Why did Jake Harris from “Deadliest Catch” go to jail? When does he get out?

March 21, 2024
8 mins read

“Deadliest Catch” is a documentary series that follows the real-life high-sea adventures of Alaskan crab fishermen aboard vessels in the Bering Sea. The show has been running for 18 seasons, amassing a considerable following and spawning several spin-offs. Since it debuted, the series has followed several fishers and vessels, including the Cornelia Maria, captained by Phil Morris. The Captain’s two sons, Jake and Josh, were introduced in the second season, quickly becoming regulars. Unfortunately, since his debut performance, Jake has become known for his drug issues, which would eventually land him in hot water.

About the Show

Allegedly inspired by the 2000 Wolfgang Peterson movie “The Perfect Strom,” which is based on a real-life incident, “Deadliest Catch” was created by Thom Beers, who spent some time abroad on the fishing boat Fierce Allegiance. At the time, Thom was filming a different series for Discovery entitled “Extreme Alaska”, when he came up with the next idea.

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The show carries the name “Deadliest Catch” due to the numerous dangers and inherent peril of the Alaskan commercial fishing industry. In 1980, the death rate associated with this industry was at its peak; reportedly over 37 fishermen died yearly. According to a statistic from 2006, commercial fishing has a higher fatality rate than pilots, flight engineers, and loggers, which are considered highly hazardous occupations.

However, after establishing new safety regulations and fishing permits, the number has seen a decline. Regardless, accidents still happen, especially when you are in an unstable and uncontrollable environment, where 30-foot waves lashing the deck are nothing out of the ordinary. In addition to the waves, fishers are always at risk of being crushed by the heavy swinging crab cage-pot, smashed by a hydraulic lift, or entangled in a winch. Even if the whole crew survives, the injury rate is 100% simply due to extreme weather conditions, and drowning and hypothermia are other downsides of this business.

Show’s Format

“Deadliest Catch” follows several groups of fishermen on the unpredictable Bering Sea during the king crab season in October, and opilio crab season in January. The series highlights the hazards on the decks, and the camera crew, as they perform several jobs at once, such as ducking heavy crab pots and maneuvering hundreds of pounds of crab in freezing temperatures in gale-force winds.


Every episode is centered around an exciting story or situation that transpires on one or more vessels. The side stories are usually concerned with activities of one or more members – especially ‘greenhorns,’ rookie new member -, and their first experience managing this job. In addition, the vessel’s captains are featured prominently, and their camaraderie and relationships with the crew and other captains are highlighted.

Similar to many Discovery series of this type, the competitiveness and friendly rivalry is a striking theme because, after all, the crew and their captains are trying to reel in as much crab as possible to earn the most remuneration. One of the most known rivalries is between Sig Hansen of the Northwestern and Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand of the Time Bandit.


If you ever wondered about the filming and the camera crew, they arrive a week before the season begins, set up cameras, and ensure everyone is up to speed regarding training and gear. While filming this series might seem attractive, it’s not a pleasure cruise, and the filming crew cannot jump on a different boat and head to a nice, cozy hotel; in fact, they live with the fishermen on the ship for three to five weeks. Given that the quarters on the vessel are tight, every boat has only two film crew members, who have to capture the most interesting and extreme shots while experiencing cold winds, splashes of freezing water, and avoiding numerous crew members running errands on deck.

The reality series is basically a filmed record of everyday life on the boat. It follows people when they are on their best but also worst behavior, which is typical in such a stressful line of business, and when you have limited space. That is why the production often has to censor inappropriate language and gestures, and blur some scenes to make them appropriate for TV audiences.

Who is Jake Harris?

Jacob Jake Harris is a sea crab fisherman and TV personality, who gained popularity starring in “Deadliest Catch .”He was born on the 23 October 1985, in Seattle, Washington State USA, to parents Mary and Phil Harris – the latter died in 2010. Given that his father had decades-long experience as a fisherman, Jake and his brother Josh developed an interest and affinity for fishing from a young age. Talking of his education, Jake attended high school, but simultaneously worked as a fisherman with his father.

TV Reality Career

Before becoming a full-time fisherman, Jake worked various other jobs, including as a pizza delivery boy. When he was 19, he joined his father’s crew on the boat named “Cornelia Marie.” Initially, he occupied the ship’s bait boy position, but eventually moved up the ladder. His and his family’s life changed in 2006, after his father’s vessel was chosen for “Deadliest Catch.” Jake, his father, and his brother made their debut appearance in the second season, becoming TV celebrities, and gaining enormous exposure for their business, which resulted in a significant rise in net worth.

What Happened to Jake?

Following his father’s death, Jake took a downward spiral, but joined the Northwestern ship’s crew, but didn’t stay long with them; in 2012, he left the “Deadliest Catch.” On the other hand, his brother bought the Cornelia Marie vessel with Casey McManus, to continue his father’s profession Then he and his brother co-wrote a book about their father, entitled “Captain Phil Harris: The Legendary Crab Fisherman, Our Hero, Our Dad’, which was published in 2014.


Drug and alcohol abuse

Reportedly, since his teenage years, Jake often had problems with drugs and alcohol consumption. According to his statement, Jake was a skater and a bad one, and he would often get involved in accidents resulting in injuries, particularly fractures. Unfortunately for Jake, the following period after his father died would pose many obstacles and difficulties. The same year, Jake crashed his car in Seattle and fled the scene. Subsequently, he was busted for drinking under the influence (DUI), and also charged with hit and run, and driving with a suspended license. The police officer said: ‘Mr. Harris was spotted driving a BMW 3 Series erratically by a citizen in Shoreline, Washington. We were able to locate his vehicle by aircraft, and he was pulled over in the Seattle area. The car was registered to his father. He failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a toxicological test.’

In 2016, Jake was assaulted, robbed and abandoned, being kicked out of a moving car. Luckily for Jake, some by-passers spotted him on the side of the road bleeding, and called the cops and ambulance. He then spent some time in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) due to the severity of his injuries, especially to the head.

Despite this near-death experience, he perpetuated his unhealthy habits, and in 2017 he was arrested for possessing Xanax and crystal meth. Jake, who was supposed to appear at the hearing in Phoenix, failed to do so, and so a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. In an interview, Josh talked about Jake’s issues, saying ‘My brother’s been going through issues. He’s lost in drugs still. Jake’s gotta take care of his own stuff right now. Deal with his demons.’

In January 2019, Jake was seen under the influence of alcohol or drugs in a state park in Skagit County, Washington State. He was then involved in a car chase, which you can watch on YouTube. He also refused to take a sobriety test; at the time of this incident, he had already been arrested twice for drinking under the influence (DUI). Running from law enforcement is never a good idea, and Jake learned it the hard way. He was eventually caught and arrested, after a stolen weapon and drugs were found in his vehicle. The police officer found 14 grams of heroin, and Jake pleaded guilty to two felony charges.

Jail Time

In August 2019, Jake was sentenced to 18 months in jail. His brother spoke to TV Show Ace saying: ‘He’s been doing well and just taking baby steps with him, and he’s still working through this stuff. If he’s comfortable and feels good enough and strong enough to return to work, then we’re here with open arms for him. Josh also added that Jake was in a relationship with a woman who had children in her previous relationships, and that he loved being a dad.

However, after Jake was released from jail, he slipped and returned to his pattern of behavior. He was arrested again in May 2021 for ‘DUI, driving while license revoked/suspended 1st degree, and driving without an ignition interlock when required.’ According to reports, he was busted in Mount Vernon, Washington State, after he was caught breaking the speed limit, and when he was pulled over, he seemed to be under the influence. The police officers questioned him about it, and he claimed he was on prescription drugs, but refused to reveal which drugs he’d taken. He refused to take a sobriety test, and so was charged with DUI. Jake was released after posting a $50,000 bail.

Later in an interview, Jake talked about his father’s death and its impact, revealing: ‘I got a big hole in my heart and tried to fill it up with everything that wasn’t good for it. It took me a while to realize what I really wanted out of life. It was a big trip-up, threw my world upside down, put me in a real sad place, kind of made things worse before they got better.”


Did he return to “Deadliest Catch”?

Yes! He appeared in the 16th season finale of the “Deadliest Catch”, and has been actively working with his brother on their father’s boat. Jake has also appeared in the show’s spin-off series, “Deadliest Catch: Bloodline,” which premiered in 2020. The series follows Josh Harris, his partner Casey McManus, and Jeff Silva as they hunt for tuna, barracuda and other species in Hawaii.

How did Jake’s father, Phil, die?

His father, who had been fishing from the age of eight, experienced numerous accidents during his decades-long career as a crab fisherman. Then in 2008, he was thrown from his bunk during a storm, resulting in several broken ribs. After spending a couple of hours coughing up blood, Jake and Josh convinced him to see a doctor, and tasked the film crew to monitor his condition. Later it was established that he had a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of an artery in a lung by a substance. Due to this condition, he was forced to quit fishing for a year, but returned to the show and his job in 2009.


On 29 January 2010, during the show’s sixth season he suffered a stroke while offloading crabs at St. Paul Island, Alaska. Phil was taken to a hospital for surgery, and put into an induced coma to reduce intracranial pressure caused by the stroke. Phil awoke from the coma, and his condition seemingly improved, as he could hold hands and talk to people. Even his doctors were astonished by his quick improvement. However, it didn’t last long. On 9 February, he had an intracranial bleed or hemorrhage, and passed away at age 53.

Jake and Joshua addressed their father’s passing, saying: ‘It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our dad, Captain Phil Harris. Dad has always been a fighter and continued to be until the end. For the crew and us, he was someone who never backed down. We will remember and celebrate that strength. Thanks to everyone for their prayers.’ Phil’s last appearance in “Deadliest Catch” was in the sixth season.


Jake Harris’ life story shows that those with celebrity status and family background are not immune to mundane sins and transgressions. Even the most prominent celebrities have had their share of problems with the law or themselves. After all, we are all human, and humans do make mistakes. Luckily, Jake has now set out on a straight path.

Martha Clifford

As an Author at Net Worth Post, I guide a dedicated team in the art of revealing the stories behind the world's most influential personalities. Fueled by a relentless curiosity and a knack for uncovering hidden stories, I immerse myself in the intricacies of our subjects' lives, weaving together accurate data and compelling narratives. My involvement spans the entire editorial process, from the seed of research to the final flourish of publication, ensuring that every article not only educates but also captivates and motivates our audience.

At Net Worth Post, we are committed to providing thorough investigations into the net worth and life achievements of innovators across diverse sectors such as technology, culture, and social entrepreneurship. My method merges meticulous research with eloquent storytelling, designed to bridge the gap between our readers and the remarkable individuals who redefine our tomorrow. Through spotlighting their journeys to success, the hurdles they've surmounted, and their contributions to society, we aim to give our readers a deep and inspiring insight into the luminaries who are paving the way for progress and ingenuity in the modern era.

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