Johnathan Hillstrand is an American reality television personality, commercial sea fisherman, and boat captain. While he has been at the helm of several boats over the years, his association with F/V Time Bandit has been the longest. Aboard the fishing vessel, Johnathan is a meticulous and careful person and prioritizes the safety of the crew and boat first. When not in professional mode Johnathan is a funny person and likes to spice things up with pranks and friendly competition, he is also notorious for his shenanigans. Johnathan rose to fame with the reality television show “Deadliest Catch” and has been a big part of its several spin-offs including “Deadliest Catch: The Bait,” “Deadliest Catch: After The Catch” and “Deadliest Catch: Bloodline.”
Johnathan Hillstrand was born on August 5, 1962, in Homer, Alaska, United States. He comes from a family of fishermen and is a third generation on the line. Growing up in Alaska he got exposed to the sea and would join his father Johnathan Sr. in his fishing vessel as early as the age of three. By the age of seven, Johnathan could reel in fish all by himself. He ventured into commercial fishing at the age of 17.
Career and Progression
Johnathan rose through the ranks in commercial fishing. During his early years, he worked as Deckhand and learned the different traits of commercial fishing. Meanwhile, he also worked on his piloting skill and later obtained the captain license.
Johnathan took the helm of F/V Time Bandit, of 113-foot vessel that his father designed in 1991. For over eight years Johnathan fished lobster off the New England coast before turning to lucrative King Crab in the Bering Sea. During off seasons Johnathan has turned to salmon fishing usually in summer. He is the primary captain of the ship while his younger brother started as a deck boss and later began to co-captain.
In addition to commercial fishing, Johnathan is involved in the operation of his other businesses with include Time Bandit Fireworks, Time Bandit Spirits, Time Bandit Entertainment, Time Bandit Productions, and The Time Bandit Gear Store. He is also an author of a book named Time Bandit which chronicles the fishing journey of two Hillstrand brothers (John and Andy) from Alaska.
Johnathan joined the cast of the “Deadliest Catch” in 2006 in its second season. “Deadliest Catch” is a popular reality television show that airs on the Discovery Channel. The show follows the lives of Alaskan crab fishermen as they brave the harsh and dangerous conditions of the Bering Sea to catch king and opilio crabs. It has been on the air since 2005 and is one of the highest-rated shows on the Discovery Channel. The show focuses on the challenges faced by the fishermen, including inclement weather, mechanical issues, and the competition for the catch. John regularly appeared until the 13th season. During the 13th season finale episode titled “Johnathan Hillstrand Legacy,” John announced his retirement from fishing after 37 years. He puts his retirement as,
“You see me back out here again, kick me right in the nuts and gouge my eyes out. I’ll do it myself … if I come out here again. I’ll kick myself in my own nuts and poke my own eye.”
Even though he did not make any appearances in the following seasons 14 and 15 John was left to eat his word. He returned as relief captain of the fishing vessel “Saga” in 2020 during the 16th season. Since he has returned back to captain “Time Bandit” and regularly appeared on the show. John has made 182 Deadliest Catch appeareances from 2006-2022.
Johnathan Hillstrand is active on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. He often posts updates about his fishing adventures, his family, his books, and his fans. He has over 165k followers on Twitter and over 46k followers on Instagram.
Johnathan makes his money as a reality television actor, commercial fisherman, and through different business endeavors. As of now, Johnathan has a net worth of $2.5 Million.
Johnathan is used to getting recognition at places thanks to his status as a reality television actor. Some of the public appearances that Johnathan Hillstrand has made over the years are:
The Paley Center for Media’s Annual Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on April 6, 2010, in New York City, along with other TV personalities like Mike Rowe, Paul Teutel Sr., Andy Hillstrand, Buddy Valestro, Paul Teutel Jr., and David Salmoni.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2012, in Homestead, Florida, where he celebrated with Tony Stewart in Victory Lane.
The Deadliest Catch’s Twitter For Tough Guys panel at Hyatt Hotel during the 2010 Summer TCA Tour on July 30, 2010, in Beverly Hills, California, along with other captains like Keith Colburn and Sig Hansen.
Johnathan is the second born of five sons from his parents. David Hillstrand is the oldest and currently works in the North Slope of Alaska. Johnathan is followed by Andy and then by Michael the latter currently working in the medical field in Georgia. Neal Hillstrand is the youngest of five.
Three of the five Hillstrand Brothers have worked together in the sea and also share the ownership of F/V Time Bandit. Johnathan and Andy serve as co-captain while Neal has worked as the boat’s chief engineer and primary cook. Neal also has performed on deck and in times of absolute necessity has taken the captain position.
Not much information about John’s mother has surfaced in the media however after the divorce she got married to another man. As for John Sr., he got married to Nancy Hillstrand who currently owns the family seafood distribution business. Also, Johnathan has a stepbrother named Lincoln Brewster who is a contemporary Christian musician.
If we look at the family tree, Johnathan’s paternal grandparents Earl David Hillstrand and Mary Jane Lloyd set the tradition of fishing in the family.
Wife and Kids:
Often captains complain about not being able to spend most of the time with family which is also a frustrating part of their job. As it goes, they are engaged to onboard men crews and spend most of the time in the sea. Although Johnathan has not shared about the impact of his profession on his personal life, one thing is evident he has had his share of heartbreak.
Johnathan is divorced from his ex-wife whom he shares two children. His grown-up son Scott Hillstrand is born from the relationship. Scott has a son named Sawyer making Johnathan a grandfather. Scott worked in Time Bandit before his uncle Andy fired him. He now oversees the Hillstrand construction company.
As they say, the second time is the charm, Johnathan is currently married to Heather Hamilton. The pair shared a relationship for years before tying the knot on November 6, 2017. Heather now goes by Heather Hillstrand the surname she gets from her captain husband. Like Johnathan Heather was also a divorcee and had children from her ex-husband.
Likes & Hobbies:
When not fishing Jonathan likes to go bike riding on his Harley and spend time with friends and family. He is also a NASCAR and NHRA enthusiast, and an avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
Johnathan Hillstrand has a height of 6 feet (182 cm) and a weight of around 75 kg (165 lbs). He has dark brown hair and brown eyes. He also has a distinctive beard and mustache. Johnathan usually wears jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and hats. He favors dark colors like black, gray, and blue. His style reflects his personality as a fisherman and a TV star.
Place of Birth
Homer, Alaska, United States
60 years old
August 5, 1962
Commercial Fisherman, Television Personality, Boat Captain