Capt. Sig Hansen is where we don’t often see him — on land. Speaking from his Seattle home, the captain of the Northwestern, one of the ships featured on Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch (Tuesdays), Hansen, 55, talks about the challenges of crab fishing during the pandemic.
“COVID made it much more of a struggle for our industry. It was a shot in the dark because we had no formula for how to combat COVID, even how to get out there and try to fish,” he says of the filming that began last fall.
And so Hansen made a big deal about all of the fishermen working together, though he acknowledges “the guys in my generation are always for ourselves and teamwork did not always pay off.” He lets loose with that raspy laugh because as soon as he found a trove of huge king crab, he went quiet on the radio, a moment he later calls “selective hearing.” Hansen did, however, wind up sharing his location with his colleagues/competitors. And with us, he shares answers to “5 Questions”:
1. If you were not a fisherman, what would you have done?
Now that I am such an old man, and a new grandfather again, had you asked me that question a few years ago, I would have said something with risk and reward, like a racecar driver. I come to find out, Phil Harris and I, Jonathan (Hillstrand), and some of the guys, we were in Charlotte, North Carolina, and got to see the NASCAR Coca-Cola and got to sit in one of the cars. And I was claustrophobic just sitting in the car! I didn’t realize how claustrophobic I was. Now it would be fun to do something on television because number one, I am not risking my life. Number two, I am on land. And number three, it would be fun because you are learning something different. You know who I am jealous of? I am jealous of Steve Harvey and I don’t get jealous of anybody. I just think it is so interesting how these guys make it work. And to me, it looks like fun on the job. My job is super fun when we’re doing well. When we are not doing well, you just want to throw in the towel.
2. If you were on Jeopardy!, what three categories (made up is fine) would you run
Because of the environment and because I have changed in maturity and age, I would do something about environment and sustainability. And, just to drive my wife crazy, I would do something about comedy because she likes to watch dramas and thrillers and I like comedies. And automobilia because I am a guy.
3. What do you always have in the fridge or cooler on the ship?
There’s always ground beef because you can do so much with that. So much milk, and that boxed milk because it doesn’t go bad. And there’s always bait in our freezer. And we never leave the dock without an abundance of coffee.
4. What three shows did you love as a kid?
Hogan’s Heroes because it brings me back. If I am reminiscing, I will watch stuff like that. The Flintstones and also, of course, you got to have The Brady Bunch and Gilligan’s Island.
5. What don’t we know about the filming of Deadliest Catch?
I don’t think a lot of people realize the risk a lot of the cameramen put themselves in. And they don’t know the true bonds between the fishermen, the characters, I guess you would call them. The relationships are really there — some are deeper than perceived.