Every day off the coast of England dozens of deep sea fishing crews are battling rough seas in order to hunt out the most valuable fish. But life at sea is often about so much more than fish. Miles out at sea the six-man crews only have each other to rely on, eating, sleeping and working together a matter of metres apart at all times – the work is tough, tensions are high and sleep is limited, how will these men learn to co-exist? Living in an environment like this is intense, and the fixed-rig shows fishermen like you’ve never seen them before – the on-board pranks, arguments at the dinner table, seasickness and the knowledge that a single haul can turn around the fate of a boat.
Though there’s plenty of risk, the rewards can be high. After years of bad news stories and EU quota battles, the word is there is still money to be made at sea. Peak season for high-value fish is October to April – coinciding with the worst weather of the year. To succeed they have to pit themselves against dangerous weather conditions such as gale-force winds, 40-foot swells, and endless, driving rain.
Whilst the crew are out at sea, their partners and children are at home holding the fort. Constantly checking the weather and praying for a safe return some are parenting single-handedly, coping with the threat of bankruptcy, organising weddings and giving birth –life continues on land while the men are away at sea.
With a shortage of young men who have grown up in traditional fishing communities wanting to follow in their fathers’ footsteps – recruiters are having to find new fishermen from further and further afield. This combined with rumours of big pay cheques has resulted in a new generation of landlubbers looking for work at sea, luring lads with no background in fishing to England’s busiest ports. The series follows these rookies as they join the tight-knit crews on board and see if they can hack it.