'Deadliest Catch': Jake Anderson on deck and in charge

jake-anderson-deadliest-catch.jpgAs fans saw in last Tuesday's episode of Discovery's "Deadliest Catch," deck boss Edgar Hansen didn't show up for opilio-crab season on the F/V Northwestern, leaving former greenhorn Jake Anderson, protege of Capt. Sig Hansen (older brother of Edgar), in charge of the deck.

The Bering Sea in January 2011 didn't exactly let Anderson ease into the position.

"I'll tell you this," he tells Zap2it. "It blew almost every day and night. I'm in charge of the deck. Edgar didn't show up this season. He was mentioning it, so the deck was left up to me. The first day, it blew 50 knots, and the rest is history from there."

The rough weather just kept on coming.

"We took a big wave over the bow," recalls Anderson. "It was blowing 60 knots. It flooded the whole deck, and it flooded the port side."

One of the deckhands got so drenched that he had to go change clothes, leaving the deck one man short when something unexpected happened to one of the huge crab pots.

"As he was changing," says Anderson, "a line popped out of the block. We put it back in the block, kept going, and we pulled [the pot] up. I hooked it up, with the picking hook, and then the bridle snapped and the pot went flying in the water.

"We pulled it up, pulled it on deck all cockeyed, smashed a few things around. We set it on deck, fixed it. That was the scariest.

"But if you watched it, you wouldn't even notice what happened. It all happened so fast and got taken care of. A normal person would see it and not even understand it, because it was snap-snap.

"Everybody is really a professional. It happened so fast, and it got taken care of the right way. Nobody even said anything. Edgar wasn't there to yell at everybody."

Asked if he missed the presence of Edgar Hansen, from whom he had taken his share of abuse, Anderson says, "I missed him, actually. Everything that I know is everything he does, that he taught me. So, a lot of times, I was out there yelling at everybody.

"Everything that I knew is everything that I learned from Edgar's way of doing things."

Among the other fishermen, Anderson is particularly close with Johnathan Hillstrand. He co-captains the F/V Time Bandit with brother Andy Hillstrand, and is also a close pal of Josh and Jake Harris, sons of the late Capt. Phil Harris of the F/V Cornelia Marie.

Anderson also suffered loss, with the disappearance of his father, Keith Anderson, during the 2010 opilio season, a mystery which has yet to be solved. Anderson says Hillstrand was one of the guys who helped him get through that time and the months afterward.

"I love John Hillstrand with all my heart," says Anderson. He always took care of me. I would do anything for him. John always called me, always made sure I was busy. 'What are you doing? You want to go out and do this ... You want to shoot fireworks? You want to go on a boat ride?'

"I'm there [on the boat], and I'm having just, I don't know if anyone could be having a more miserable time than I was that day.

"He gets on the Skype, like, 'Do your f***ing job! You stay there, you do your f***ing job, and then you go home!' Those are his words exactly. I'm like, 'Oh, my God, John, you're seriously yelling at me now? I'm not going anywhere. I don't think I could get a ride even if I wanted to go home.'"
Photo/Video credit: Discovery Channel