The king crab season begins with tensions at an all-time high. One deckhand threatens to quit while another sets his sights on the wheelhouse. The Kodiak enters the fray with a captain trying to get his bearings after a five-year respite. When the captains gather for their annual meeting, a line is crossed.
A storm looms as the fleet hauls their first king crab. A greenhorn on the Wizard cramps up after just a few pots, and deckhands Jake Harris and Jake Anderson are tested on unfamiliar boats. But it's veteran deckhands on the Northwestern and the Kodiak that try the captains' patience.
Captains Phil Harris and Sig Hansen's experiment in trading junior deckhands comes to an end. Jake Anderson considers a permanent change, but Jake Harris can't wait to get back to the Cornelia Marie. On the Wizard, a veteran skipper rages out when his authority is tested by his brother and his crew.
Captains Sig Hansen and Phil Harris reclaim their junior deckhands with a high seas transfer, but when the young crew members submerge themselves in the bitter, treacherous tides, the plan quickly spins out of control. Keith Colburn tries to settle a feud, and the Time Bandit crew fights to keep the boat from sinking.
A monster storm stands between the Time Bandit and their final offload for king crab season. On the Northwestern, a maniacal skipper heads into Arctic seas to hunt down the planet's most elusive crab: blue king. Cornelia Marie captain Phil Harris gives his son, Jake, an ultimatum.
A white knuckle, boat-crippling passage stands between the Time Bandit and their final offload. A maniacal skipper risks mutiny in the hunt for a rare crab species.
After the Cornelia Marie runs into a reef, Captain Phil Harris faces another massive repair and anxiety about a delayed season. On the winter crab grounds, the skippers run into a huge ice storm, and they're forced to dump icy pots far from their honey holes or risk capsizing.
Days spent bashing ice off the boats have the crews in pain. On the Northwestern, the exhausted crew struggles to keep up with Captain Sig Hansen's maniacal pace, and one deckhand pays the price in blood. Long shifts in the wheelhouse of the Cornelia Marie have skipper Phil Harris' back in excruciating pain.
The Cornelia Marie gambles on the Bering Sea's most difficult fishing grounds. An ice storm puts the Time Bandit in emergency mode with a starboard list due to ice-laden pots. Meanwhile, a boat calls the Coast Guard for a man suffering from a heart attack.
A Coast Guard helicopter attempts a rescue in dangerous seas. The deck of the Time Bandit becomes a deadly gauntlet of falling ice chunks, and on the Cornelia Marie, the skipper's son reveals a dark secret.
Johnathan Hillstrand leaves the Time Bandit for warmer waters. On the Cornelia Marie, Captain Phil Harris pays a heavy price for his hard-living ways, and a phone call home brings heartache to the Northwestern's Jake Anderson as he learns disturbing details about his father's disappearance.
A critically ill Captain Phil Harris is flown to a hospital in Anchorage, leaving his son, Josh, behind on the Cornelia Marie. On the Time Bandit, Captain Andy Hillstrand trains a young deckhand to be a relief skipper as a jealous crew looks on. The Kodiak's captain grants his crew a night at the bars in town while offloading.
As the fleet struggles through their mid-season grinds, Phil Harris battles for his life in the hospital. The Wizard is stuck in a maze of ice, and Andy Hillstrand's chosen heir on the Time Bandit is faltering. Sig Hansen's endless false promises on the Northwestern have his little brother Edgar on the brink of quitting.
The Time Bandit deck disintegrates as two deckhands fight for the captain's chair. Desperate to leave the deck of the Northwestern, Edgar Hansen trains his greenest deckhand on the hydros. As the fleet faces epic weather, Phil Harris battles for his life.
Captain Phil Harris loses his battle, and the skippers are unaware of his passing as they battle a huge storm and concentrate on filling their tanks before the end of the season. Phil's son, Josh, breaks the news to the fleet, and their emotional reactions are unforgettable.
Tensions are high on the Northwestern, where Edgar Hansen is fed up and confronts his older brother, Sig. Andy and Johnathan Hillstrand wonder if they'll ever be able to retire from the Time Bandit. Josh Harris returns to the Cornelia Marie after his father's death, and the opilio season ends with a harrowing mayday.