After spending so many hours on the Bering Sea together, the stars of Deadliest Catch have become a family. So, when they lost fellow fisherman Nick McGlashan, it felt like losing a brother. Back in December 2020, the Alaskan crabber died from an overdose of methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl. Since then fellow fishermen Keith Colburn has had time to reflect on how the loss has affected his job.
Colburn has been the captain of the Wizard since 1990, and throughout his three decades on the Bering Sea, he’s lost a lot of friends. Whether on the water or on the land, these fishermen have dealt with treacherous battles. Because of that, the number of ships on the water has decreased dramatically throughout Colburn’s career.
“It’s always difficult to lose somebody out there,” Colburn told TV Show Ace. “Our fraternity of 200 boats is now about 60 boats. And then on [Deadliest] Catch, six or seven boats, we spent a lot more time together to get to know a lot of the crew that we normally wouldn’t know.”
He continued, “Nick having been a mainstay with [Wild] Bill for so long was…I mean, [he was] part of that boat and part of Bill. Nick was just a great guy, a really talented fisherman, engineer, just all around incredible kid. And it’s so unfortunate that I’ve lost a lot of friends in the Bering Sea.”
McGlashan spent much of his time on the Summer Bay with captain “Wild” Bill Wichowski. The 33-year-old rose through the ranks and became deck boss before his untimely death.
‘Deadliest Catch’ Stars Learn of McGlashan’s Death
As hard as McGlashan’s death was for Colburn, it was even more painful for Wichowski who made the fisherman a part of his crew on every fishing vessel he operated. Wichowski trusted Colburn and formed an irreplaceable bond with him. So, when he found out about the Deadliest Catch star’s overdose, he had trouble processing the news. Just moments before, the captain was preparing to get on his flight to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
Not usually one to show emotion, the moment he received that devastating phone call, his eyes welled up with tears.
“Bill, you know, treated him as family,” fellow Deadliest Catch star Sig Hansen said. “I couldn’t imagine what he’s going through right now.”
The news broke just 36 hours before the winter crabbing season started. And without his righthand man, Wichowski likely wouldn’t have nearly as successful a season – if he decided to go out on the water at all. Hansen, understanding the emotional toll that the fellow captain might be facing, claimed that his status on the Bering Sea was questionable at best.
“I don’t know the status and where Bill’s head’s at,” Hansen admitted.