Deadliest Catch Captain Sig Hansen had to take on a whole new mindset to get the fleet through the coronavirus pandemic, even if that meant putting his "pride aside" to band together with the captains who are typically sailing the Bering Sea as his competition. Ahead of the season premiere of Deadliest Catch Tuesday, April 20 on Discovery (streaming now on discovery+), the Northwestern captain opened up about a season that was unlike any other.
"It was like someone hits you with a left hook and puts your back to the wall," he told PopCulture of heading up to Dutch Harbor to start the crabbing season without a summer crab survey as well as much of the fleet. "It's one of the toughest starts I've ever seen because it was the unknown." Without the survey to tell the captains where to look for crab, they were "completely in the dark," and the looming 5-million-pound fall season quota forced the captains to put aside their rivalries to share information and work together to bring home the crab.
"I had to put my pride aside," Hansen admitted. "We had to look at the fleet as a big picture." Just agreeing to share information wasn't enough, especially in the cutthroat environment of Bering Sea fishing. "How are you going to get that information," Hansen asked, "because all of us are born liars while fishing." When it comes to the hardest of his fellow captains to trust, Hansen answered, "[Keith Colburn] right out of the gate." The captain continued, "He's clever. But one thing I'll tell you, I know all sides of him, and when he's wearing his fisherman hat on, I can read through his BS better than anyone."
Bringing back former Time Bandit Captain Jonathan Hillstrand from retirement was another way to try and fill the gaps caused by COVID. "Jon really has it in his head that he's done, but Jon has tunnel vision so when he says he's gonna do something he does it," Hansen said of bringing back his former colleague. "It was kind of fun to see him out there, the more the merrier."
As for if Hansen would consider this kind of camaraderie outside of a COVID season? "No!" he answered firmly. "It's more fun on your own. I can take failure, that's what makes it fun. ...It's the feeling you only get when you do it yourself." Deadliest Catch returns for a brand new season Tuesday, April 20 at 8 p.m. ET on Discovery and is streaming now on discovery+.