The 'Deadliest Catch' Crab Season Can Last Longer for the Fishermen Than What Fans See

A 'Deadliest Catch' fisherman's time at sea during the crab season varies, according to the show's cinematographer.

Elizabeth Randolph - Author

Jul. 5 2024, Published 12:45 p.m. ET

Since it first premiered on Discovery on April 12, 2005, Discovery's Deadliest Catch has shown the beauty — and danger — of living and working out at the Bering Sea. Fans have come to know the brave fishermen who risk their lives to search for the best crabs money (and we mean lots of money) can buy. The task has been labeled one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, and only a select few are willing to come back season after season.

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Season 20 of the series follows some of the fishermen returning to prove they're not new to the Alaskan Crab Fishing game, but true to it. The new season shows many of the fishermen battling health diagnoses and other personal struggles during the crab season. But as fans already know, we see the fishermen's journeys months after it already happened. This leaves many to wonder just how long the crab season on Deadliest Catch lasts.

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How long is crab season on 'Deadliest Catch?'

Many reality shows make fans ask, "Was that real?" from their perspective couches. However, there's not much to script on Deadliest Catch, especially when they're navigating the scary Bering Sea waters. While those watching at home would rethink being immersed in a deadly sea, the Deadliest Catch fishermen consider the sea their second home, as they spend a lot of time in the water during the year.

Deadliest Catch follows the fishermen during the busy crab season between October and January. The October season marks the king crab season and lasts until the January opilio season. The season could sometimes last longer, causing the fishermen to endure harsh winds, shorter days, and being away from loved ones for longer.

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Why does the length of time at sea on 'Deadliest Catch' vary?

While the busy crab season is in the winter months, each fisherman's time on the sea for Deadliest Catch or otherwise varies. According to Alaskan King Crab Co.'s website, the season's length will depend on "the fishing guidelines or quota established for the year," which changes each year.

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Seasoned Deadliest Catch cinematographer David Reichert echoed the site's information in a 2020 interview with Gold Derby. During the interview, Reichert said the length of the crabbing journey could last from a few weeks to a few extra months at sea.

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"I'd say a usual season, you're gonna be out there four weeks," he explained. "But don't be surprised if you're out there two months, and maybe more."

Reichert also debunked any theories that the Deadliest Catch cast can take a breather once the cameras stop rolling. He said that the fishermen's hardships are real and are fully committed to their lives at sea once the busy season starts.

"You're out there," he said of the crew during crab season. "You're on the boats 24/7. You'll come in, offload you're crab... and you're back out."

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What a life!

Deadliest Catch airs new episodes on Discovery on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST.

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