5/29/07 Discovery LiveChat:
Edgar Hansen of the F/V Northwestern
Discovery: Welcome to this week's Deadliest Catch chat. Our guest is Edgar Hansen, deck boss aboard the Northwestern. He's the outspoken brother to superstitious Capt. Sig and knows how to break in a greenhorn. Ask Edgar about pots, pranks and this season of crab fishing.
Edgar Hansen: I want to thank everybody for being here for the next hour I'm sorry I couldn't give you more, but it's all the time I could spare.
mcas8: Edgar, what is it really like working with your brother as the captain?
Edgar Hansen: Living hell, literally! But it works out. He sticks with the best of what he does and I do the best at what I do. So, it works out.
jeffery67: Hi Edgar, what was your worst moment on last season?
Edgar Hansen: My worst moment would have to be having to go home. It's a shame to leave.
rfritsche: Hey Edgar, are you ever going to get your own crab boat or are you going to work with Sig until you get tired of crab fishing?
Edgar Hansen: No, I think he's going to leave the boat to me at some point in time. He's not getting any younger. I'll probably take the boat for cod fish, and during crab seasons if we end up getting more quota we'll end up swapping out. One more boat would just add to the madness.
csandoval: Love you guys! What do you do in between seasons?
Edgar Hansen: Sig is all business, and I have two rental houses and three children that keep me busy. I work a lot with wood, working on my house, playing with the kids. Just trying to take it easy and enjoy my hobbies. I used to be an avid dirt bike rider, but I don't want to break any legs so no more of that for me or I may not make next season. So we keep busy with hobbies and kids when we have time off.
ffst121981: Hey Edgar, how long has your family been fishing?
Edgar Hansen: We are fourth generation, so that'd be our great grandfather. He fished when he was a child. So, ever since I can remember, going back four generations. And I hope it shows.
dunestorm: I had two quick questions about your publicity tour. Seems like in both NY and LA you guys attracted police; is this a normal occurrence for you? And in LA I see you and Norm took a turn on a mechanical bull; how did that turn out for you?
Edgar Hansen: I don't know where you got that information, but that's correct. It seems like policemen and firemen, when the show is on, they'll shut the whole station down and watch our show. It's pretty unbelievable to us how popular this thing has gotten. As far as the mechanical bull, that was the night we met Paris Hilton, which you guys saw the Jay Leno show. Norman actually rode bull in the rodeo for a while. He got first place. Me being a first timer I got second. I'm a quick learner though. It's just not in my nature to give up.
emmie: Edgar, we've seen some of the other brothers take turns between working on the deck and being captain. Have you and Sig ever considered that for yourselves?
Edgar Hansen: Not really, because Sig is pretty much too lazy to go out on deck. And he's too old. So, it's my deck and it's run the way I like it. If he were to come down I'm sure he'd try to change things. I like where I'm at, which is pretty much as far away from Sig as possible. LOL He did take a turn down on deck this last season, a little something to look forward to on the show. But, no, his place is upstairs and mine is on deck. I'd like to keep it that way, until he's ready to give up the chair. Then I'll find another deckhand. Until then, I'll keep it the way it is.
Irisheyes: I bet you've heard this so many times your ears.and eyes.are starting to bleed, but what made you decide to do this?
Edgar Hansen: I didn't decide to fish, it was forced child labor. My dad made it so. He said if you're not going to go to college, don't be a dummy, go fish. So, he bought me my first plane ticket and shot me on up here. And here I am. Thank God.
HansenFan: Hi Edgar, my husband and I are big Northwestern fans! We were wondering what ever happened with that prank you and Sig pulled on Blake with the smelly fish under the captain's chair? Did it ever get discovered? Thanks for all the great crab! We appreciate you!
Edgar Hansen: I'm not sure. I don't know if he found it or not.
ftenelson: Hello Edgar. Much respect to you my man, you're very brave. As a truck driver here I've had many a long day, but never as long as you guys do. How in the sam hell do you guys stay up for so long?
Edgar Hansen: Well, greed is the main factor, and just being used to it. You'd be amazed at what your body can take if you do something long enough. I know truck driving ain't easy either. So, hat's off to you, my man!
Xanders Mommy: Would you ever let your daughters/sons crab fish?
Edgar Hansen: Oh God, no. I'm hoping not. I've got three college funds to start now. Maybe I'd bring my oldest boy up for summer time for salmon, so he can make extra money for a car or something. But as far as crab, no, I wouldn't want them to make their living this way. It's too much time away from home for an average guy.
robby: As an engineer, what was the hardest thing you had to fix on the Northwestern at sea?
Edgar Hansen: When you're in a pinch, hydraulics are probably the worst ones to pinpoint. When you lose power, it's the art of deduction. We've lost crab pumps, too, and that's no small chore to fix. It's the pumps that keep water flowing to the tanks. If we lose one of those, it's a pretty big chore. We bring the boat down every year to repair, and hopefully for preventative maintenance. That's why we've never had major breakdowns at sea.
mcas8: What is your favorite prank you've pulled while on the boat?
Edgar Hansen: I think the best one so far was painting prison stripes on Matt's rain gear; that was basically right in front of him.
Patty: Have you ever lost a fellow member at sea?
Edgar Hansen: No! I don't want to talk about that. No, and we never will and it's bad luck to even talk about it.
crabmaster: You seem to relish breaking in this season's greenhorn. What's your philosophy on breaking in greenhorns?
Edgar Hansen: My philosophy is do unto others as has been done unto you. My dad owned a boat and believe me I got my butt kicked more than once. And believe me, it taught me how to be a good fisherman. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Rona: What was your first crab fishing experience? What kind of greenhorn were you?
Edgar Hansen: My first experience was hell, I lived in hell for two years, literally. I made $100 a day on my first 2-1/2 years on the boat, and back then we were working 7-8 months straight with no breaks. These guys that trained me were old school. So I got yelled at, belittled, stuff thrown at me. It was no picnic, let's put it that way.
fawcett: Norman seems to be the quietest of the Hansen brothers. Does he ever play pranks on you? Or is he the mediator between you and Sig?
Edgar Hansen: The only mediator we have on board is Matt, he's our on-board psychologist. Norman is just Norman; he's a hermit. He likes keeping to himself and does. He knows what to do, does what he's told. He's the perfect deckhand. One thing about not talking - he doesn't talk back!
Lhiiiz: Edgar, if you were to do anything else with your life, what would it be?
Edgar Hansen: I'd probably be a finish carpenter or fixing houses. Or a gigolo. Take your pick. LOL
mandyevandy: What is your worst fear while on the boat?
Edgar Hansen: I think that would probably be obvious. I'd rather not say, but I'm sure you can get the picture.
keithl: Is it hard to get a job on one of the boats?
Edgar Hansen: It's very hard. Jobs are scarce and there's more guys looking for work nowadays than ever. Not just because of the show, but because of the way the new regulations are. There's like 200-300 people looking for crab jobs that were working before. So, getting a job nowadays is probably 1 in a million. You just have to be in the right place at the right time.
AleMegXan: Do you ever get seasick? How do you handle the big waves?
Edgar Hansen: LOL, yeah, I get sick. Every time we leave port I get seasick. I used to try pills, powders, and drugs and nothing really worked. So, you just need to muddle through, grin and bear it, and take it like a man for a few days. Until you've thrown up as long as you can, and then you get to work. Or you work while you're puking.
Big_K: Edgar, are you guys getting groupies now that you're famous?
Edgar Hansen: Yeah, I think we've got a few followers. There have been a couple occasions where we had to shoo some people away. So, yes. It could be better or could be worse, it all depends on how you look at it.
drekrab: How do you determine the weight of the crab to get your total?
Edgar Hansen: If it's king crab, we do have a scale on board, and we throw maybe 50 crab in a tote and then we weigh all the crab at once. That way we get a good average for the weight. For opilio crab, we can pretty much judge those by the eye. They're usually 1.5 pounds average, down to 1.3. We can see if we're on the good size of average. But knowing your boat helps too. We can measure our tank and we basically know exactly how much crab is in there by the foot. That's how well we know our boat.
argyllsdad: How are spots picked? Water temp, mating times or mating areas? Thanks for opening your world to us.
Edgar Hansen: As far as fishing, they do do a survey four months prior to a crab season and that gives you a general idea of where an abundance of crab is. But within four months, those crab are usually long gone, so you just need to go by feel or you go by your old records. And you just put them in the water and go from there. Unless you're lucky enough to get information from Blake. Just talk to Blake, he'll tell you! Mating areas? If you're on a school with male and female mix, then you want to get off that school and get on one with bigger male crabs. It really doesn't matter, as long as there's crab at the bottom.
mandyevandy: I love the show. How do you keep a positive attitude about everything when out to sea?
Edgar Hansen: You have to keep a positive attitude, no matter what happens. Your mother's not there to go run and cry to, so you have to pretty much deal with everything on your own. You have to be able to laugh about everything. If you're going to sit there in a slump, you probably won't get your work done.
melanie: Are you married? And if you are, does your wife have a hard time with you being gone and the dangers this job has?
Edgar Hansen: I am very married, three kids, and my wife loves it when I'm gone. So, we don't have a problem in that area. She also loves it when I come home, too.
brownie: Is there a difference between opilio and king crab fishing grounds?
Edgar Hansen: There is. Opilio crab are much deeper and farther up to the Northwest. Where king crab are much shallower and farther to the east, in the Bering Sea.
deltagamgirl: What are the things that make you really mad at sea?
Edgar Hansen: People that don't listen, or you have to tell somebody four times, or show somebody four times, how to do something. And when we're not catching crab. You just have to grin and bear it! Keep a positive attitude.
captbeam: What is the stupidest thing you have either seen or heard of a greenhorn doing?
Edgar Hansen: I've done a couple of stupid things myself. Actually, one of the dumbest things I ever heard of was a boat was tying up to the dock, and a guy was up on the bow and he was going to throw the tie-up line to the dock. And when he threw it, he didn't let go so he went over the side of the boat, line and all. We've also told greenhorns that there are mail buoys out in the Bering Sea, so if you wanted to write a letter, go ahead and write it and we'd drop it off at the buoy for them.
northerngirl: How soon after your stint on Trading Spaces did you find out that you would be on TV again doing Deadliest Catch ?
Edgar Hansen: We were actually on the very first episode on a Discovery Channel series called Deadliest Season, the same year we did Trading Spaces . And then the year after that we did the Deadliest Catch . Trading Spaces catapulted my debut in the filming industry. LOL
DrNoisewater: When you first heard about the possibility of Deadliest Catch , what was your reaction?
Edgar Hansen: Nobody in the industry knew that this was going to be as big as it's gotten. We thought it might be fun, you know, to get our little five minutes of fame. Not realizing that it would turn out to be a global thing. We hope and pray that we're representing the fleet in a professional manner, with a little Edgar thrown in on the side!
mdnoble: Is sarcasm a trait your entire family has, or do you and your brother just use it on board to keep things interesting?
Edgar Hansen: God no, sarcasm's been handed down to us for four generations. It comes with the territory. If you're a fisherman, then you're sarcastic. We just happen to be better at it then most. We can be big teddy bears, too.
zrgirl: How much of the year do you actually work?
Edgar Hansen: With everything that we do - cod fish and salmon, opilio and king crab - we're busy at least 7 months out of the year. It'll be more this year. I'm leaving on the 8th of June and I won't be back until the middle of November. This is after we've already fished opilio and cod fish this year, plus our shipyard work, which has taken us almost two months maintaining the boat in Seattle.
hazelmom: Edgar, you have spoken of your late father with such regard. You have said he was a great fisherman. Can you tell us something about him as a Dad?
Edgar Hansen: It was tough love, that's how we were raised. You have to imagine back in the day, those old timers were gone 10 months out of the year. Every time we got in trouble at home, Mom would say "Wait until your father gets home." We were like "Geez, he's not going to be home for months!" So, we had to sweat for four months until he got home, and then of course Mom never told him all the bad things we did. So. When he was home, he was the best father he could be. Calling us dummies, making us mow his lawn. That's Norwegian love!
argyllsdad: Do crabs migrate to mate or do they look for a certain water temp?
Edgar Hansen: If I knew that I could have quit fishing a long time ago! I think they migrate to feed and mate, I think they mate wherever they're at. Who knows? It's one of the most unknown species in the world as far as I'm concerned.
catchone: How do you keep from getting hypothermia?
Edgar Hansen: Work. Keep moving. If you are cold, you are not working hard enough. I say it to the guys who say "it's cold out here." "Well, start moving, do something." Plus, you wear layers of clothes. You have to wear the right clothes of course. We wear nothing but Harry Hansen gear, which probably saves our butts.
dunestorm: You have been a little reserved on the fire side this season, what gives? And what's the worst thing you've set fire to?
Edgar Hansen: Probably my partner, Nick Mavar, that's probably the worst thing I've set fire to. We ran out of propellant.
trublmakr318: Edgar did you have fun at the NASCAR race? Who was the coolest driver?
Edgar Hansen: I did not go, they left me behind to take care of the boat! Keeper of the boat; maintenance. I do have a life you know!
Twan: Is there more then just your main engine on your boat, if that goes down, do you have any back up?
Edgar Hansen: There's just the one. So we need to treat it like it's our own baby.
jnlrossi: How ticked do you guys really get when newbies try to prank you? Is it all still in good humor?
Edgar Hansen: No, it's not all in good humor, because a newbie doesn't have the right. You need to earn that right; put in your time before you start acting like a big shot. Is this Blake?
ckosh: Are you friends with all the other guys from other boats?
Edgar Hansen: A lot of them, yeah. I have a lot of friends on a lot of boats, but I think in our off time we don't tend to get together too much. The last thing I need to see when I'm home is another seaman.
jnlrossi: We are all obviously Deadliest Catch fanatics. What TV programs do you watch?
Edgar Hansen: I'm not a real big TV watcher, not a whole lot of time for it. When I sit down and get to click it on, comedy shows. I like King of Queens , that's a good one. Just your standard comedy shows.
CP_Tampa: They never show you guys eating, when do you get a chance to grab a bite to eat and get some coffee?
Edgar Hansen: The coffee is pouring in 24 hours a day. So, we're running in and out getting our cups full. As far as food, we do usually get a chance for one meal a day - a sit down meal - that's usually dinner before we go to bed. There are times where we'll get a lunch in there somewhere. 90 percent of the time it's fend for yourself.
peeler77: My buddies and I always drink beer and watch the show. We were wondering do you ever get to kick back and have a drink?
Edgar Hansen: Not on board! We've got a zero tolerance policy as far as drinking goes, or drugs. We do celebrate on the way home, after the season. When the boat's hard up and we're ready to fly out. We'll go and have a cocktail or two to celebrate.
javahhkk: Do you still have relatives in Norway? Have you ever visited Norway?
Edgar Hansen: Of course, us boys and my dad's brother are the only people that live here in Seattle from our family. So, the rest of our heritage is still back in Norway. We used to go back there every summer as kids, but as time got older, we got older, all of our friends from Norway started to move out and get their own jobs. Now we have our own families. All of our wives are from Norway, and all of their families are from back there as well. There was talk of a Christmas in Norway, but we'll see what happens.
Pssbear: Do you prefer the new way of determining who can fish for crabs each season, or the old way of everyone can participate?
Edgar Hansen: No, I liked the Olympic style fishing better. There was a lot more adrenaline, it was every man for himself. when the gun went off, everyone left at the same time and you got what you got. And whoever got most was top dog. There was more of sense of pride in what we did before, and accomplishment.
keithl: Where do you go to find out about jobs on a crab boat?
Edgar Hansen: There's really nothing at the unemployment office. All you can do, is be there.
Fred: The show tends to focus on the danger, hard work and money you guys face/make. Do most crab fisherman enjoy it? Have fun doing it? Or is it all business?
Edgar Hansen: It depends on the crew you have. It can be very fun at times, but rarely is it fun all of the time. That's what separates us from most. That's why it's such a hard job to do. Because 90 percent of the time you're miserable. If you're not getting beaten down by a wave, you're getting beaten down by the skipper.
Numba1Crabba: Edgar, what's your favorite drink?
Edgar Hansen: I don't drink much anymore, if at all. But if it was to tie one on, it would be Crown & Coke. But I switched over to energy drinks and coffee.
sumoleo: Did Sig ever cook you guys pancakes yet?
Edgar Hansen: We were promised dinner and a movie, and pancakes for breakfast. I haven't see any one of those!
dadingo: Do you wear long johns when you are crabbin'?
Edgar Hansen: Only when it's 30 below. Other than that, it's just what you see - sweatpants and rain gear. And lots of work.
botc: How has the show changed your lives, especially Sig?
Edgar Hansen: It hasn't changed mine much at all. It's just popularity, people stop you at the stores and on the road. It's all positive feedback. "Oh my God, you guys are amazing. Thank you for letting us into your lives and seeing what you guys do for a living." As far as changing me personally, it probably never will. Fishing's all we've ever done and it's all we'll ever do.
fisherman: We only see great catches, have you ever had a very poor season?
Edgar Hansen: I personally have fished for a month and a half, and I didn't even make enough for my airfare. This was years ago. So, every dog has his day; you have to take the ups with the downs.
sokes_in_PA: Do you like to rod and reel fish? Like in a stream?
Edgar Hansen: No, I'll leave that for the girlie-men! Joking - LOL. I do like to fish Dungeness in Puget Sound with little pots and a Bayliner.
interestedfi: Edgar, what are the qualities that you look for in a greenhorn?
Edgar Hansen: Young and dumb, being able to close his eyes and open his ears. A guy that's willing to go the extra mile. Just to be able to muddle through the pain and the sleep deprivation and not complain about it.
Chasity: Edgar, what was the worst mistake you've made while on the boat, and what did you learn from it?
Edgar Hansen: There are so many, that's how you learn. Not to be too much of a cowboy and try to do everything yourself. Because if you do, you're just going to burn out and fade away. We're not supermen, we need to remember that. A bad one, for example, I forgot to turn on my fuel pump to fill my day tank with fuel, therefore, killing the engine. It got fixed in a hurry, but it was just a brain fart.
Nyxie: Hello Edgar! I greatly admire your bravery ( or maybe lack of healthy fear). As a landlocked college girl, I can't even image what it's like out there! My question is, what do you think is the most important superstition to heed while at sea?
Edgar Hansen: Do not talk about the weather. If it's actually a nice day and you mention the fact it's a nice day, it's not going to be a nice day any more.
oceangirl_99: Who cooks for you guys. and what is your favorite comfort meal Edgar?
Edgar Hansen: I used to cook for 7 to 8 years, until I became engineer. Now Matt is our cook. And a favorite meal would be steak and shrimp, because that's usually our going-in meal. That's our meal when we're on our way to town.
drinkr23__Sp: Have you ever thought of starting a greenhorn training camp?
Edgar Hansen: I should start my own Greenhorn Variety Show, and have an elimination process. My first choice of greenhorns, would be Mikey from Orange County Choppers. I want that kid on my boat!
Chasity: What is your favorite way to relieve stress on the boat? Also, what did you write in the comments can in season 2?
Edgar Hansen: Favorite way to relieve stress - just to hopefully go upstairs and sit on the port side of the wheelhouse, just sit there and look out the window and breathe. You just need to get away from some of those guys at times. One of my comments, I think was probably that Sig has to take more showers. And more sleep.
penguinboogi: Hay Edgar, you rock!!! What is Sig's full first name? I have $$ riding on this. Thanks. Love you guys and pray for you every night.
Edgar Hansen: Sigurd. A nice Norwegian name for an un-nice Norwegian guy
Amy: Do you have a MySpace page?
Edgar Hansen: Yes, I do. It's edgaronnw I have a hard time keeping up with it, though. I wouldn't bother trying to add me as a friend, because I still have 45 pages I have to add. I just can't keep up, I apologize to everybody who's reading this and is trying to be added.
Edd: Have you tried out the Deadliest Catch game yet, if so how have you done?
Edgar Hansen: I have not tried it, I didn't really know there was one to tell you the truth. We're not very computer literate in this family, I'm lucky I can even get online. I live the game, I don't have to play it!
Discovery: Edgar, thank you for chatting with us tonight! Do you have anything else you'd like to add, before we have to close?
Edgar Hansen: I wish I had more time to answer more questions. I know there are a lot of people who were discouraged when Sig was on here, but keep your chin up and go to MySpace. edgaronnw and ask away!
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