On Tuesday (April 13) night’s season-six opener of Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch,” fans once again saw the late Capt. Phil Harris (most of the season was filmed before his stroke and subsequent death in early February) dealing with the endless conflict between his two sons, Jake and Josh, both deckhands on his Bering Sea crab-fishing vessel, the Cornelia Marie.
Over on the F/V Northwestern, Capt. Sig Hansen was dealing with the overconfidence and ambition of his youngest deckhand, Jake Anderson.
So the captains decided to expand both Jakes’ horizons (and give Harris a break from the arguing) and do a temporary deckhand switch.
Says Hansen to Zap2it, “Look, the truth is, Phil and I were close enough to where he trusted me with his own boy. And we had issues with our Jakes, so we swapped them.
“We talked about this for well over a year in passing. He’d be like, ‘The kid’s driving me nuts.’ I’d be, ‘Ours is getting a little cocky. We love him to death, but he was starting to get a little …’ So we swapped them.
“After doing that, for me, it showed, looking back, especially after [Phil’s] gone, that he trusted me that much. He’d say that all the time, ‘I trust you. Take him, beat him.’
“At the end of the day, I won’t say how it all ended obviously, because that’s for the show. I’m sure they’re going to play all that, but that’s a lot.”
Apparently, the two Jakes were already pals. Says Hanson, “Our Jake is very good friends with [Jake Harris]. I’m tellin’ ya, those guys are calling each other all the time.”
Capts. Hansen and Harris were also friends, and Hansen has offered his support and advice to the Harris boys, especially Jake.
“I told Jake,” he says, “the last time I saw him, ‘Look man, you are now, like it or not, a reflection of your dad and your family.’ My advice to him was, ‘You’re going to have to dig down, suck it up and pick a path that’s going to do you right. Every time you make a mistake, it’s a negative reflection on your legacy, on your father’s legacy.’ He just looked at me and goes, ‘OK.’
“[I also said] ‘Then you do positive things, and you’re dad’s looking at you now.’ The guy starts crying a little bit. I think he gets it. It’s hard to get that when you’re surrounded by a bunch of girls and you’re the life of the party. You know what I mean. I understand that.
“I couldn’t imagine having this kind of attention at that age. If I was in his shoes — I couldn’t imagine it.”
As for Josh Harris, Hansen says, “At the [memorial] service, he was the guy that stood at the podium, spoke directly to the people. He manned up; he did. Jake is probably going to be the more natural fit to ever semi-run the boat, if it ever comes to that. He wants to be the fisherman. Josh, he wants it, but he’s looking at other things, too.
“Jake’s the guy that really has to man up. Josh has already done it, in my opinion. He did. Josh is really something else. They’re both yahoos, but that’s what they show you.”
‘Deadliest Catch’: Producer Thom Beers talks life after Phil Harris
Photo credit: Discovery