About Captain Wild Bill

Captain Wild Bill Wichrowski

Bill’s motto is “hard work and honesty,” though he has been known to use unconventional methods — that partly explains 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. He semi-retired in 2005 to run sports-fishing tours out of Costa Rica and Mexico.

Discovery Channel producers first approached Bill to join Deadliest Catch early in the 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.

In 2010 — the show’s 6th 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 greenhorn.

Bill is originally from Irwin, PA, east of Pittsburgh. In the off-season, he and his wife, Karen Gillis, make their home in San Carlos, Mexico. Bill enjoys travel, horseback riding, NASCAR, and sports fishing. He supports nonprofit projects including Wounded Warriors and breast cancer charities. In addition to Zack, he has a younger son, Jake, and a daughter, Delia.

Boats Wild Bill has captained in his career:

  • F/V Zone Five
    F/V Zone Five
  • F/V Arctic Eagle
    F/V Arctic Eagle
  • F/V Sandra Five
    F/V Sandra Five
  • F/V Kodiak
    F/V Kodiak