‘Deadliest Catch’ Star Johnathan Hillstrand Played Pirate, Ambushed Crew of Northwestern

by John Jamison

Working a job as dangerous as Alaskan crab fishing is serious business. To offset that, one has to find ways of blowing off some steam. Jonathan Hillstrand, captain of the Time Bandit on “Deadliest Catch,” knows this better than most. He turned his crew into a marauding pirate force for a few minutes on the Season 17 premiere of the show.

His victim? Captain Sig Hansen of the Northwestern.

On Hillstrand’s command, the crew of the Time Bandit flew their Jolly Roger and brandished a handful of paintball guns.

“Let the games begin,” Hillstrand said. “Fire away.” Suddenly, the Time Bandit crew erupted into a barrage of gunfire. The paintballs peppered the windows and surface of the Northwestern, stunning Sig Hansen. “Oh my God,” he repeated, not knowing whether to open or close his window.

Cue the Cannons, Captain

If he thought that the paintballs were bad, he hadn’t seen anything yet. A member of the crew set to work on lighting a pallet full of fireworks. Smoke and sparks filled the sky above the Northwestern. “Welcome back, Hillstrand style,” the Time Bandit captain laughed while the explosives went off.

Finally, Sig Hansen surrendered. He waved a white flag out his window, begging Hillstrand to stop. “You’re dead, both of you,” Sig said of Hillstrand and fellow pirate vessel captain Jake Anderson of “Deadliest Catch.” “You’re so dead, Johnathan.”

The aftermath of the one-sided battle saw Northwestern bloodied and bruised by countless paintball impacts. “Thanks for the paint job,” Sig laughed over the radio.

“Love you guys. See you at the docks,” Hillstrand finished.

The battle was a brief yet hilarious moment that clearly lifted the spirits of everyone involved. That includes the victims. Taking part in a documentary-style show called “Deadliest Catch” demands the occasional silliness. After all, these guys truly are putting their lives on the line every time they go out. It doesn’t hurt to play pirate once in a while.

The Craziest Things ‘Deadliest Catch’ Star Sig Hansen Has Caught on the Bering Sea

In an exclusive interview with Outsider, Northwestern captain Sig Hansen talked about some of the craziest items he’s ever dredged up from the depths of the icy Bering Sea.

“I think we snagged somebody’s like workout bike. Somebody dumped one over the side [of a boat],” Hansen said.

But that’s nothing compared to the practical joke Captain Hillstrand of the Time Bandit played on Hansen and crew back in 2009. What won’t that rascal Hillstrand do? The pirate ambush is starting to make a lot of sense.

The Northwestern pulled up an old alligator skull thinking they stumbled upon a major biological discovery. Turns out, Hillstrand had put it in one of Northwestern’s crab pots.

“It was like a skull. It was a prank. Now, we’re talking saltwater here. My guys thought, “Yeah we found a new species of dinosaurs or something.’ It was hysterical,” Hansen told Outsider.