‘Deadliest Catch’: Here’s What Happened to Andy Hillstrand, Former Co-Captain on Show

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

“Deadliest Catch” may be about the crabbing industry and the Bering Sea. But the true stars of the show are its captains and their camaraderie. For over a decade, Andy Hillstrand was one of the faces of the reality show. But these days, Hillstrand is no longer a part of “Deadliest Catch” leaving some fans wondering where he went and whether he might return.

What happened to Hillstrand? Well, according to The Cinemaholic, Hillstrand is enjoying a retirement away from fame, cameras, and the frigid cold. He’s far away from Alaska these days, living in Indiana with his family.

Hillstrand first appeared on people’s television screens during Season Two of “Deadliest Catch” with his brother Johnathan. Both served as co-captains for the FV Time Bandit. They appeared on the show for several seasons, braving the waters of the Bering Sea.

Andy Hillstrand comes from a long line of fishermen. The FV Time Bandit is a family-owned vessel. For much of the series, Hillstrand commanded the helm as its driving force. But he eventually let his brother take the helm while he focused on other duties like deck sorting counting their haul. Andy later became the main captain once more during the Opilio Crab season.

But he hasn’t been on the show since Season 13. During that season, Jonathan announced he was retiring for the industry. But Andy’s the one to disappear from the show for good. During Season 14, both Hillstrand brothers and the Time Bandit were absent. They remained absent until Johnathan made his return in Season 16. Later in Season 17, the Time Bandit returned in full.

But Andy hasn’t been seen since. Many fans would like to know what happened to the captain.

‘Deadliest Catch’ Parts Ways with Andy Hillstrand

So what happened to Andy Hillstrand? Well, apparently Hillstrand and producers had a falling out. Both Hillstrand brothers worked on a spin-off special called “Hillstranded” together. But Andy had disagreements with producers on the show. It made him feel disinterested in continuing his role.

In an interview with EW, Hillstrand said, “It was a lot about our rights to do our own brand. There was a lot of misunderstanding. We thought Discovery had everything they needed, but then they came back and said they needed pickup shots, so our schedule was pretty much screwed.”

He discussed butting heads with producers during this time.

“It got to the point in our relationship where something had to change, and we just said enough’s enough. So we butted heads for a while.”

Instead, Hillstrand decided to stay on for two more seasons of the show. But he took the opportunity to leave when his brother did. Hillstrand said he felt stressed out by being on TV and the labor of the job. These days he owns his own 17-acre horse ranch. He gives horseback riding lessons and also runs Hillstrand Fireworks as well.