‘Deadliest Catch: Bloodline’: How Josh Harris’ Spinoff Went From a Joke to an Entire Show

by Taylor Cunningham

Josh Harris’ Deadliest Catch spinoff, Deadliest Catch: Bloodline, is celebrating three years of success with ratings that nearly rival the namesake series. And interestingly, the concept of the show started as a joke.

In the episodes, Josh and his Cornelia Marie co-captain Casey McManus trade in the freezing waters of the Bering Sea for the tropical paradise of the South Pacific. With the help of a local fisherman named Jeff Silva, the guys cruise around Hawaii’s Kona Coast in search of ahi tuna, marlin, mahi-mahi, and barracuda.

The concept is Josh’s way of honoring his father, Phil Harris, who spent five years as a fan-favorite Deadliest Catch captain. Phil was a career and hobby fisherman from a young age. And at some point in his life, he also explored the Kona Coast. However, Josh didn’t know about that until he stumbled upon some maps he created after Phil’s passing.

After finding the maps, Josh Harris contemplated the concept of following his father’s decades-old course. But because the idea seemed so far-fetched compared to Deadliest Catch, even he couldn’t help but laugh at the prospect. However, after mulling it over, he realized that heading to Hawai’i wasn’t such a crazy idea after all.

“I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go find these spots out here and check it out, you know, it’s warm too!'” he told Sig Hansen during an interview. “We were joking and then a couple days later I was on a plane, and we started to go check it out. And I didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into or what we were going to find.”

The ‘Deadliest Catch: Bloodline’ Star Hopes to ‘Carry on the Old Man’s Torch’

Josh admitted that once he and his co-captain started following the maps, they found “some really cool stuff.” And he added that he figured out that he was an awful fisherman, at least when it came to anything other than crabs. So, watching him learn that craft makes the series even more interesting.

“My dad was a legend on the Bering Sea,” Josh said in a Bloodline promo. “When he died, he left me a mystery. If I can carry on the old man’s torch, it’ll be worth it.”

Phil Harris joined Deadliest Catch on the fifth episode of its freshman year. And he quickly become one of the most beloved stars on the show. But throughout the years on screen, he suffered from multiple health issues. And in 2010, a sudden stroke took his life.

The stroke happened while he was filming Season 6, Episode 11. That day, the crew of the Cornelia Maria grew concerned after Phil didn’t answer repeated phone calls. When they went to check on him, they found Phil on the floor saying the entire left side of his body was numb. Phil Harris later died in the hospital from related complications.