Hillstrands Interviewed on season 5 of ‘Deadliest Catch’

Novid Parsi of Time Out Chicago just recently sat down with captains Johnathon and Andy Hillstrand of the F/V Timebandit, and got their take on season 5, crab fishing, and what it’s like living on the edge…

Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand of Deadliest Catch

Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand of Deadliest Catch

Tonight, the Discovery Channel airs the fifth-season premiere of its cult hit Deadliest Catch. In the Bering Sea, the reality show follows the boats and crewmen engaged in the treacherous, high-stakes profession of crab fishing. Recently, I tracked down two of the series’ salty captains, Johnathan Hillstrand, 46, and his brother Andy, 45—in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Four Seasons Hotel. The brothers sat down on a comfy couch to tell of the adventures they’ve seen on their vessel, Time Bandit.

Time Out Chicago: When you’re at sea under terrible conditions, facing financial and physical risk, there must be times when you say to yourselves, “There’s gotta be an easier way to make a living.”
Johnathan Hillstrand: The wintertime. We don’t need to do it; we could retire and just let the boat make money for us.
Andy Hillstrand: You’re living in the moment, though. When all that bad stuff’s happening, you’re living in that moment. A lot of guys just drink it away. We have short-term memories, fishermen. You can say, “I’ll never do this again,” and when the next season comes around, you’re ready to go.

TOC: You say you don’t have to do it—then why do you do it?
I missed an opie season once, and it was—like, the guys were out there fishing without me, and it killed me. It hurt my soul.
Andy: I’ve done it 29 years; he’s done it 30 years now—crab fishing professionally. We’ve been on boats our whole lives. If you don’t do it—
It just kills you.
Andy: You just feel—it’s like sitting in this hotel.

TOC: It also sounds like, especially you Johnathan, you’re more likely to get into trouble on land than on water.
Well, you can definitely find more trouble on land.
Johnathan: [Laughs] We take a break when we go fishing.
Andy: You get back into the city, the real world, and you’re like, Whoah. You have to communicate with people normal, instead of, like—you don’t really want to see people.
Johnathan: It’s a culture shock.
Andy: You’re doing ten miles an hour on the water for two to three months. You get out, and you’re doing 55, 75 in a car. You’re freaking out.
Johnathan: “What the hell.”

TOC: Do you still get up to those high-jinks on land? Johnathan, like the time you fought with the bouncers in Rhode Island and they threw you against a Porsche?
You kinda quit doing that—much.
Johnathan: No, I don’t fight that much. Maybe once or twice a year. I’m getting old.

TOC: Have to cut back, huh?
Johnathan: I don’t back down.

TOC: Commercial fishing has the highest fatality rate of any profession. Even for you guys, with your experience, that’s still a reality?
You have to really watch it ’cause you don’t get a lot of second chances. There’s not a lot of do-overs out there.

TOC: In the new season, there’s a scene where all you captains are standing around, talking about how not a lot of young guys are entering this line of work. But has the show attracted any crazy adventure-seekers?
Yeah, they come out there, and they don’t realize it’s gonna be minus 40, and you’re stuck on an island.
Andy: On the show, they hire a greenhorn, and then he just melts down. “I put my pant legs on one at a time—”
Johnathan: That guy goes, “I put my pants on just like they do.” Yeah, but your pants have been inside in the galley—
Andy: While these guys are working. Guys want to do it, but it’s also not that many boats. There’s only 70 boats that do it anymore.
Johnathan: Only 420 guys in the world that crab fish. Used to be about 1,200.
Andy: Used to be 240 boats and six guys per each crew…

Make the jump to read the rest

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One Response to Hillstrands Interviewed on season 5 of ‘Deadliest Catch’

  1. Heather Immediato says:

    I have been watching the show since the 1st episode sea-son 1. I LOVE the show and the Time Bandit is my favorite boat!!

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