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Deadliest Catch: Bloodline Josh Harris interview: Hawaii and Kona Coast await thanks to Capt. Phil’s legacy

You can…
watch things happen…
make things happen,
or wonder what the hell happened – Captain Phil Harris

Discovery is spinning off a new Deadliest Catch series called Deadliest Catch: Bloodline, following the original series this coming Tuesday.

The oldest son of the late Captain Phil Harris, Josh Harris, is the featured subject in this series. He discovers his late father’s charts and offers a chance for Harris and Casey McManus to try their hand in warmer waters for a new adventure.

Fans of the long-running series Deadliest Catch are well aware of the history of the F/V Cornelia Marie.

Back on Jan. 29, 2010, 53-year-old Captain Phil Harris suffered a stroke while bringing in the crab catch. He had to be helicoptered to a hospital for emergency care in Anchorage, Alaska.

His sons Josh and Jake were continually at his side. However, Phil died on Feb. 9, 2010.

And while we know that Deadliest Catch is coming back with Captains Wild Bill, Sig Hansen, Keith Colburn, and more, here is what we know about the new spin-off series.

What is Deadliest Catch: Bloodline?

Josh Harris
Josh Harris stars in Bloodline for Discovery. Pic credit: Discovery.

Deadliest Catch: Bloodline is similar in premise to Parker’s Trails as it relates to Gold Rush. This show is a son’s journey to retrace the life of his father, Captain Phil Harris.

Josh’s father was a legendary fisherman who trawled the waters beyond Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in the Bering sea. His ship was the F/V Cornelia Marie, and for more than 20 years, we learn that he had other exploits out on the open ocean.

That was the impetus for this new series, to get the Deadliest Catch captain Josh Harris to venture out and explore these left-behind maps, a quest taking he and partner Casey McManus to Hawaii.

What was Phil trying to share via these charts found in a remodel? Josh will learn more about his late father, who spent considerable time fishing there decades ago.

What did Phil’s charts reveal?

Phil’s fishing charts, found while Josh and Casey were remodeling the F/V Cornelia Marie’s captain’s quarters, go back as the early 1980s and lays out the isles of Hawaii, including what is considered the best fishing spot in the world — the Kona Coast.

This is covered in Phil Harris’ handwriting, with detailed secrets, notes, and commentary about fishing adventures and island life.

To explore these maps and charts, Harris and McManus will invest in a boat there and take viewers fishing in Hawaii. The two enlist the help of Jeff Silva, one of the island’s top commercial fishermen.

The series will introduce a whole new body of water and style of fishing foreign to Josh and Casey.

The pair will battle many obstacles in a bid to score a lucrative bounty – ahi tuna – and dive deeper into the mysteries of Phil’s personal history as well.

Josh Harris interview

Monsters & Critics: I watched that first episode. I was bawling like a little baby at the beginning. It’s a very emotional opener.

I was very close with my dad, who died in 2013, so I totally get it. I miss my dad’s sense of humor and I think you do too.

Josh Harris: I feel you on that one. I’ll tell you what, man. Yes. My dad had a mullet too. He was a real show-off.  I really miss him a lot. I wish he could … I could just talk to him for five minutes and for him to tell me what he thinks of everything. That would be so cool.

But for now, I’m just going to investigate the little things that happen to fall in my lap like this situation. And with our new show, it was really cool. It makes sense, on so many aspects, on why he did what he did.

We still have a lot more to investigate. So I think they’ll probably be a future at this. But I’ll tell you, from what I saw so far in the couple months we got to spend over there, it was quite eye-opening.

It was really cool. I ran into a couple people that actually met my dad in Hawaii and that was really crazy.

M&C: It must have been fun to just to hear their perspective of your father they knew as a friend or a drinking buddy or just a mate.

Josh: Yes, Yes, right? It was kind of crazy and to be so far away from crab fishing in general. Right? But fishing with a pole for fish is really hard. It’s harder than crab fishing.

Everything wants to eat you out there[Hawaii]. It’s really crazy. There’s fish, sharks.

There’s all sorts of weird stuff. You got to figure out the type of line to use, what type of pole to use, where you’re supposed to fish, how you’re supposed to fish, all these weird names of fish and birds and everything. It was insane.

M&C: Well, speaking of mullets and the bond of the mullet…Your council of dads, you went to Sig first and you also consulted with Johnathan Hillstrand and then also Casey McManus’s father. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Josh: Yeah. It’s just that those guys are pretty smart guys for Sig and Johnathan.  Johnathan and my dad were really, really close. So, it was interesting to hear Johnathan’s perspective on things.

Sig was a very smart businessman. He was smart and my dad talked with him a lot about crab fishing. They worked together a lot.

So it was like trying to pick his mind on what the thought process could have been behind my dad going to Hawaii or what he could have done, just everybody, in general, trying to figure this out to get the mindset on what exactly he was thinking.

It was cool.

And then Casey’s dad is just a logistics guy. He knew my dad really well too. I was just trying to get questions answered… Is there stuff in that where you could make money? Could this be our next move?

I mean, we’re not fishing for crab. It’s to start a fish company over there. Just the thought process so before we got there, we would have an idea of what we’re looking at or up against. And then just to go out and figure out what these waters were like.

What type of fish are there? How do you even catch these fish? Where do you sell them? What’s exactly happening? A lot of the guys had some information, but we had to just go there and figure it out.

M&C: Casey McManus, has he become pretty much a brother to you?

Josh: Unfortunately, yes [laughs].

We’re stuck together for nine months out of the year. And on the new boat that we have currently, it’s even closer than the Cornelia. So right when you think you’ve spent enough time with somebody on a big boat, now we get shrunk down to a 19-foot boat instead of a 130-foot ship.

I’ll tell you what, it’s close quarters.

M&C: So small that Casey fell in the hole? The fish hold?

Josh: Yeah. Yes, he did. And I’ll you what, you can quote me on that one. He did fall in that hole. It was not me.

M&C: Did he have to buy a case of beer for you?

Josh: No. We made him buy dinner instead!  It was more expensive.

M&C: Jeff Silva, your little Hawaiian guide. Tell me if I should like him.

Josh: Dude, he is intense. And he’s not little. He’s a big boy. And he’s one of the best of the best. Really intense guy. He’s really awesome.

He’s really good at what he does. And I’ll tell you what, that guy has a lot of patience. He’s teaching us two ding-dongs how to fish and where to fish and teaching us about the Hawaiian culture, which is one of the most important things when you go out there.

I’ll tell you, that guy is all heart. And I guarantee you as you watch more of the series unfold, you’ll definitely fall in love with him.

He’s one of my favorite people on this planet. I absolutely love him. He’s a great dude. He’s a really intense guy. He says a lot with his eyes. But he’s a really cool guy, man. And he is funny.

He’s serious in the beginning because that’s when we first got up there, and he’s trying to teach us stuff. And so as we start to learn, he starts to lighten up. Then we start picking on Casey a lot. It’s great. He’s a really good guy.

M&C: What’s interesting, and it’s akin to what Parker Schnabel is doing with Gold Rush. They gave him his own show just like they’ve given you your show, a spinoff of the mothership show.

Parker is in his third season and he’s loving Australia to the point I think he’s going to set up a permanent business there. Hawaii’s a lot easier on the joints and the bones than the Bering Sea.

Would you consider down the road you and Casey opening up and working off the Kona Coast permanently?

Josh: Yeah. You know what? Right now, we’ve been talking about that, and it sounds like something that is definitely doable because we can do it in between the seasons. We have two crab seasons.

That takes up four or five months and then just spend the rest of the time over in Hawaii. So there is profit that can be made just as good as crab fishing, if not more.

So yeah, it’s something that we’re actually seriously taking a look at. We had a really good experience. We see a lot of room for growth. The Hawaiian people, they don’t mind us yet. So that’s good. They’re not burning out boats down yet.

We see a lot of potential there.

M&C: You didn’t just waltz down there, though. You had to put up $40,000 upfront money or more maybe. For people who think they can just go to Hawaii and start fishing like you, I mean, you had to significantly invest in this, correct?

Josh: Yeah. We prematurely jumped into it, but it worked out. So we’re cool with it. As of right now, the plan of operation there is to just keep on keeping on. So we’ll see. There’s a lot more to investigate over there.

We didn’t finish up quite even close to what we wanted to accomplish. So we are probably going to be headed back that way whenever the world opens up here, and I’ll head over to Hawaii. Casey’s in Hawaii right now because his family’s got a place over there.

I’m in Seattle right now. Yeah.

M&C: I think it’s interesting how all of a sudden we’re seeing Johnathan Hillstrand, who went MIA in the series for a while.

Talk about Johnathan. I saw in the previews for the coming episodes that he’s going to be coming to visit you in Hawaii. Can you talk about that and the extent of his visit?

Josh: Anything to do with Johnathan Hillstrand you automatically know it’s going to be a sh*t show and it was awesome. It was great.

He does come out and visit. We wanted to get insight. Because him and my dad, as you can tell by their haircuts with the mullet, you know they think alike.

They were absolutely best buddies, and they spent a lot of time together up north and off the boat. So it gives a different perspective since he’s older.

He’s basically the same age as my dad. It was like we’re trying to figure out what my dad could have been thinking or what his moves could have been according to what we have going on.

It was great to get his perception on what his thoughts were. It was a lot of fun. I’ll tell you what. We definitely got to go out and experience a lot of things. It was a really cool experience for the both of us.

I can tell you that much.

M&C: Yeah. I bet. All right. So what was the ratio of ahi to the catches, you caught mahi-mahi. What was the fish that you caught the most? How many ahi tunas were you able to catch and sell? 

Josh: We probably caught like 40 mahi-mahi. We probably caught like, I don’t know, probably seven or eight tuna. We caught some ono. We caught barracuda.

We caught a shark. We had a whale shark hit the boat. That was pretty crazy. I’m like, “We need a bigger boat.” It was bigger than the boat. I never seen a fish that big in my life. That was insane.

There’s just so much stuff out there I saw…We caught rockfish, all these different species. We caught fish I can’t even pronounce. It was insane.

And there’s a market for everything out there. So it was definitely an eye-opening experience.

M&C: And you can actually bypass the middleman and sell directly to restaurants. You showed that.

Josh: That’s correct. That is correct. So there’s a lot of potential for making really good money. And that’s the only fishery in the world where you can go out there and catch your fish and sell them directly to restaurants. So that was really cool.

M&C: You have a daughter, correct? How old is she now?

Josh: Yes, I do! She just turned seven. Seven going on 30.

M&C: What are your hopes for her for her future? Do you want here to follow your career like how Mandy’s been brought into Sig’s fold and his family business? Are you hoping the same for your daughter?

Josh: Well, I mean the Hawaii gig, that could be a good gig for us, if we set up shop over there and it grows successfully. Otherwise, my hopes are I want her to do what she wants to do.

I prefer her to go to college and do that routine. She absolutely loves crabbing, and she’s really good at it. It’s crazy.

Like we’ll go Dungeness crab fishing and she’ll just reach right in the pot and grab a Dungie. I’m like, “Whoa! Hey!” She say, “It’s fine, Dad. I got this. It’s not a big deal.” It’s like, “No! This can take your finger off. Holy schnikes!”

You can’t be doing that sh*t. And she loves fishing.

One of the first times she ever saw a fishing pole, she immediately just went over, grabbed it, and cast out. I don’t know if she was watching us fish but no help necessary. I was like, “Has somebody taken her fishing before?”

And it was like, “No. No.” She just knew what to do instinctively. The kid is definitely impressive and a chip off the old block. But I’d like to see her do whatever it is she wants to do.

I’d like to see her go to college and stuff. But I’m not going to deny her if she wants to become a fisherwoman.

M&C: Tell me the moment you discovered your dad’s charts. What was that like when you realized what they were?

Josh: Very creepy.  Seeing the old man’s handwriting … It’s been a long time since I’ve seen that. So it was like, “What the hell am I looking at? Why are these charts on the boat?”

Because there was 50 different charts underneath his bed. And so it was like the most marked-up ones were from Hawaii. But they were from all different regions.

So it was like, “Okay. Well, let’s look at this and turn this into an adventure maybe.”

I was joking around in the beginning, and then it turned from a joke into reality, and here we are today. It was pretty crazy. I couldn’t believe it.

Deadliest Catch: Bloodline airs Tuesday, premiering April 14, at 10 PM ET/PT on Discovery Channel.  Following the premiere, episodes will air at 9 PM ET/PT.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
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