Shuffling the deck on 'Deadliest Catch'

When the seventh season of Discovery's crab-fishing reality hit "Deadliest Catch" premieres on Tuesday, April 12, things could be a little different on the deck of the F/V Northwestern.

Capt. Sig Hansen is still there, but as the season begins, there's some doubt about whether his brother, deck boss Edgar, will be on board. But one thing's for certain: If a boat goes out on the Bering Sea, there will be wild weather.

"The first day," says deckhand Jake Anderson, "it blew 50 knots. It blew almost every day and every night, and the rest is history from there."

Fans of the show have watched Anderson evolve from a greenhorn to a deckhand thrilled to receive his own embroidered Northwestern jacket. Of course, he does have the inside track.

"I live about six or seven miles from Sig Hansen's house," says Anderson. "In the beginning, I thought it was going to be good, but now I just end up mowing his lawn and taking his garbage out.

"I stay close to him. If he needs anything, he just calls me, and I run around for him."

Since Hansen has only daughters, one could wonder if Anderson has become the unofficial Hansen son.

"Yeah, I am the unofficial son," he says. "Unofficial slave. They give you a good name like 'son,' but really underlying it is slave."

Anderson is working to get the education and licenses necessary to be a captain himself one day.

"I'm trying to be," he says. "Sig says, 'That boy's going to be running my boat one day,' which is a really good feeling. But you never know until you're sitting in that seat, and you have all the gear."

Meanwhile, over on the F/V Cornelia Marie, which tragically lost its skipper, Capt. Phil Harris, to complications from a stroke last year, Capt. Derrick Ray is in charge for king crab season. But Anderson is a bit cagey about the following opilio crab season.

"He did operate the Cornelia Marie for king crab," says Anderson, "but I don't know about opies. You might have to stay tuned."