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Fans Make It Clear Who They Think Is Deadliest Catch's Best Captain

Over the course of the 18 controversial seasons of "The Deadliest Catch" that have aired to date, fans have met some fascinating characters who risk their lives as they make a living by searching the waters for Alaskan crab in the course of, as the show calls it, the world's deadliest job. Captains of the fishing crews represented in the show have had to deal with the most extreme conditions nature has been able to throw at them, from typhoons to below-freezing weather. They've also dealt with more human problems, from business issues caused by COVID-19 and the shutting down of red king crab-catching in the current season to the development (and destruction) of personal relationships. 

There's so much at stake that captains, who drive the strategy employed by each fishing vessel, truly have their crewmates' lives in their hands. This makes being "the best" captain on the show not a simple matter of bringing in the most fish or being financially successful: Captains must have other qualities, like the ability to earn the trust and loyalty of the crew. Not least of these is the skill to keep everyone on the boat safe.

Naturally, after so much drama on the high seas, fans have their favorites. But there's one captain who, according to fans, comes out on top.

Sig Hansen of the Northwestern is the best captain

In a Reddit poll from two years ago, 207 people voted on whom they thought was the best captain on "The Deadliest Catch." To no one's surprise, Sig Hansen won with 88 votes, or about 42.5 percent of the total. After all, Hansen has been on the show since the beginning episode in 2005, and today he even acts as a technical advisor to the show. The breakout star of the show has said about fishing, "Yeah, it's an addiction, it's in your blood" (per ABC Audio).

Although the comments of people who participated in the poll were more split than the results, one Hansen supporter briefly explained why he chose the Scandinavian-American. "Sig all day," said u/someguyfromsk. "He is the most stable, predictable, and a consistent high earner." Other threads echo the sentiment, with Reddit user u/Rebel_Yell12 noting Hansen would be the best boss, due to his calm demeanor and ability to keep his boat afloat with minimal drama. Another supporter, u/maxwellmaxen, specifically cited Hansen for his sense of humor, which doesn't hurt his popularity. 

For others, the fact that Hansen and his crew have been around since the start is a big point in his favor. "I mean they have been around since the beginning so nothing screams nostalgia then hearing that Fiddle follow by the shot of that beauty of a boat and our favorite Norwegian crew," said u/Thunderleppard666 on a thread from six months ago.

Phil Harris and Johnathan Hillstrand came in second and third place

In second place with 62 votes (30 percent) in this poll was Phil Harris, the captain of the Cornelia Marie. His collapse and death in 2010, caused by lifestyle habits (like smoking) and exacerbated by his work (via People), were sad moments featured on "The Deadliest Catch" Season 6. It's perhaps no surprise that Yahoo! Entertainment once named him "the greatest reality TV personality of all time" — and in a different Reddit poll in which his name wasn't an option, many simply wrote him in.

The first poll, though, had Johnathan Hillstrand of the Time Bandit in third place with 35 votes, or about 17 percent, another non-surprise. On an older thread, many commenters listed the Time Bandit as their favorite boat, with u/googoochoochoo explaining, "It seems like the Time Bandit always hits their quotas early and always get good crab."

The poll had the more controversial Keith Colburn of the Wizard in fourth place with 11 votes, or 5.3 percent, followed by Wild Bill Wichrowski of the Summer Bay with seven votes (about 3.3 percent) and then — in last place, Scott Campbell Jr., known just as "Junior," of the Lady Alaska with just four votes (2 percent). Of course, this poll clearly neglects some other well-liked captains, including Captain Jake Anderson of the Saga, Josh Harris, Casey McManus of the Cornelia Marie, Rip Carlton of the Patricia Lee, and Sean Dwyer of the Elinore J.