Andy Hillstrand is an American fisherman and reality TV star, born on 25 September 1963, in Homer, Alaska USA. He’s known for appearing in Discovery’s Channel show “Deadliest Catch” as Time Bandit’s co-Captain.
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Andrew Paul Hillstrand was born the second of three sons of John Hillstrand Sr. and Joan Phillips. Along his brothers Johnathan and Neil, he learned how to fish from an early age, as their family has been dedicated to commercial fishing for generations.
Andy’s parents divorced when he was a child. His father remarried to a woman named Nancy, while his mother currently owns and manages the online store “Homer Time Bandit”, dedicated to selling Time Bandit’s themed goods.
There’s no information about Andy’s education, however, it’s known that he’s passionate about music, and plays various instruments such as guitar and drums.
Fishing and Deadliest Catch
Andy has been co-Captaining his family’s crab fishing boat Time Bandit for years, along with his brother Johnathan. Spending the majority of his life aboard commercial ships, Andy is an expert not only on the workings of the fish trade, but has also acquired technical and practical experience on how to manage and navigate commercial fishing boats.
Officially licensed as captains with more than three decades of experience, Andy and Johnathan appeared for the first time in second season of Discovery Channel’s “Deadliest Catch”.
This reality TV show centers on the life on board with various fishing boats’ crews, as they sail seas risking their life in commercial fishing, one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, as fishermen have a fatality rate higher than flight engineers and pilots.
Showcasing crude, sensitive and somewhat violent situations, the audience of “Deadliest Catch” is mostly male, of ages largely in the 18 to 49 age group. Andy appeared in the show mainly during the Opilio crab season, while his brother Jonathan was in charge during the King crab season.
Exit of Deadliest Catch
Andy’s brother Johnathan announced at the end of “Deadliest Catch” 13th season his retirement, and with him his boat and family would also exit the show.
However, as JohNathan continued sharing videos on social media of himself fishing, it was speculated his real reason for leaving was different from what was announced. In a Facebook post on Jonathan’s official page, his social media assistant Shelly answered fans’ questions regarding this issue: ‘Plans were made for Capt Johnathan to “retire” from King Crab and Opilio Crab fishing, to start a brand new crab fishery this year. Unfortunately, paperwork and permits did not come through, so Capt Johnathan is back fishing Kings and Opilio crab this year.’
Knowing Johnathan was still actively fishing, fans of the show were hopeful the family would eventually comeback to “Deadliest Catch”.
Unfortunately, a failure in family’s fishing boat Time Bandit’s engine made it impossible for the brothers to go crab fishing in 2018.
Johnathan made the announcement on his Twitter account: ‘For all who are asking what our plans are for the season. We will be fishing as soon as the engine is back on the boat. As of today, we don’t have an agreement to have cameras on the boat. So it doesn’t look like we will be back on the show! #deadliestcatch’.
He continued with the heartbreaking news: ‘This is the first time in 38 yrs I’m going to miss a Bering Sea King crab season, besides the closer in the mid 80s!! Our main engine blew up so no season!!!’
Despite not knowing if Time Bandit’s and its crew were returning to the series, fans’ spirits were lifted after Johnathan revealed promising news days later on the boat’s status, while thanking his fans for the continued support as well: ‘Thank You everyone for all your encouraging posts!! God Bless You All! My wife and I have been busy moving to pierce county. The Time Bandit is all put back together and running great 🙂 Eddie Sr, Eddie Jr and Axel are bringing it back to Homer. I’ll keep you all posted.’
End of Fishing Adventures
“Deadliest Catch” fans’ hopes were crushed as Time Bandit was put up for sale on Dock Street Brokers in 2019.
The Hillstrand’s family boat selling price was originally $2,888,888, however, the price was subsequently lowered to $1,900,000 months later. Fans were surprised to see photos of the legendary fishing boat with a completely different appearance, as it was changed from black to red, and its name is no longer visible. This marked the end of the Hillstrand family’s fishing tradition, and Andy and his brother’s official retiring from commercial fishing.
Despite being put on sale by its owners, Time Bandit had many years of glory as it sailed waters commanded by Hillstrand’s family.
In an interview with Dockwalk in 2009, Andy revealed various interesting details about the enormous fishing boat belonging to his family: ‘The Time Bandit was built by my father, myself and my two brothers at a shipyard in Charleston, Oregon in 1991’ he said, emphasizing the reason why the boat was important for his family: ‘Time Bandit is one of the most seaworthy boats out there, and it was built with our father who is no longer with us.’
Along with this information, Andy also cleared up some technical specifications, revealing Time Bandit’s fuel capacity of the boat is 20,000 gallons, its hull to be half-inch, and its height 113 feet.
As per its interior, crew’s quarters have a dimension of 12 by 12 foot, and each cabin contained two full size beds.
Time Bandit also included facilities resembling any normal home, such as kitchen, dishwasher, microwave, stove and others. Although the boat was insured by Wells Fargo, Andy revealed it was ‘too expensive’ to provide fishermen boarding his boat with retirement benefits and health insurance.
In 2008 Andy and Johnathan co-wrote their first and so far only book entitled “Time Bandit: Two Brothers, the Bering Sea, and One of the World’s Deadliest Jobs”. In this captivating book, the brothers recount their life-endangering experiences on board of Time Bandit.
Hillstrand brothers have also dabbled in the fireworks’ market, creating their own brand named “Time Bandit Fireworks”.
In 2013 though, Time Bandit’s former deckhand David Zielinski suffered a serious injury to his right hand, the product of a malfunctioning firework of Hillstrand brothers’ brand.
Zielinski filled a lawsuit against the brand, and in 2019 a Seattle jury determined he was due compensation of $2.7 million, though as it was later determined that Zielinski was partly responsible for the accident, the amount was halved. Passionate about horse riding, Andy Hillstrand created Hobby Horse Acres – managed by Andy’s wife Sabrina, this school is located in his ranch in Indiana, and teaches kids and adults everything horsemanship-related.
Andy is married to Sabrina Hillstrand, who he met at 19 years of age in a party in their natal Homer. Andy has described being away from his wife and two children for several months a year as ‘the most difficult part’ of his job.
Sabrina, who doesn’t enjoy life on boats and stays on land while her husband is on deck, tried to convince Andy to leave fishing and find a less dangerous job, though things didn’t go as planned for the couple: ‘I owned a doughnut shop for a while, but it didn’t work out well. And she got pregnant so I needed the money and went back to fishing.’ Although life of a fishermen isn’t easy, Andy thinks the time he spends on water is worth it as he can economically provide for his family.
Andy Hillstrand is a man of white ethnicity, who has a noticeably strong build. He has green eyes, and keeps his blonde hair short length.
Andy Hillstrand’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 Million, largely the result of his long period of work in crab fishing, along with the profits provided by his firework business, published book, Time Bandit’s merchandise, and “Hobby Horse Riding”.
— Andy Hillstrand (@capt_andy) August 5, 2018
Despite being licensed as Captains, neither Andy nor his brother Johnathan are engineers; their brother Neil is Time Bandit’s engineer though. This is unusual as deck bosses are typically engineers as well.
When asked what was the most amazing thing he ever saw at sea, he answered: ‘Two hundred porpoises coming at the boat, jumping and doing everything you would see them do at Sea-World…flipping and everything.’
Hillstrand brothers rejected Discovery Channel’s first proposition to appear in “Deadliest Catch”. However, they accepted network’s second proposal after Andy saw cameras on board of The Maverick boat.