Discovery's "Deadliest Catch" Comes To San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Discovery's "Deadliest Catch" Comes To San Diego

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The Discovery Channel is giving viewers a taste of the drama on the high seas with the hit reality show "The Deadliest Catch."

If you've seen a minute of this series you know it can be a white knuckle experience just to watch.

The cast and crew just shot their season wrap up "After The Catch" in Pacific Beach.

"The Deadliest Catch" got its name for a reason. The Bering Sea will take anything and everything in its path.

Phil Harris and Jonathan Hillstrand are crab boat captains in Alaska, they are also survivors. So the obvious question is: why not trade the icebergs for fishing under the sun in San Diego?

"Fishing down here is a lot different than what we're used to. We're kind of living on the edge up there, and we need that shot of adrenaline," said Phil.

Longtime local fisherman Lauro Saraspe has a healthy respect for the ocean and knows Southern California cannot compare to the stormy seas of Alaska.

"You don't even go out the Mission Bay jetty when it's rough, when the surf is three or four feet and up there they fish in 20 or 30 foot swells, and it's amazing. There's just no comparison," said Lauro.

Lauro and his son Andy are not just fishermen, but avid deadliest catch viewers. But when you talk to the captains of this reality show, they say the cameras only catch a portion of what really goes on out there.

"When you start watching in April, you're six months behind what we did," noted Johnathan.

Even with all the camera crew, dog and pony show, these captains remain true to their roots, as humble as can be.

"Everybody makes such a fuss about us wherever we go, and it's certainly gratifying to get the recognition, but also you know I'm just a fisherman that's all," continued Phil.

"We're just crabbers, we're not actors, we're just guys," explained Johnathan.

While this is a TV show to us, it's still a job to them, a job they rely on to bring in cash. So what is the future of crabbing in Alaska?

"A little worried we're over harvesting king crab, but we'll find out when we get the next survey," said Johnathan.

"Crabbing-wise we've been doing really well. So the seasons used to last a lot longer, you know we'd have a season of king crab a million and a half, two million pounds. We don't do that anymore, because we aren't allowed to. We're only allowed to catch what our quota is," added Phil.

Fishermen know it's natural for crab populations to fluctuate from year-to-year, but it's still tough when you're landings aren't big, including here in San Diego.

"This year, as I'm fishing probably one of the worst years I've ever seen in crab fishing. I've been crab fishing probably for 40 years," Lauro said.

Whether it's California stone crab in our backyard or Opilio in Alaska, these dedicated fishermen carry a special level of courage.

"If you went to the north part of Hawaii, you know they all surfboard and the big waves. Well, our boat is the little surfboard and that's just the way it feels. You're just praying to god you're going to make it through it," said Phil.

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