What do you fear most when it comes to fishing?
I tell you what, man – it’s Mother Nature. That lady is the biggest threat. You never know what she’s gonna do. She’s an unfeeling, heartless woman and that’s the scariest part of my job.
How do you get around that threat?
I pray. Every morning, before I do anything, I pray for myself and the guys. Because there is a higher power.
It can’t be easy being stuck on a boat with the guys for such long periods. How do you manage everyone’s emotions?
I try to keep a good attitude and keep the guys in good spirits. I like to make a bet with them, obviously something they can’t win. But this gets them to work together, as a team, to beat me. It brings unity to the boat. The guys have testosterone like you wouldn’t believe. But when you create a kinda contest, they unify and work together. Look, at the end of the day, I want everyone to be alive. My ultimate goal is to make sure everyone is safe and comes back home in one piece.
But surely things get out of hand every once in a while?
Of course. I don’t like yelling, but sometimes I have to just be like, “Hey, guys!” I have to be their mother, father, therapist and boss.
You’re continuing your dad Captain Phil’s Hawaiian dream (of going game fishing in Hawaii). What’s the one thing you want to do that your dad never got to do before he suffered a fatal intercranial haemorrhage in 2010?
My dad never ever caught a blue marlin. He strived to do this. It was his whole goal. He believed that if you can accomplish that, you’re a man. During a recent trip out during this series, I caught a huge blue marlin. I was so excited. Whether I managed to reel it in is another matter – you’ll have to watch to see.
What’s it like to see older episodes of your dad doing his thing?
Oh, I miss my dad. I recently watched the episode where he passed away (S6 in 2010) and, you know what, I was fine with it. I think they did a really great job with it.
What is the worst injury suffered by the crew?
Thankfully, we haven’t had massive (fatal) injuries. I mean, some of the guys in previous seasons… we’ve had a guy break everything from the waist down, which was pretty bad. But we’ve been very fortunate overall.
Do you give potential crew a thorough physical assessment before each season to make sure they’re capable?
Absolutely. The first thing I ask is: have you been to jail. If they say yes, they’re hired. Why? Because they can live in closed quarters.
Do you find there’s more interest in the fishing industry due to the show?
The industry has shrunk down over the years, but a lot of people want to join. But when you get there, there’s a 90% failure rate. It’s certainly not at all what people think it is.
Is the film crew with you throughout the entire expedition?
Yes! The guys are with us from start to finish. When I wake up in the mornings, when I go to sleep – they’re there filming. We have 6 camera guys and 2 producers, and they film everything because if something happens, they want to be there.
How much crab do you actually eat? Or is crab the last thing you’d want to see on your plate?
Ah, I love crab. I’ll never get tired of it. Just some melted butter with some garlic salt, whirl it around a bit.