At the end of Season 13 of Deadliest Catch, Jonathan Hillstrand announced his retirement from crab fishing after 37 years on the job. Fans were upset about missing Hillstrand and The Time Bandit for Season 14 of the show, but still held out hope that he could return for Season 15.
Through social media, Hillstrand made it clear he was still fishing, but would he ever return to Deadliest Catch? For a while, it appeared he would. In 2018, Hillstrand wrote on Twitter that he wanted fans to “let Discovery know if you want Time Bandit back next year.”
Unfortunately, Hillstrand couldn’t return for Season 15. Why? Because his boat’s engine blew up.
The Time Bandit Engine “Blew Up”
On Twitter, Hillstrand wrote, “This is the first time in 38 yrs I’m going to miss a Bering Sea King crab season, besides the closer in the mid 80s!! Our main engine blew up so no season!!!!”
Within a couple days, however, Hillstrand updated fans that the Time Bandit was returning home to Alaska.
In November 2019, TV Shows Ace revealed that Hillstrand would be back for Season 16 after three years off the show, to the excitement of thousands of fans across the globe.
Fans Were Overjoyed With Hillstrand’s Return
Last week, during the Season 16 premiere of Deadliest Catch, fans couldn’t contain their excitement when Hillstrand appeared on screen for, “The Russians Are Coming.”
A number of Discovery addicts took to Twitter to express their joy. One fan wrote, “Y’all! I’m watching #deadliestcatch and I couldn’t be more happy that Jonathan Hillstrand is on the boat…”
Another wrote, “welcome back Jonathan hillstrand…. You da man.”
A third user commented, “Jonathan Hillstrand THE MAN THE MYTH THE LEGEND! Glad to see u back brother!”
Hillstrand is known for his good sense of humor, and recently, he has become somewhat of a mentor to Josh Harris. In a recent interview with Monsters & Critics, Harris was asked about Jonathan joining him on his trip to Hawaii.
Harris said, “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… 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.”
A lot has changed in Hillstrand’s life over the past three years. For one thing, he’s now married. On November 4, 2017, Hillstrand tied the knot to a woman named Heather Hamilton. The couple was together for several years before saying, “I do.”
Deadliest Catch returned April 14 at 8pm ET/PT. It was followed by the premiere of the spinoff, Deadliest Catch: Bloodline at 10pm ET/PT.