In May of 2012, deckhand Jake Anderson, until recently part of the crew of the crab-boat F/V Northwestern, featured on Discovery’s Tuesday reality hit “Deadliest Catch,” married sweetheart Jenna Patterson in a ceremony officiated by Northwestern Capt. Sig Hansen.
Ever since Anderson came on the Northwestern years ago as a fresh-faced greenhorn, he’s looked up to Hansen as a mentor. After his own father’s disappearance in 2010 — Keith Anderson’s remains were found in 2012 — Hansen also became like a surrogate father to Anderson.
Early in 2013, Anderson left the Northwestern to pursue his ambition to be a crab-boat captain by working aboard the F/V Kiska Sea, owned by Aleutian Spray Fisheries. But that doesn’t mean he’s cut ties with his old skipper.
In the past, Anderson has been known to do chores around the Hansen home near Seattle, Wash., and not much has changed. Only now, instead of mowing lawns, he’s providing chauffeur service.
“The other day,” Anderson tells Zap2it, “I went over to his house as the designated driver. I had to drive him home when he was at the bar. ‘You’ve got to come pick me up.’ ‘Damn, I just got off the boat.’ ‘Oh, good, that means you’re free to come pick me up and take me home.’
“He knows that I love him and will do anything for him. So, as long as he asks, he knows the answer is most likely going to be yes.”
But now that Anderson is a married man, his wife is eager to start a family — and Anderson’s biological clock is also ticking.
“The thing is,” he says, “if I had a kid now, I’d be 50 by the time the kid graduates.”
Told he’d better stop wasting time, Anderson laughs.
“That’s what I’m thinking. Pretty soon you’re going to see something on the Internet or somewhere about my wife being pregnant. I’m not doubting it.”
While he’s loving married life, there are challenges to keeping a relationship alive in between fishing seasons.
“What little I’ve got to enjoy [of being married],” Anderson says, “it’s been a great experience. She’s had a hard time dealing with me, moving around on other boats. Now, it’s really starting to hit me that maybe my goals aren’t our goals, so I’m really looking at my future and our future. I might take red crab off; I might go and work on tug boats; I might go back to the Northwestern.
“I don’t know anymore, and it’s because I’m actually thinking for two people instead of one.”
Anderson is also close friends with Josh and Jake Harris, the two sons of Capt. Phil Harris of the F/V Cornelia Marie, who passed away from complications of a stroke in early 2010. There was even a time that Hansen and the elder Harris switched Jakes for a while at sea (t was shot before Harris’ death in late 2009 and aired afterward in 2010).
While Josh, the older son, was able to buy his father’s boat and plans to put out after crab this fall, younger son Jake has been battling substance-abuse issues.
“I talked to him when I was in the wheelhouse on the Kiska Sea,” says Anderson. “He seemed to be doing all right, but you never know. I can’t tell. I can never tell anymore. A person’s going to tell you that they’re doing good no matter what.
“Maybe they’re honest, but most of the time, when somebody’s struggling, they’re not going to tell you.”
Anderson is used to that from dealing with Hansen, who’s not big on sharing.
“Sig lets his actions speak louder than his words,” Anderson says. “He’s probably the only skipper you can actually tell to ‘F*** off,’ and get away with it, because he doesn’t care what somebody says. He just cares about what you’re doing, and what he’s doing, and what’s being done as a whole.
“See, that’s the problem with being so lucky and fishing with such great people like Sig Hansen, Edgar Hansen, Johnathan Hillstrand, Aleutian Spray Fisheries and [Kiska Sea] Capt. Mike Wilson … you get to fish with the best, but when you put those boots on, they are huge, and you’ve got to fill them.”