Deadliest Catch

Jonathan Hillstrand’s Deadliest Catch Return Caught Sig Hansen Completely Off Guard

Jonathan Hillstrand's Deadliest Catch Return Caught Sig Hansen Completely Off Guard

Jonathan Hillstrand from Deadliest Catch

In 2005, “Deadliest Catch” premiered and showed viewers that crab fishing is indeed a high-paying career path, and an incredibly dangerous one at that. Fishermen are out on treacherous seas for weeks at a time with constant harsh waters that don’t rise above freezing cold temperatures, and since the crew doesn’t return to land for quite some time, there’s no hiding from the extreme levels of chaos.

While there certainly are terrifying moments on “Deadliest Catch,” fans are interested in much more than that. As with any successful reality television series, there’s just enough mayhem and drama to keep audiences invested, many of them for the show’s entire almost twenty-year span. Many of the captains and crew members have been on the show for multiple seasons, if not all of them. This is true for captains Sig Hansen and Jonathan Hillstrand, who have both been on the show from Season 1 and Season 2, respectively (via IMDb).

Even before their time on the Discovery reality series, though, these two were fully immersed in the world of king crab fishing, and after a 37-year fishing career, Hillstrand announced his retirement after Season 13 of “Deadliest Catch.” Retirement isn’t for everyone, however, and it wasn’t long before Hillstrand reappeared on the series, surprising viewers, crew, and his fellow captains, including Hansen.

Hansen likes to watch the show to catch up on what he’s missed

Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch

After a lengthy and successful crab fishing career, Jonathan Hillstrand retired from life at sea and from Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” after Season 13. However, he returned just a few years later for Season 16 of the show. This surprised “Deadliest Catch” captain Sig Hansen, who enjoys watching the show to catch up on anything he missed during the fishing season.

In an interview with Vegas Film Critic Jeffery K. Howard, Hansen said, “You know, there’s a lot of ups and downs and — you know also, I didn’t even realize that Johnathan Hillstrand, he’s back, he’s with Jake on the Saga, which I wasn’t aware of. Scott Campbell Seabrooke, he’s back on, what’s the name of that boat, Seabrooke. And so, you know, a lot of interesting things happened, and a lot of surprises for me even, so you know that’s why I like to watch the show honestly because I get to kind of catch up on what’s going on around me.”

When Hillstrand came back to the show, Discovery originally asked him to join the crew of Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski, but ultimately Hillstrand went to work on the Seabrooke with Captain Jake Anderson. In an interview with Stuff, Hillstrand mentions that it wasn’t a difficult decision, “you couldn’t give me enough money to go out with Wild Bill, so I went out with Jake Anderson.” The interview goes on to discuss how Hillstrand adapted to being a second captain on Anderson’s boat, something he’d never done in his entire career, and while there have been some nightmarish changes made on “Deadliest Catch,” the partnership between Hillstrand and Anderson isn’t one of them.

Keith Colburn attends a Sirius event

When it’s at its best, “Deadliest Catch” makes fans rally behind the crew members who occupy the various crab fishing boats. After all, they spend months embarking on perilous journeys through icy cold waters, navigating extreme weather conditions, and dealing with all manner of hardships in the pursuit of their goals. There have been many sad moments surrounding “Deadliest Catch” that highlight the dangers of the job, and every crew member deserves some respect for their efforts.

Of course, “Deadliest Catch” is still entertainment at the end of the day, and viewers enjoy certain personalities more than others. The reality series’ fans aren’t shy about expressing their negative opinions either, and no crew member is off-limits. For example, some of the show’s most passionate fans have brutal things to say about Keith Colburn, and he’s arguably the poster boy of the entire series.

As history has shown, popular crew members can find themselves on the receiving end of criticism from “Deadliest Catch” fans. However, there was one particular boat captain who drew more ire than anyone else.

Deadliest Catch fans had some issues with Elliot Neese

Elliot Neese on Deadliest Catch

Elliot Neese is arguably the most controversial figure to ever appear on “Deadliest Catch.” The former captain has been embroiled in legal drama since his time on the series came to end in 2015 (per IMDb). Of course, he also had a tendency to rub viewers the wrong way whenever he showed up in episodes of the show. Neese was prone to getting into altercations with his co-stars, and his drama didn’t resonate with viewers who just wanted to sit back and watch people go crab fishing.

Some “Deadliest Catch” fans flocked to Reddit and shared their views on Neese, and the majority of the comments were negative toward the controversial figure. “He has zero redeeming qualities. I hate to say this but his kids are probably better off without him around,” u/sidepocket wrote, referring to some of Neese’s personal troubles that were mentioned during his tenure on the show.

This sentiment was echoed by u/DarkestofFlames, who claimed that Neese made the series unwatchable for them at times. “I fast forward through most of the parts he is on. I wish they’d let Freddie just kick his a**.”

Other fans were critical of the former crew member for being immature, believing that he set a poor example as a captain. “He needs to be the bigger man, a leader, and Eliott ain’t that,” u/caffeineme added.

Elliot Neese is a controversial figure

Elliot Neese on Deadliest Catch

Life hasn’t been smooth sailing for Elliot Neese since he parted ways with the Discovery series that made him a household name. The former “Deadliest Catch” captain has been open about his substance abuse issues, which he was still dealing with during his time on the show. However, he has made significant efforts to get clean since then, which he discussed in an Instagram post back in 2017.

Neese’s drug-related issues didn’t stop there, though. According to, the crab boat captain pled guilty to dealing narcotics with intent to distribute last year. The outcome of the case could result in Neese spending up to 40 years in prison, but there have been no more publicized developments pertaining to the situation as of this writing.

Outside of scandals and legal drama, the seaboat captain continues to do what he does best, as evidenced by some of his boat-related posts on Twitter.


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