From greenhorn to bearer of a captain's license, it's been a long, crazy road for Jake Anderson on "Deadliest Catch." Since boarding Sig Hansen's boat, the Northwestern, he has weathered the deaths of his sister and father, he's left to try his luck with another boat, and he's even written a book. But in Season 10 of the Discovery series, he's finally back where he belongs: on the deck of the Northwestern, getting "all the crap jobs" that deck boss Edgar Hansen can give him.
Yahoo TV talked to Anderson about being made to ask for his job back on camera instead of in private, his response to critics on Facebook, and why this is the best season of "Deadliest Catch" yet.
How tough was it to ask for your job back on the Northwestern?
It was pretty humbling to ask for my job back. I've had several other offers to go on other boats, and at first, I was real reluctant to ask to come back. But, at the end of the day, you know what? I talked to Sig and I talked to Edgar, and they kind of figured that I was going to ask to come back because I knew the boat.
So I wasn't too nervous, but I knew everybody in the world was going to see me have to ask for my job back. That was the hardest part, was knowing everybody in the world was going to see me come back to the Hansens with my head between my legs. It wasn't fun! But I wasn't scared to ask them. I was more worried about all the people that watch the show seeing me having to go and ask for my job back because that meant that I didn't accomplish the goal. Nothing worked out the way I thought it was going to work out.
As you can see, if you see the little clip they put on the Internet, you can see they welcome me back with open arms.
You've got your own line of skate shoes, you've got a book coming out ["Relapse" will be released April 29], you've got things going on outside of fishing. Why go back? Why is it important to you?
That's such a good question. There was someone on Facebook — I was trying to explain something when we filmed a scene one time — saying something about [me] not being proud to be a fisherman anymore. And what I was really trying to relate it to was, I love fishing. I love crab fishing. And I never thought I was going to be able to do it as well as I do do it. And [last season] when I went to the Kiska Sea, after being manipulated into thinking that I was actually going to relieve the skipper after a few years, I was devastated with the industry in general.
There's more to it because now, with ISQ [individual fishing quotas, transferrable licenses that limit the number of fish caught], there's no reason for a guy like me to buy the steel, buy the boat. You're going to have to buy the quota and it's just not cost-effective for anybody to do it anymore. If you watch Keith Colburn [captain of the Wizard] and see how hard he has to work just to keep his operation going and his company making money, it's a real headache for him, I know that. And I know that sometimes he gets in trouble with the other skippers for business that he has to do to keep his company alive.
And so, to answer your question — I don't mean to give you a novel answer — I don't know why. I'm just very passionate about it and it's all I know how to do now. I mean, I could go and do things like skateboarding and possibly rep for a company. But there's just something that keeps me coming back.
That was the same reason that I asked to go back with the Northwestern. I just love it there, it's my home, I can do whatever I want. I mean, guys aren't even on the boat right now — we're doing shipyard. I just show up because it's like an extension of my house. I just come here and make sure that stuff gets done and it's fun for me. Does that answer your question? Or was that too long?
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Absolutely not! You're an author now; you're allowed to go on at length.
Yeah, and that's a weird thing too! I started as a skateboarder with this dream. I'm from a very small town, and it was just my friend and myself. I had this wild dream that we were going to become professional skateboarders and all we had were videos and magazines. If you read my book, it's [about] how I ended up here.
My friend ended up becoming a professional skateboarder. I got injured and started abusing alcohol and got myself into drugs. I started changing my life while my friend became a professional skateboarder. I was sponsored still, here and there, and then my uncle made me go fishing. I'd go fishing every summer, but on a professional level. He said, "Look, you're done skateboarding." That's Nick Mavar and Brian Mavar, my uncles. They're like, "You're done screwing around. You're going to start working on the big boats now." And I listen to my uncles just like I listen to my own dad.
From then on, I shaped up. That was about the time I got on the Northwestern and I started bettering my life. And now, I'm where I'm at, which is really odd when I look back on my whole life. I mean, I was just a skateboarder, I was just a street kid. I didn't ever think I was going to be able to handle something like crab fishing.
Looking back now, is there anything you would change?
The thing is, my friend Casey and I: He wanted to travel and skateboard — I wanted to be famous. I really didn't know that then, but I wanted to be famous. Not that I'm real famous now, but I just wanted to be famous. And if I would have changed one thing in my life, I would have never ended where I am today. So there's nothing that I regret.
There are things that are irritating and upset me, which everybody's seen on the show. It's hard coming into the industry when you don't have a family that owns boats, so I have to really work hard to get to where I want to be. That stuff's irritating, but other than that, there isn't anything that I would change. As you can see, I've got my own signature skateboarding shoe, I've got a captain's license. I'm not Sig Hansen or Michael Jordan, but there hasn't been anything that's been denied to me in my life.
What's this season been like compared to the rest? You've had to start back at the bottom, but there's probably been worse times in your life.
Yeah, there's definitely been worse times in my life. And this season, for me, was definitely the funnest. I had so much fun: king crab and doing that with Edgar. Opies was a little tough. We didn't run into a lot of ice. There were bad days, which the viewers will see. But compared to the last two years, it was a lot better.
Overall, it was the funnest because I wasn't getting back on the boat and trying to become a captain or anything. I was just doing my job and I realized, by being on another boat, how much I just love working on this specific deck. And it reminded me of skateboarding again. And it's fun! I can do what I want, and Edgar always yells at me and I yell back, and I know we all care about each other enough that nobody's gonna get fired. And we've all seen me get away with murder, so we know it's pretty hard for me to get fired. Because we're family and it's a family operation.
The Season 10 premiere of "Deadliest Catch" airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel.