Discovery Channel often sheds light on unconventional careers that are poorly portrayed in the mainstream media. One of those shows is “Deadliest Catch,” which gives audiences a glimpse into the lives of crab fishermen in the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska. Jonathan Hillstrand is the celebrated captain of the F/V Time Bandit, which featured heavily on the show for its first 14 seasons. However, he left the show with little explanation for the filming of the 15e season. Jonathan is a husband and father known for his love of jokes and a light-hearted personality when the fishing boat is not at sea.
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Early life and family
Jonathan Hillstrand was born on August 5, 1962 in Alaska, USA to John Hillstrand, Senior. Jonathan is the second oldest of five children, his older brother David works on Alaska’s North Slope and one of his younger brothers, Michael, is based in Georgia where he works as a medical professional. His two other brothers, Andy and Neal, worked with him in fishing. While we don’t know the name of his birth mother—John Senior’s first wife—his stepmother Nancy Hillstrand is a positive force in his life. Nancy owns the seafood distribution family business and serves as the glue that holds the family together.
Jonathan also has a stepbrother, Lincoln Brewster, who is involved in the Christian music industry.
As a third generation fisherman, it is not surprising that Jonathan had his first experience on a boat when he was only three years old. This was the beginning of a lifelong passion, and he was independent fishing at the age of seven. Jonathan went to school like any other child, but he knew from the start that his career would not follow an academic path.
Although Jonathan completed his high school education, he immediately entered the commercial fishing industry after applying for and obtaining all the necessary permits as a teenager.
Most of what Jonathan knows about seafaring and fishing was taught to him by his father, John Sr.
Jonathan didn’t initially start his career in the family’s crab fishery, but spent some eight years fishing for lobster off the New England coast. The esteemed family fishing vessel was designed and built by Jonathan’s father in 1991 and is still in use today.
In order to extend the crab seasons, many fishing vessels in Alaska started hunting for different crabs depending on the seasons and conditions. However, this can be very stressful for the crew as the boats have to be off land for months at a time, minimizing the time that can be spent outside of work, and thus with the family.
The Hillstrand family has figured out how to make the most of both the changing seasons and the crew they have. During During the King Crab season, Jonathan oversees the Time Bandit, while his brother Andy is the captain of the boat during the Opilio season. However, Neal is the only engineer on the boat and therefore works during both fishing seasons.
When not at sea, there is a whole plethora of family businesses under the franchise name “Time Bandit” that need to be maintained. The family owns Time Bandit Fireworks, Time Bandit Gear Store, Time Bandit Entertainment, Time Bandit Productions and Time Bandit Spirits – including their own brand of vodka and a Bloody Mary mix.
Only in Alaska 🙂 “You can take the kid out of Alaska, but you can’t take Alaska out of the kid!” Grandma Jo pic.twitter.com/q4XRpi8eqg
— Johnathan Hillstrand (@captjohnathan) July 20, 2020
their entertainment company features a mobile escape room package and offers customized entertainment for weddings, parties and more.
Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catchpremiered on August 12, 2005, it documents the high-risk life of crab fishermen in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska. The frigid and erratic weather and sea pattern pose a great risk to the fishermen on their vessels, as they are often far out at sea and hours away from help.
The show documents the drama and lives of the boat crews and their captains, and unlike other Discovery Channel shows that have been criticized for their simulated drama and suspense, the events on “Deadliest Catch” are all too real.
Occasionally, the producers have been known to reapply footage to create a larger impression of the storms at sea, but these allegations are rare.
The Time Bandit is a somewhat unique ship on the Bering Sea, as it has been custom equipped by the Hillstrand family with comforts that allow a more pleasant stay at sea. The 133 ft boat is often referred to as a houseboat as opposed to a fishing vessel, due to amenities such as a sauna, dishwasher, and staterooms. The boat has only six crew members and usually it is the brothers who make up 50 percent of that crew.
The Time Bandit first appeared in “Deadliest Catch” during the second season and became a fan favorite until it was mysteriously removed after the end of the 13th.e season.
At the time, it was unclear what prompted Hillstrand’s departure from the show, and his comments and messages sent mixed messages to audiences around the world. Hillstrand told fans: “You’ll see me back here, kick me right in the nuts and gouge my eyes out. I’ll do it myself…when I get out of here again. I’ll kick myself in my own nuts and in my poke your own eye.” He called his withdrawal from the show a retirement, but continued to post photos of his fishing ventures, which frustrated and confused the disappointed fanbase.
This retirement was short-lived, however, and by the time the 15e season rolled around, there were rumors that Time Bandit would return to the show. However, Hillstrand had to sit out the season when the beloved family boat’s engine exploded, propped up for a significant period of time.
The Hillstrands were eventually forced to sell the boat, but were able to return for the 16e season of the show, much to the celebration and excitement of longtime fans.
Jonathan Hillstrand has two children from a previous marriage. Although he often calls his son Scott, little is known about his daughter. Scott Hillstrand originally planned to follow in his father’s footsteps in fishing, but was fired from the Time Bandit by his uncle Andy. He now runs Hillstrand Construction Company and has a son named Sawyer.
Jonathan began dating Heather Hamilton, whom he dated for a long time, before the two eventually married on November 6, 2017. Heather likes to take the surname Hillstrand and has several children of her own from a previous marriage.
Appearance and Weight Loss
Jonathan Hillstrand has a full head of light brown hair and often has a small beard. Although he has aged well, it is unclear if he has lost any significant weight in recent years. He is 1.85 m tall and weighs 80 kg.
Net worth and salary
Jonathan Hillstrand has a whole range of businesses from which he earns his income, from the entire Time Bandit franchise to the fish distribution companies. The cast of Discovery Channel shows would also receive a significant salary for their performance on the show. In addition to these companies, Hillstrand is also the author of several books, both for adults and children. He has a net worth estimated at over $2.2 million, as of mid-2020.