth.
Northwestern 4 Evr: After the season has ended and everyone has gone their separate ways, what do you do in your free time? Do you have any, or do you have a job?
Edgar Hansen: I have a full-time job being a dad and a husband. My part-time job is staying as far away from Sig as possible. <laughing>
The Galway Girl: Do you think there will be another generation of crab fisherman in the Hansen family?
Edgar Hansen: The only males left in the family are my two boys and I don’t see them fishing any time soon. I’d rather see them go to college and be somebody. And live a normal life.
Torie Rene: I’ve always wondered how you guys stay awake…they never show you guys sleeping or resting at all!
Edgar Hansen: It’s adrenaline, that’s a big one. Greed is the second biggest. And just sheer willpower, you force yourself to stay awake and work. You go through your first and second winds and then you end up coming on your third and fourth wind, and so on and so on. That’s what separates us from the average guy, being able to work through the pain and the sleep deprivation, and starvation. And still come out shiny.
ducky: Do your wife and kids watch the show or do you prefer they not watch it?
Edgar Hansen: We all sit down and a family and watch the show, if we’re home while they’re airing it. Sometimes we’re fishing when the shows are coming out. The kids are into it for about 10 minutes, then after that it’s just a good reason to stay up late.
Crystal Lee: What do you think of your greenhorn and how his attitude changed from last season to this one?
Edgar Hansen: Is this Jake?? Ha Ha! He has come a long way in a very short time. Only ’cause he’s got good teachers. He’s got something, he’s got what it takes to be a really good full-share deckhand. But it does take time and experience. And he needs to check his feelings at the door when he goes on deck. Because the kid’s just too damned sensitive. Other than that, he’s going to be one hell of a deckhand.
Master Captain: Hey Edgar, a few questions. What is the top speed of the Northwestern, the engine builder and the amount of horsepower?
Edgar Hansen: Top speed was 12 knots when she was first built at sea trial. The main engine is a 3512 Caterpillar Twin Turbo. And it’s 1250 horsepower with 4500 feet of torque. She’ll basically pull a building.
djdebsing: Would you recommend this job to your own child and/or relative?
Edgar Hansen: To my children? No. Only because it’s no life for an average human being. A relative, sure, because I hate ’em all! LOL Just kidding!
Shirley: What are brown crab used for?
Edgar Hansen: Brown crab is essentially the same as a red King Crab, but they are usually a little smaller and they’re sold cheaper on the American market.
Northwestern 4 Evr: Edgar, do you ever stay in touch with any of your other shipmates after the season’s over? Do you guys ever meet each other and have a few beers and talk about past, present, and future crabbing experiences?
Edgar Hansen: Well, right now, the boat is in the shipyard so we will be seeing a lot of each other. Because we do have to go work on the boat: painting, etc. etc. And Matt lives just down the street from me, so we do see one another quite often. It’s usually him coming to borrow tools.
Wizette Mystic: Hi Edgar…thanks for chatting…can you tell us where you get your incredible sense of humor?
Edgar Hansen: Well, I didn’t get it from my bigger brother, that’s for sure! It’s one of those things, you have to have a sense of humor to work on these boats. If you didn’t, you’re just doomed. You have to be able to laugh about something, whether it’s good or bad.
gabber310: When was your greatest season on the Northwestern?
Edgar Hansen: Greatest season? Was probably three King Crabs ago. In 80 hours I walked away with a $40,000 check.
Boston Bruins40: So do you really like eating bait or just like screwing with the other guys LOL
Edgar Hansen: I don’t enjoy eating the bait, or the herring, but I do love to screw with the other guys. The main reason is for good luck. It’s usually at the opening of the season, and it’s just become a staple in our tradition.
Lhiiiz: Edgar, you always seem to have a lighthearted bend on situations…how long did Jake have to wear the cod fish?
Edgar Hansen: As long as it took for him to learn to wear a damned knife belt.
Torie Rene: How long are you guys out to sea for each crab season and how does your family feel about your profession?
Edgar Hansen: Each season? I was gone 9-1/2 months last year. But that’s with cod fish and salmon tendering. So, my family appreciates the hard work that goes into putting a roof over our heads and food on our table. And getting crab in your salad.
Paula R: Did you ever have a cod hung on your knife belt like you did to your greenhorn?
Edgar Hansen: No, I think I’ve had a knife belt on from day one. I’ve had other things done to me when I was younger. I learned from older guys that have been here for years and years and years. So, there wasn’t the happy, youngster banter that goes on today. It was either you did or you didn’t, and shut your mouth either way. That’s how I learned.
ducky: I know you did Trading Spaces and redid your wife’s sister’s kitchen. Would you ever consider doing Trading Spaces with Sig or anyone else on the Northwestern?
Edgar Hansen: No, because they would literally screw up my house. I just got done putting two years work into my addition, and nobody is going to touch my house.
Northwestern 4 Evr: Have you picked up any weird habits that you gained through doing something repetitively in the season such as throwing a piece of line out? (i.e. weird baseball pitch)
Edgar Hansen: I say ‘Roger that’ to people at the grocery store. When I’m helping somebody working on a house or a car, whatever it may be, I tend to work like I’m working on a crab boat and they tend to look at me like I’m crazy. Like “What do you mean you want to eat lunch? What the hell is wrong with you??
DeniseG: My son is interested in crab fishing, any advice for him?
Edgar Hansen: Yeah, stay in school! It depends on how old he is. The chances of getting a job nowadays are pretty slim to none. But if he is serious about it, and you love your son, don’t let him go.
Northwestern fan: Your brother Sig, in the role of captain of the boat, plays a big role in what direction the boat will take. What changes would you make if you were captain?
Edgar Hansen: He actually asks our input sometimes on which way to go or what we’re going to do. But he usually follows his own instincts. If I was to run the boat, I’d just go with my gut. Obviously, we have the same blood so that’s all you can do is go with your gut. And try to stay on crab.
NyxMCPS: Has a fan sent you anything? If they have, what was the funniest, or the weirdest?
Edgar Hansen: Well, this is family Discovery… One of the funniest, there were bottles of KY Jelly and self pleasuring tools. That was by far the funniest. The strangest, we received two boxes and it literally contained everything you would need to survive a month on a boat. i.e., paper plates, forks, knives, placemats, magazines, coffee. It was like they walked through the grocery store and dumped everything into the cart. And it cost them a fortune to get it up there. But it doesn’t go unappreciated. So, keep sending them!
mnakdib: If the Time Bandit had filled its quota, why wouldn’t they share the hot spot with others?
Edgar Hansen: Some guys do if they’re done fishing and they’re headed in. They will literally tell someone, a partner boat, about the spot they just had. It’s still a gentleman’s fishery, but when you’re out there gloves are off and every boat for itself.
Kaia from Bergen: How’s Sling Blade doing?
Edgar Hansen: When you say Sling Blade, you’re referring to my brother Norman. And he’s in Yakima at his new property, fixing his driveway. Other than that, he’s doing just fine. Uh huh!
The Galway Girl: What’s the best thing about working with your brothers?
Edgar Hansen: I didn’t realize there was a best thing! I would say, we have a lot of respect for each other as workers, to say he’s the best at what he does and I’m the best at what I do. Together, it works, but other than that we butt heads.
Lhiiiz: Edgar, you’ve eaten some pretty atrocious things on the show…anything ever actually made you sick?
Edgar Hansen: Until now? No, but I can tell you that when I ate the cod heart, I ate three in a row, and they didn’t sit very well in my stomach. Because they were beating inside of me! But other than that, no, we’ve got some strong bellies. Mind over matter.
mnakdib: Is it hard to get a greenhorn to work on these boats?
Edgar Hansen: Good question! No, because you can usually tell right away how you need to manipulate him into getting the work out of him. And if you can’t do that as a boss then you don’t know your job. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip. So, some guys just can’t handle the work. As a boss you should be able to see that right away so you just don’t push the issue. Or you just ride him to make him cry like a little girl!
(photo courtesy of Discovery)
monkeys in motion: How did you feel when you first found out that you were going to be filmed for a TV show? Did you think the show would become as popular as it is? This is me and my sons’ favorite show, we haven’t missed one episode and my sons think you are the greatest. Thanks for sharing your fishing with us!
Edgar Hansen: Thank your boys for me, and tell them hi! When we first heard we were going to be filmed, I don’t think any of us liked the idea. We were just regular guys, and not used to having cameras stuffed in our face. But, I think it took a season before we started to get comfortable with the whole thing. We’re still not used to it, but after hearing things like what you said from your boys, it makes it all worth it.Rusty Coleman: Do you ever eat any King Crab while on the boat?
Edgar Hansen: Of course we do, just not as often as you would think. Literally, you’re in such a zone that you forget you have the capability of cooking and eating this wonderful product. Besides that, we’re just too damned tired.
Michelle: How often do you have to shop for the crew, and what are the “have to haves”?
Edgar Hansen: We usually shop in Seattle and have everything shipped up. For one season, one three month period, we can spend anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 in food. Must haves would be coffee, cigarettes, and chocolate and/or sugar.
Michelle: Do you chose this way of life, or does it just choose you?
Edgar Hansen: It was forced child labor. I basically didn’t finish high school because of fishing. I wanted to go back, but my dad looked at me and said, “What do you want to be? You want to be a dummy? Go fishing.” Because back then, 18-19 years old we were making over $100,000 a year. So, eliminate the middle man, which would be college, and go straight to the high paying job.
dsquared2008: If you weren’t fishing, what would you be doing with your life? What were your aspirations in high school?
Edgar Hansen: I was getting pretty good at guitar. If I hadn’t been in a band, I probably would have been a finish carpenter.
trumpet NY guy: Does the crew ever get ahead of preventative maintenance? I know it makes the show interesting to have struggles, but it seems like blown bearings on pulleys would be a simple check?
Edgar Hansen: You know, it doesn’t matter how much maintenance you put into a boat or how many hundreds of thousands of dollars you can spend in the ship yard to fix the boat, there is always something that can and will go wrong at any time. Wear and tear is just a big part of it, something you learn to accept. Even new parts break sometimes. So, expect the unexpected.
ducky: You looked really happy to be on the Martha Stewart show…are you a big fan?
Edgar Hansen: Is this Martha?? My wife is a fan, and yes I have seen the show. By force. Am I a huge fan? No, I would rather be watching This Old House. Or Discovery Channel!
crab fan: What is the most unusual thing you have hauled aboard while crab fishing?
Edgar Hansen: A mermaid! The most unusual thing would be a microwave and a bicycle. It was a prank pulled on us by somebody else because of Sig’s paranoia about bad bait.
LUD: What is the total square feet of your holding tanks on the Northwestern?
Edgar Hansen: Now you’re getting technical, that’s not my job. But I do know how much crab we pack – 218,000 pounds of Snow Crab. I know, because I put them in there one by one.
ponamus: Hey Edgar – what’s your favorite meal to prepare on the boat?
Edgar Hansen: Well, the best meal – there’s two. One is steak and shrimp. And that only means that we’re going in loaded. That’s the meal when we’re full and headed to town. The other one would be crab-stuffed chicken breast in Bearnaise sauce.
lillygrl305: Can you give us a recipe you’ve cooked on board?
Edgar Hansen: Salted cod and potatoes with an onion sauce. Salt the cod for three hours, boil in water for three hours. Enjoy!
whitney: How many camera people are on the boat with you and the crew?
Edgar Hansen: There is two cameramen, one is in a sense a producer, and he’s more of the wheelhouse camera guy. Eric Lange and Yoshi Stone were our camera crew for King Crab and Opilio. And a couple of the best camera guys/human beings I have ever met. But they’re all spectacular people. They have to be just as crazy as we are to be out there. Which makes me like them even more. Go Team Go!
Headin 2 Alaska: What is the biggest misconception about fishing that most people seem to have?
Edgar Hansen: Good question! Misconceptions…about fishing in general, about the hours we work and the fact that anybody can go up there and try to get a job. That is really hard to do these days, because people who have jobs are keeping them. Also, the weather on the show, you will never capture the real feeling of that bad weather on camera as you would in real life. So, the cameras do not do it justice. Because it’s literally twice as bad as what you’re seeing on your TV screen. They need to make scratch ‘n sniff TVs!
Adriana: What are your duties as a deck boss versus a deck hand?
Edgar Hansen: Baby-sit, baby-sit, baby-sit! And also, I’m the go-to guy. A deck boss should know anything and everything about the deck. When there’s chaos, he’s the guy who should be able to simmer the situation down or quickly fix anything that needs to be fixed.
muzz: How is the quota figured for each boat?
Edgar Hansen: They went by our past fishing history. From those numbers of our catch history they gave each boat its own quota. So, out of the main quota, they come up with for the whole season, each boat is allowed to catch his share from that quota. But we can also lease crab from other boats and fish their crab as well to make more money. We’re just up there longer.
addicted 2 This Show: My husband is a carpenter who has now decided he wants to be a crab fisherman. How do I talk him out of it? And he’s 38. Help me Edgar!
Edgar Hansen: Give me your address and I will come slap some sense into him! With a tack hammer!
Northwestern girl: When does Sig sleep and who takes over when/if he does?
Edgar Hansen: When we’re crab fishing, we all sleep when we get a chance, on the average we get 4 hours every 30 hours of working. But when we’re cod fishing, I run the boat at night for a few hours so he can get a little nap. And besides that, like my dad used to say “You can sleep when you’re dead.”witchy one: Have you guys considered running a second boat?
Edgar Hansen: No, because that would cost too much money these days to purchase more quota. With all three brothers on one boat, you’re already money ahead. So, basically, everything goes back into the Hansen family and into the corporation.
Headin 2 Alaska: The new video game that is out…did you help Sig with the design?
Edgar Hansen: Yes, we helped in every aspect. We want this game to be as realistic for the player to make them feel like they are onboard our boat. So, yes, I was in the office game testing, helping design. We mainly did it because people were begging for shirts and hats for their young ones. We figured there’s so many younger people watching the show and being fans of ours, we wanted to give a little something back to them as well.
Believe me, it is an awesome, awesome game. The name is: Deadliest Catch, Alaskan Storm. You can pre-order at gamestop.com. It will be available at Discovery.com. It should be out within the next month on shelves and/or order form via Discovery or gamestop.
Crab Daddy: What kind of “retribution” happens back at dock when a vessel has been caught checking peoples pots?
Edgar Hansen: I’m not sure of the fine; how much it is. You may just walk away with a warning. I do know it’s illegal, but I’m sure there’s a fine involved. We don’t know, because we’ve never gotten caught, because we just don’t do it.
Lowen: What’s the most dangerous repair you had to do on a rolling ship?
Edgar Hansen: The most dangerous happened probably 12 to 13 years ago. We had 1200 feet of line wrapped in our propeller and it melted into a big ball of plastic and it killed the main engine. So, we were literally taping a fireman’s mask to our face and using the air compressor with a hose stuck in our mouth to try and dive down and cut it ourselves. It didn’t go so well!
Jason: Edgar I have all the respect in the world for you watching the way you conduct yourself and run the deck. Do the other deckhands show you the respect you feel you have earned up to this point?
Edgar Hansen: No, they take me for granted. Isn’t that sad?! You know, the old saying is, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. I would love to see what happens if I was gone for a week. But every man on board has his place and I think everybody knows that. Except for Jake.
Texan Lady: What was the deal with the sandwich and why was Sig so angry about it?
Edgar Hansen: Because when you serve crab you have two hands to serve with. If you have time to lean you have time to clean. But I think Sig’s whole point was that he wasn’t serving with two hands as quickly as he could.
ducky: What does your mom think of all this hoopla surrounding you guys?
Edgar Hansen: I don’t think she knows the half of it. I can tell you that she’s very, very proud of us. And that she has been from day one. I’m sure the old man is probably rolling over in his grave right now, going “What did you dummies do?” In a thick Norwegian accent.
Tony: How long has biting the fish head been a good luck charm?
Edgar Hansen: Roughly, seven to eight years. And, no, it never gets old. And it doesn’t taste any better either. It’s the soggy ones you have to watch out for.
Tom Santurello: Do you do any recreational fishing?
Edgar Hansen: We did when our dad was alive. We would fish on Puget Sound for Dungeness Crab or salmon, but no not lately. We get enough of that being onboard.
davang: What did you think of the truck joke that the Time Bandit pulled on Captain Phil?
Edgar Hansen: The truck joke I think was a little overboard. Pardon the pun. It was funny, you have to admit. It was pretty funny.
Bluegill: Are there ever any concerns for over fishing the crab to the point where the crab population is seriously hurt or there just THAT many crab out there?
Edgar Hansen: No, we are not afraid whatsoever of over fishing. We take 15 percent of the legal size male population. And not to give anything away, but this last opillio season was one of the best ones we have ever seen. So, don’t be afraid, you will have crab salad as long as we live!
Michelle: What do you think the fascination is for all of us who watch the show?
Edgar Hansen: I think everybody, whether you’re man, woman or child, can relate in some way to something on the show or to someone. It’s just opened a lot of eyes as far as how your crab and steak dinner gets to your plate. Nobody gave it two thoughts of where this crab, what it took to get this crab, from Alaska or wherever to your dinner table.
Discovery: Edgar, thank you for being here tonight to answer so many questions! Is there anything you’d like to add, before we have to end the chat?
Edgar Hansen: Thank you for watching. Thank you for all your mail and emails. Thank you for being fans of the Northwestern (yes, go team!)
Just remember, we’re fishermen first, before and after the cameras are gone we’re still going to be the same guys doing the same thing. Thanks again! Stay tuned, there’s a lot of good stuff coming on the show. Now, get up out of your chairs and go do something!.
If you want to join Discovery’s next livechat, be there right before 10pm eastern. The next chat is with Jake Anderson of the F/V Northwestern