On tonight’s (Tuesday, July19) episode of Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch,” Capt. Keith Colburn of the F/V Wizard blows his cool in dealing with a camera operator. In retrospect, he’s upset at himself for that — more or less.
“There’s a composure that needs to be maintained as a captain,” Colburn tells Zap2it. “I was thoroughly and utterly embarrassed at losing my composure.
“But, at the same time, you know what, I’m not. I’m not even close to being embarrassed. I am beside myself because, you know, I’ve had some of the best camera people on the planet on my boat. I mean, I can rattle off ten names, and they’re amazing, amazing camera people.
“This year, I drew a complete kid knucklehead. You know what, arrogance and ignorance are a very bad combination for anybody in the Bering Sea.”
As captain of a crab-fishing vessel in frigid, dangerous Alaskan waters, Colburn is tasked both with bringing in the crab and with the safety of his crew. And since he’s on “Deadliest Catch,” that includes the camera operators in his wheelhouse and on the Wizard’s deck.
Colburn had an issue with Brad Carper, who was filming down on deck. In a clip posted on TMZ, Carper phones Colburn in the wheelhouse at “exactly the wrong time,” says narrator Mike Rowe. Colburn then puts down the phone and charges off after Carper.
There’s a lot of shouting, including about who did or didn’t make pots of coffee. But Colburn says it actually was the culmination of a season’s worth of frustration over Carper, whom Colburn felt was not learning quickly enough and was becoming a dangerous “distraction” on deck, especially after a spate of deadly winter storms.
“Please don’t turn it into a pot of coffee,” says Colburn. “You know what, It was the final straw on the camel’s back.”
According to Colburn, there’s a lot viewers won’t see.
“I watched the footage, and it really irritates me, because you’re only seeing a snippet of the footage. You’re not seeing him getting in my face. You’re not seeing the other cameraman screaming, ‘Please shut up, please shut up,’ to him, as he’s engaging and engaging and engaging.
“What you do see, though, you see him look straight in the camera, and then re-engage and go get in my face again.
“And so, I’m disappointed that I lost my composure, but at the end of the day, I’m really happy that I managed to maintain my composure and not throw him into the bait chop. What he got was confined to quarters.”
Colburn is now starting to wonder if he wants to fish in front of the TV lens when king crab season starts up this fall.
“I love fishing,” he says. “I really enjoy my job. I really do. I just don’t know at this point if I have the energy to deal with having extra people on the boat anymore. It gets old and wears you down.
“It’s one more thing to think about. You’re already multitasking ten or 15 other things in the wheelhouse, trying to predict the weather, trying to predict what you’re going to do with your gear, trying to predict a thousand things.
“If you’ve got camera guys that want to ask you 20 questions in the middle of all that … I don’t know.”
Asked when he’ll have to make a decision on participating in the show, Colburn says, “I’m sure they’ll give me a call here pretty soon. I don’t know. I’m under contract for a couple more years. I’ve got a great relationship with Discovery. Discovery, by the way, is a phenomenal company, and they’re good folks.
“I do enjoy working with them. The relationship that’s been forged over the last five or six years. has been really, really cool, but the cool factor of being documented on TV has long since worn off, I’ll put it that way.”
In the meantime, Colburn has to deal with that pesky snippet of film.
“Apparently they love this footage of me grabbing the guy so much,” he says, “that they’re going to show it on ‘After the Catch,’ they’re going to show it behind the scenes. You’re going to see it super slow-mo, wide angle.”
Colburn says that he, producer Travis Trips and Carper all had a chat after the incident.
“I apologized,” says Colburn, “and we got through the season. But I can guarantee you, if they ever put a guy like that on my boat again, it ain’t gonna fly. It will not fly. They’ve got to be able to learn quick; they’ve got to be focused; they have to be able to do their job and not get in our way.”