Andy Hillstrand’s Online Chat Transcript, June 5, 2007

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Beth 44: Captain Andy, thanks for spending your time with us. Is there a way that we can send letters or email to you and the Time Bandit crew?

Andy Hillstrand: You can send emails and letters to us by going to We have message boards and ways to communicate with us.

Bugga314: How many years have you captained the boat, and how many years have you been fishing?

Andy Hillstrand: I've been fishing for 26 years, and we built the Time Bandit in 1991. So I'd say that's 16 years that I've been running the Time Bandit for opilio. (I hope I'm doing the math right!)

Melinda: How often do you go to Alaska and how long do you stay?

Andy Hillstrand: I lived in Alaska for 40 years, so I was always there. Nowadays, I spend about 3—4 months a year up there fishing: 2 months for king crab, and 2 months for opilio. I love what I do down here in Indiana, so I don't really miss Alaska because I know I'll be back.

Lhiiiz: What was it like to build the Time Bandit?

Andy Hillstrand: It was pretty challenging. We built it with our father, so we built that whole boat in 9 months, which is pretty good: me and all my brothers. I have 5 brothers total, counting myself. And as you can expect, we had some times with our father when we didn't get along too well. But to build a crab boat like that in 9 months is pretty good.

Cheryl in NC: Has the show changed the way you do things?

Andy Hillstrand: The show hasn't changed the way we do things, but the way the federal government has changed the fishing industry has. We now have a quota system, so we don't have the derby-style fishing any more. But we've changed the way we do things because when we got that guy out of the water, it made us realize we have to keep a line around a guy when he goes down over the side. So we've actually learned something from watching the show. That was one improvement we could afford to make.

Clint445: Greetings from Athens, Tx. I have a two part question. When y'alls crab processor was out of commission, some crews couldn't fish because they were contracted only to them. How come you don't have a clause in your contract that says you can offload anywhere during situations beyond your control? And second, do y'all eat any of the crab you catch while you are fishing, or are they strictly to be sold?

Andy Hillstrand: First question: the federal government told us we can only deliver to that one processor, so that's why we couldn't deliver anywhere else That's one of the problems with this quota system. And yeah, we eat the crab all the time! We never get sick of it, because it's so fresh. That's what we are hoping to be able to do is get fresh crab to people instead of frozen, because it's a whole different taste.

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