Sometimes, there’s no place like home.
After a disappointing season on the F/V Kiska Sea, deckhand and aspiring skipper Jake Anderson has returned to fish for Bering Sea king crab on the F/V Northwestern, as chronicled on Discovery’s Tuesday reality hit “Deadliest Catch.”
“I wanted to go back home,” Anderson tells Zap2it
, “and play with the crane and argue with Matt Bradley and see my uncle Nick and Norman and Sig and Edgar. I toned it down, but I still have the dream. The goal is still the same, to make it into the wheelhouse.
“There were a lot of job offers, people don’t know. I just wanted to go home, settle down, take the hit, whatever it was. Because I sure do love that boat.”
When viewers first met Anderson as a Northwestern greenhorn
, he was a baby-faced kid, making a living on the sea after an injury derailed his career as a professional skateboarder — and after he had pulled himself out of homelessness and substance abuse.
In the years since, cameras have followed as Anderson dealt with the premature death of his sister, and with his father’s 2010 disappearance and the finding of his body
two years later.
During blue-crab season in late 2012, Anderson’s temper got the best of him, and he took a swing
at fellow deckhand Bradley (and he says, despite that, they’re still close friends). That got him in trouble with the blue-crab skipper, Edgar Hansen, and with Edgar’s older brother, regular Capt. Sig Hansen, Anderson’s mentor and father figure.
So when a job offer came that promised he would get to learn hands-on how to skipper a boat and eventually do it, Anderson took it and went to the Kiska Sea. But, the promised wheelhouse instruction didn’t materialize, and Anderson took merciless ribbing on the deck.
“After all the conversations,” Anderson says, “my wife and I had with the owner and the skipper, I never moved forward. [The captain] wasn’t willing to give up the helm, and he wasn’t willing to put me in position as an engineer, because I couldn’t make captain if I didn’t know the engineering of the boat.
“I got really frustrated. Most people would have quit right away. Instead, I finished my obligation, because once I signed a contract, I remained loyal to that.”
Even though the Northwestern crew was glad to have the prodigal son back, that doesn’t mean that Sig Hansen was going to suddenly go soft on him.
“We love him, that’s for sure,” Hansen says. “Ask him how his patience is. He doesn’t have a lot of patience. Ask him if he should run a boat because he’s entitled, because he’s spent eight years up there.
“He’ll be fine. He has to be patient. If he sticks around for a while, I think hopefully he’ll have a surprise coming. You didn’t hear that from me, and I didn’t say it, but I’m just sayin’.”
Asked how he keeps on an even keel, Anderson says, “I’m a religious guy. I believe in God, and that’s always helped to get me through. I keep following my heart and knowing that everything that happens is for a reason, and I keep plugging away.
“It’s pretty tough, especially being on television, with people having their own perspective of what they think you are and what they think you do and what you’re capable of. Especially when people think I’m entitled to a wheelhouse — that really bothers me.
“I’m just trying to learn what I can. If I can’t get information up in the wheelhouse, from a captain, I go out and pay for it myself (and get a USCG Mate’s License
But, Anderson hasn’t felt comfortable discussing his faith on the show.
“It’s an issue for us Americans to talk about it,” he says. “What people don’t know is I was an avid skateboarder, and I made a living at it, and I got hurt and ended up on the street by choice, doing drugs and drinking a lot.
“Getting me out of that … I had to rely on that. But I don’t like sharing it, because I don’t want to be chastised for my beliefs. It’s weird. I’m so afraid of it. That’s how I’ve gotten to where I am, I believe, is my faith in God.
“There’s nothing I’ve ever been denied that I’ve asked for, but it is a shame. I think it’s just growing up in schools — you’re not allowed to pray; you’re not allowed to talk about God or say the word God.”
“We’re actually trying for a kid right now,” Anderson says. “[I want] definitely a boy. A girl would be nice, too, but I definitely don’t want to deal with a girl in her teenage years.
“But Sig seems to do all right with his daughters. Both of them have done really well. He’s got them through their teenage years, and he still has a full head of hair.”
Theoretically, Hansen could have wound up with Anderson as a son-in-law.
“Yeah, I know,” Hansen says. “Why does the word ‘nightmare’ pop into my head? He would have been better as a son. Then you’d have a better reason to smack him around a little bit.”
“Deadliest Catch” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery.