Monte made his way north just two years after his older brother Keith, getting a crash course in crab fishing off remote St. Paul Island in the dead of winter. Monte's introduction to the Bering Sea took place on the deck of the crabber Juno, a partner vessel to the Alaska Trader that Keith was working on. Monte's first year in Alaska was a marathon that lasted 10 months before he took his first extended shore leave. From Monte's very first day in Alaska, his career has consisted of one adventure after another.
In 1988, he joined Keith aboard the Wizard as a full-share deck hand. A few years later, when Keith took over in the wheelhouse, Monte became deck boss. Monte earned his Coast Guard mate's license in 1992 and upgraded to a master's in 1995. By that time, Keith and Monte began operating the Wizard full time together as captain and relief captain/mate.
For a time, Monte took command of a succession of his own crab boats, giving him the opportunity to gain captain's experience and to operate his boats in partnership with Keith aboard the Wizard.
The brothers are often at odds on how things should be run, so look for tension on board. Though they have their differences, Keith has voiced full trust in Monte's ability, often noting his brother is one of a few guys in the fleet with a masters 1600-ton captain's license.
Monte is excited for the season to start, having just rebuilt the whole engine on the Wizard, about a $100,000 job. He may be the only person on the Wizard capable of calming his erratic brother, but it remains to be seen how much autonomy Monte has earned in Keith's eyes.
Last bairdi season, Monte fished out of bounds costing the Wizard time and money. Luckily Monte got off with only a small fine, but Keith could decide this enough to keep him out of the captain's chair he has his eyes on.
Gary has lived most of his life near the ocean. He moved to Alaska as a boy and began fishing early on. Deck-savvy and tough, Gary is Captain Keith's most reliable crewman. Known as Soper onboard the vessel, Gary is a full-time professional crabber, and currently serves as deck boss and first mate.
Gary has been with the Wizard for over 20 years. Early on, he worked as a deckhand alongside both Keith and Monte. More recently, he's been in charge of deck operations and drives the boat at night when the Wizard operates around the clock. He also maintains and manages both the deck and the crab pots.
A bit grizzled and quiet, Soper is the consummate fisherman, wearing tattoos of a tall ship on one arm and an anchor on the other. Captain Keith sees the anchor as symbolic of what Soper represents on-board: a solid dependable team player who has helped build the business with unwavering dedication.
The grizzled and hardened hand is known for his relentless hazing of greenhorns and his propensity for the occasional dirty joke. As a main stay on the Wizard, Soper receives the entire crew's respect.
He's not sure if Keith will hand over the helm to Monte this season, but he does prefer Monte's laid back management style. Expect another tireless season on deck accompanied by the dry quips and commentary this deck boss is known for. As a long-time crew member and friend, Gary is part of the heart and soul of the Wizard.
Lenny was born and raised in Unalaska (a close neighbor of Dutch Harbor) before the days when air service and the Bering Sea fisheries turned Unalaksa-Dutch Harbor into the top fishing port in the United States. Eight of his nine brothers and sisters were brought into the world by a midwife.
Lenny is a Native American-Russian Aleut, whose family has deep roots on the island of Unalaska going back more than a century. The Aleut culture has a rich and diverse history of fishing along the Aleutian chain, and Lenny's family honors their heritage by smoking and drying salmon every year.
Raised as a devout Russian Orthodox, Lenny has a wife and daughter and a very large extended family. It's a challenge to go anywhere in Unalaska without running into one of the Lekanoffs, many of whom have lived their entire lives on the island.
The opportunities to fish professionally came early for Lenny, and for the last 25 years, he's made his living fishing the waters of the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. A professional crabber, Lenny joined the Wizard crew after a previous vessel that he crewed on went out of business under the government-run buyback program.
On-board, Lenny is able to take charge of all the maintenance and upkeep of the ship's systems, from the engine room to the forepeak, and yet still put in a full shift as a deckhand. Though Soft-spoken and good-natured, Lenny has proven throughout past seasons that he is tough as nails. He loves being a part of the Wizard crew and has proved his meddle time after time.
When pressed, he admits to liking Monte's laid-back management style to Keith's controlling command. That's probably because Lenny likes to give back some lip and Monte allows him to slide by with more sass than Keith would ever stomach. He praises them both as excellent fishermen and looks forward to getting on the water for the upcoming season.
Lenny has spent the last eight weeks completing a rebuild of the main and auxiliary engines. As the Wizard heads to sea, Lenny's name will be on the line as his work on the engine is tested.
Kevin is an ambitious young deckhand with experience in other fisheries, but no time on a crab boat before the 2011 Opilio season. Like Roger, Kevin had not set foot on a crabbing boat until he joined Keith's crew. The captain took a shining to the horn and immediately praised Kevin for picking up the mechanics of crabbing so quickly.
Kevin's claim to fame -- and legitimate qualifier as a man of the sea -- was sailing solo to Polynesia in a 28-foot sailboat. That kind of accomplishment earned him points with the Wizard crew and Captain Keith, and his ability to learn quickly increased his standing.
This year will be Kevin's third stint on the Wizard. He's a tough worker who looks forward to seeing the crew of the Wizard, but just wants to grind out the season to earn a living. Ever the professional fisherman, he works away through the crab season in order to live a secluded life hunting and fishing salmon.
He recently put in an application for his captain's license, but Kevin claims he'll keep any long-term goals off the deck of the Wizard. However, watch for competition between Roger and Kevin, as they have a fierce desire to climb the ranks.
Since joining the Wizard, Freddy has seamlessly meshed with the stout crew. The first one on deck and the last one to leave, this Samoan stud's work ethic is exactly what Captain Keith wants in a deckhand -- though that doesn't mean Freddy is a no-nonsense guy himself.
A former hand on the Cornelia Marie, Freddy brings a positive energy to the Wizard crew, embodied by his cod blood bath ritual at the season's start and the Mohawk haircuts he gives his fellow deckhands for good luck.
Freddy wears his emotions on his sleeve and his attitude is a good barometer for the mood on deck. He's known to be particularly harsh on greenhorns, but for the most part Freddy has a fun-loving attitude that helps alleviate any stress on the Wizard's deck.
Freddie knows his captains and figures Keith will hand over the helm at least once to younger brother Monte. Freddie's good nature jives naturally with Monte's more laid-back attitude. Look to Freddie for great positive moments on deck.
When Roger joined the Wizard as a greenhorn during the record-setting 2012 Opies season, he manned the bait station with great efficiency and quickly proved to be a self-motivator on deck.
He even received a rare 'atta boy from Keith over the hailer for his excellence on deck, and earned himself a half-percent raise in just 6 days.
Roger worked as a salmon fisher before joining Keith's crew, but his most valuable asset isn't his experience; it's his attitude. He earned a coveted Wizard jacket at the end of the season, a sign that Keith sees Roger as a long-term guy for his company.
Able to work the rail, count crab, and help in the engine room, Roger has earned the full respect of the crew over the past two years. Last summer Roger spent two months on the Wizard rebuilding the engine with Lenny and the mechanics. The Wizard's usually disagreeable Engineer, Lenny, has taken Roger under his wing and trained him in the engine room every time there has been a breakdown. As Lenny gets older, Roger wants to learn more and eventually take over when the veteran retires.
He looks forward to this years king season and remains prepared for the icy grind of Opies. Roger's hard work and excellent attitude have made him a respected member of the Wizard crew.
Although Rogers is off to a stellar start, it remains to be seen if he will continue to take on more responsibility -- especially with an aging crew and his younger brother Robby Schlosstein on board.
In 2013, when greenhorn Dane Tebo proved unable to handle the Wizard crew, Keith decided to keep it in the family, hiring veteran greenhorn Roger Schlosstein's little brother Robby.
Although Keith was initially impressed with the horn's physical prowess, he quickly paired down his expectations when Robby told his new captain that he'd never worked crab fishing.
He's had some previous fishing experience though, and with an attitude completely opposite his predecessor, Robby fought hard to prove himself during Opie season.
Last season Robby showed he could handle a full season of crab fishing on the Wizard. Robby has officially become part of the Wizard's solid crew of salty sea dogs.
This season Robby will continue to learn and grind under Keith's harsh tutelage.
Technically Tyler was on the Wizard last year for Opies, but did not make Deadliest Catch. He proved himself a solid deck hand and hard-working bait boy. He'll once again be joining the Wizard for Monte's Bairdi trip this season and have to work hard to earn the approval of the crew (and avoid their customary hazing).
Robert Get 'er Done Sanders
Hailing from Washington. Robert aka Get 'er done is a hardworking jack of all outdoorsman trades, he was able to make it to Dutch Harbor at the drop of a hat to replace an injured crewman on the Wizard. Keith heard Elliott was going to be in town and asked Elliott to bring Get 'er done out to them and managed to transfer Robert over to the Wizard, in weather, by floating him across a pot full of buoys.