Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski

posted: 04/11/12
Captain 'Wild' Bill Wichrowski
What Makes Wild Bill "Wild"

Captain "Wild" Bill Wichrowski's motto is "hard work and honesty," though he has been known to use unconventional methods -- that partly explain the nickname "Wild" -- to keep his crew going strong.

While he has a potentially intimidating reputation, Bill can back up his words with the skills to get the job done. He has extensive experience as a naval engineer, boat electrician, and commercial fisherman. He is keenly aware of the risk inherent in his profession, one widely recognized as the world's most dangerous job.

After graduating from Norwin High School in 1975, Bill joined the Navy and moved to the West Coast. When his military service ended four years later, the big money earned by Alaska's king-crab fisherman lured him to the Bering Sea.

There, he spent the next 20 years, ultimately working his way up the ladder to captain. In 2005, he semiretired to run sport fishing tours out of Costa Rica and Mexico.

Discovery Channel producers first approached Bill to join Deadliest Catch early in the television show's run, but he declined. When interest in high-end fishing expeditions began to slow due to the economy, he decided to take Discovery up on their offer and return to crab fishing on the Bering Sea.

In 2010 -- the show's sixth season -- he broke into the tight-knit circle of Deadliest Catch captains. Two years later, Bill brought his son, Zack Larson, on board his ship as a greenhorn.

Once notorious amongst the fleet for being a rugged maverick, Wild Bill's age continues to show in his softened demeanor (as well as his silvering mane). Over the past few years, "Wild" Bill has conducted himself more like "Mild" Bill, though the random imbecile deckhand still draws his ire.

Absent for much of Zack's childhood, Bill has recently begun cultivating a relationship with him, and believes that Zack has the potential to move into the wheelhouse -- but Bill manages to create conflict with Zack at every turn, and has seemingly driven Zack away from the boat for this kings season, and most likely opies. Bill often favors Nick McGlashan, an ambitious deckhand who shows initiative to seize the coveted captain's chair.

Last season, during several equipment malfunctions, Bill noticed that Nick would not hesitate to fix the problems while Zack watched from the sidelines. Bill seemed unable to motivate his son, who finally admitted that he has long-standing resentments with his father.

Bill now questions if he can successfully pass the torch to Zack or if he has to reluctantly concede that his son has decided to forge his own path. His father-son issues aside, Bill needs to make sure his first season as owner operator goes off without a hitch.

Bill is originally from Irwin, Pennsylvania, east of Pittsburgh. In the off-season, he and his wife, Karen Gillis, make their home in Sonora, San Carlos, Mexico. Bill enjoys sport fishing, travel, horseback riding, NASCAR and golf. He supports nonprofit projects including Wounded Warriors and breast cancer charities.

In addition to Zack, Bill has a younger son, Jake Wichrowski, and a daughter, Delia Wichrowski.

More Summer Bay: Captain "Wild" Bill Wichrowski | Nick McGlashan | Zack Larson | Ronnie James | Hunter Copper | Tim Boles | The Summer Bay (Boat) | All Summer Bay Bios

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