Deadliest Catch's Wild Bill Has One Fishing Superstition He Takes Very Seriously
Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

With treacherous seas, awful weather, unforeseen mechanical failures, swinging equipment, and the pressure of catching a specific quota of elusive crab, it’s no surprise that the captains of Discovery’s “Deadliest Catch” require all the luck they can get. In contrast to most lines of employment, each day on the Bering Sea brings a new challenge, whether it be financial or safety-related. This, for sure, contributes to all the different superstitious actions — or lack of action — that the leaders of these vessels are forever committed to.

Over more than two decades of “Deadliest Catch,” fans have grown familiar with several of these veteran captains’ superstitious actions. For example, Sig Hansen and his crew of the Northwestern all enjoy the tradition of pointing to the newest greenhorn to bite off the head of a raw herring, before starting a new season. As for Keith Colburn of the Wizard, his captain’s chair appears surrounded by superstitious items that only he seems to comprehend. This includes the light punching of a feline bobblehead’s noggin, over and over again. Other superstitions have become boundaries that captains have strived to break, such as Hansen’s efforts to overcome the problematic fishing superstition that led many captains to avoid hiring women to work on their boats.

As for captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski, the fishing veteran seems to be one of the rare leaders who doesn’t care much for superstitions. That is, except for one. For Wichrowski, the legend of an old lost military vessel is not only a superstition he doesn’t ignore, but will even cause him to alter his entire crabbing schedule.

This superstition goes back to the 1800s

Deadliest Catch's Wild Bill Has One Fishing Superstition He Takes Very Seriously
Discovery/YouTube

The captains of the boats featured on “Deadliest Catch,” unsurprisingly have their own superstitions to bow to, before and during the dangerous crabbing season. For “Wild” Bill Wichrowski, he’s managed to give no credence to all of them, except one that dates back to the 1800s. For Wichrowski, the story of the British Battleship, HMS Friday, rattles the usually solid captain enough for him to succumb to the legend, and its morbid warning.

According to a myth recounted by the Daily Star, the British Royal Navy tried to erase their sailors’ belief that casting off on a Friday was bad luck by naming a brand new vessel the HMS Friday, commanded by a man named Captain James Friday. Leaning into the superstition even further, the ship’s maiden voyage set off on a Friday the 13th. Unsurprising to the believers, the vessel was never heard from again. Thanks to this story, many captains of the Bearing Sea fleet believe that it is bad luck to start the fishing season on a Friday.

As for “Wild Bill Wichrowski, when asked by Fox News if he had any superstitions that he followed, the legend of the HMS Friday was always the one he took seriously. He said, “I’m not an extremely superstitious guy, but the leaving on Friday thing. Some facts back that one up. The vessel Friday left on a Friday and they were lost. And I don’t know if it’s just chance, but it seems like if you push the envelope and you leave on a Friday, you’re just waiting for something to happen.” However, despite Wichrowski believing there are facts to back this up, the tale of the HMS Friday is pure fiction. The truth is the Royal Navy debunked the story, denying the vessel ever existed.

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