Captain Johnathan Hillstrand has pulled some hilarious pranks over the years on Deadliest Catch. But his favorite was when he tricked Phil Harris into thinking he was reeling in a three-ton crab haul.
Life on the Bering Sea can be brutal for the teams battling it out on the Discovery Channel reality show. But in between fighting for their lives and cashing in on crabs, life can also get a little boring. Though, anyone riding along with Hillstrand will tell you that he always manages to keep things interesting.
Hillstrand is the cast’s practical joker, and he’s thought up some ingenious tricks for the cameras. So in a Johnathan Hillstrand Ask Me Anything subreddit, one fan asked him which one of his pranks was his proudest moment. And the answer was easy for the captain.
“The truck on Phil’s boat,” he replied. “We tied a truck to his buoy line. He thought it was a crab pot, but he pulled up a truck!”
Discovery Channel loved the epic stunt so much that it made its YouTube page under “Best Pranks.” You can watch it below.
In it, the guys catch the pickup and struggle to pull it in, thinking it’s just a regular load of crab. But after breaking a few ropes and using all their might to get the haul aboard, they see an F250 rise out of the abyss.
“That’s a car?” a shocked Phil asked his crew. “Wow, man, I never caught a truck before.”
To make sure that he got his due credit, Hillstrand penned a “TB” on the side of the truck to signify that it came from his boat, the Time Bandit.
“That is a good one,” Phil laughed when he realized he’d been duped. “… I gotta give him an A for that one.”
‘Deadliest Catch’ Prankster Johnathan Hillstrand Once Pulled a Pirate Attack on the Northwestern
While the F250 stunt was Hillstrands most cherished moment, some fans think his pirate attack on the Northwestern was one of his better pranks.
During the 2021 crab season, the captain met up with Sig’s Northwestern and went full-on pirate on the boat.
In a clip, Discovery captured Hillstrand pulling up beside Sig’s crew and giving him a warm welcome on the PA.
“We’re back, Sig, woohoo! Let the games begin.”
“Is that John?” Sig asked, clearly aware that a prank would ensure.
All of a sudden the crew of the Time Bandit pulls on masks and pepper the Northwester with paintballs. But they don’t stop there, they also let off an impressive display of fireworks—all aimed at Sig’s ship.
“Oh my god,” Sig kept repeating before finally gathering his thoughts and waving a white flag out his window. “I surrender,” he yelled.
“You’re dead, both of you,” Sig screamed in retaliation as Hillstrand floated away and shot off another round of celebratory fireworks. “You’re so dead, Johnathan.”
“Love you guys. See you at the docks,” Hillstrand replied.