‘Deadliest Catch’: Here’s Why James Gallagher Got Into Crabbing

by Taylor Cunningham

Sometimes it’s hard to understand why the cast of Deadliest Catch chose to dedicate their time to a harrowing life on the Bering Sea. All the stars all have their own unique stories behind their career choices, though. But when it comes to James Gallagher, there was no major event or family tradition that led him to crabbing. Ending up in the profession simply came down to “luck.”

In an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit, the long-running star explained how he ended up being the head engineer of the Lady Alaska. And apparently, it was a natural progression.

Gallagher watched Deadliest Catch as a kid, which first planted the seed. And his dad grew up in Alaksa and liked taking Gallagher fishing on the Kenai River. That, of course, forged his love for the craft.

James Gallagher also graduated from high school in Soldotna, Alaska. And when he was a young man, he said he just “hung out for a couple years” before even getting into the industry. But eventually, he reconnected with his childhood passion and started working as a salmon fisher in Bristol Bay, one of the country’s most salmon rich spots.

Bristol Bay also happens to be in the Bering Sea—close to all the crabbing action. And as he made a name for himself in the industry, “one job led to another” and he ended up working with Captain Scott Campbell Jr. on the Seabrook.

James Gallagher Began His ‘Deadliest Catch’ Career on Captain Scott Campbell Jr.’s Boat

With Junior, Gallagher worked his way through the ranks from the very bottom. In another Reddit thread, he explained that he started as a Greenhorn—and he was “the youngest guy on the boat as well as the least experienced” person onboard. But he learned every position there was, such as Stackman, rail, and hyrdos. He also tried his hand at being the crew’s cook. And went on to be the Seabrook’s junior engineer.

Obviously, the job with Junior ended up being Gallagher’s gateway to a major promotion. Gallagher eventually moved on to be the head engineer on Peter Liske’s Lady Alaska. And while he was working in the background of the series for years, he finally become a face of Deadliest Catch in 2020. Now, he’s a recurring staple on the series who can hold his own against the other crabbing legends.

As he added, landing the job took “a lot of luck, hard work, and being in the right place at the right time.”