Top Five Things We’ll Miss Most About Captain Phil on Deadliest Catch
1. His Toughness
Phil Harris was a cranky, grizzly bear of a man; he’s like the tough-but-tender uncle we all wish we could toss a football with. Crab fishing is not for the weak of heart, and with 32 years as a crab fisherman, Phil proved himself to be tougher than any UFC fighter. We’ll always remember his immortal quote: “You ain’t a man till you pull a tooth out with a pair of pliers.” Indeed — and next to Phil, very few of us are men.
2. His Sense of Humor
Navigating a crab boat through frigid Arctic waters…it’s not exactly a laugh riot. But Phil always kept the mood light with his trademark zingers and putdowns. Plus, who could forget his undying obsession with crab farts? The man insisted that he could smell out a herd of crabs with just a whiff of their flatulence. If a grown man sniffing out crab farts (and enjoying it) isn’t funny, we don’t know what is.
3. His Way With His Sons
Phil’s sons, Josh and Jake, served with their dad as deckhands aboard the Cornelia Marie. Phil clearly loved them, and loved getting the opportunity to spend time with them on the sea. But as the boat’s captain, he treated his boys just as harshly as he would any other crew member. And it worked, because at the time of Phil’s death, Josh and Jake were ready to take over. That’s the best gift he could give them.
4. His Everyman Appeal
We love a hard worker, and nobody worked harder than Phil. Growing up in Seattle, he began fishing with his father at age 7 and went to work as a crab fisherman right after high school. He became a crab fishing boat captain at the tender age of 21, and spent more than 20 years as captain of the Cornelia Marie, putting his life on the line every crab season. Just remember that the next time you enjoy a nice, juicy crab leg.
5. His Openness
No, we wouldn’t call Phil a touchy-feely guy — but he did open up his life, warts and all, to us each week. And we’re so glad he did. Phil helped make “Catch” the highest rated show on Discovery; the last two episodes netted more than 5 million viewers each (a phenomenal number for a cable-channel show). And thankfully, Discovery is giving us a chance to say our final goodbyes.