Maine fisherman on ‘Deadliest Catch’


PHOTO: Jonathan McDaniel (at right), a fisherman from Gorham, Maine, stands next to Time Bandit Capt. Jonathan Hillstrand last month in Alaska. McDaniel is a crew member on Hillstrand’s crab fishing boat while it is being filmed for Season 11 of the popular Discovery Channel television show ‘Deadliest Catch.’ Photo by Clint Pickarsky of Soldotna, Alaska.

Like many people, I am a fan of the show ‘Deadliest Catch,’ the long-running Discovery Channel television show about crab fishing boats in Alaska.

The combination of grueling working conditions, often horrible weather, stunning scenery and hauls that alternate between feast and famine produce a reality show that is far more mesmerizing than, say, The Voice or Real Housewives of Atlanta (where I am from). That’s just my personal opinion.

So I was disappointed last winter when I was unable to cover a talk at Maine Fishermen’s Forum by Keith Colburn, captain of the fishing vessel Wizard, one of a handful of boats featured on the show. The three-hour talk by Colburn, who is known among fans of the show for being superstitious and having a fiery temper, was one of the highlights of the annual event.

But just yesterday I found out that, as filming for Season 11 of the popular cable program has gotten under way, there is a Maine fisherman who is working as a deckhand on one of the featured boats.

Jonathan McDaniel of Gorham, a longtime fisherman with experience fishing crab in Alaska and lobster the Gulf of Maine, is working under Capt. Jonathan Hillstrand on the vessel Time Bandit. They are fishing for king crab for about a month, after which McDaniel is expected to make the 4,000-mile trip back to Maine.

The new season of Deadliest Catch won’t air until next spring, but for now you can get a few quick glimpses of McDaniel in this ABC News clip that aired this week on Nightline. He’s the big guy who yells “she’s hired!” when the ABC reporter, Ginger Zee, throws the hook from the rail to snag a buoy line (around 3:13).


ADDENDUM: Since this was posted, an observant commenter (see below) has pointed out that McDaniel is not the first fisherman from Maine to work as a deckhand on a ‘Deadliest Catch’ boat. Crosby Leveen is a Manchester, Maine, native who has worked several seasons on the Wizard.

I’m not sure if Leveen still is a legal resident of Maine. His Discovery Channel bio says he is “originally from Maine” and his underused Twitter account suggests he lives in Seattle.


Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.