Keith Colburn | Deadliest Catch

(Last Updated On: Jan 7, 2018)

Keith Colburn is an American fisherman and TV star who has been at the helms of his own fishing vessel, The Wizard, for the last 14 years. Asides from being a world class fisherman and TV star, Keith is also a wonderful chef, a speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is best known for his role in the Discovery Channel documentary television series “Deadliest Catch,” where he has appeared as the captain of the F/V Wizard. As skipper of his vessel, Keith is known for his exceptional leadership qualities. He takes pride in the fact that under his command, no major injuries have occurred to any of his crewmembers. In fact, after each fishing season, his gauge of success is the health of his crew, the success of the expedition in terms of catch, and the condition of the boat.

With 16 years of captainship experience and 23 years at sea, Keith Colburn is a veteran in the crab fishing business and a real adventurer.

Birth and early life

Keith Colburn (age 55 in 2018) was born on March 10, 1963 as Keith Harold Colburn in Redmond, California, United States. There isn’t much information about Keith’s family except for the fact that he has a sibling named Monte Colburn. Keith has not revealed much information about his childhood and educational background. What is known is that he grew up in Placerville, California and has always been an adventurer. He started working at a restaurant at the age of 14 and worked there for about 6 years.

Coming to Alaska

At the age of 22, Keith Colburn and his best friend, Kurk Frankenburg decided to move to Alaska. They landed in Kodiak, Alaska without any defined skill but in high spirits. They were said to have had nothing but a sleeping tent and $50. Excited about the prospect of working at sea, Keith started off as a true greenhorn on the Alaska Trader, a 135 foot crabber/tender.


From his days as a greenhorn on the Alaska Trader, Keith was focused on living the life of a true fisherman. In 1988, he became a full share deckhand on The Wizard. Two years later, he received his US Coast Guard licence, moving from deck to the pilothouse. In 1992, he received his captain license.

Keith Colburn learned the craft of crabbing from a veteran named John Jorgensen. He was reportedly told by John to tune off the rest of the fishing fleet if he wanted to catch crabs or tune in if he wanted to follow people. This advice has stuck with Colburn and has helped him severally to achieve more catch than most others.

His fishing career actually started when he purchased The Wizard. The acquisition was considered a risky undertaking as the vessel was built back in 1945 by the United States Navy. Over the years, the decision has proved to be an excellent one as the vessel has served the captain and his crew and is still sound.

Keith Colburn’s fishing career has been nothing short of amazing. In 2002, for instance, when The Wizard went 200 miles further north than other fishing vessels, the captain and his crew delivered 540,000 Ibs of snow crab even though the average catch that season was barely 130,000 Ibs. Such monumental success was recorded again in 2004 when Captain Colburn and his crew delivered a total of 400,000 Ibs of crab in a season where the fleet average was 125,000 Ibs, and the second highest producing vessel delivered just about 250,000 Ibs.

Deadliest Catch

Discovery Channel approached Keith Colburn to be part of the series “Deadliest Catch” which follows the ordeals of several fishing vessels in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan king crab, opilio crab, and bairdi crab fishing seasons. He joined the show in its third season and has appeared regularly in all the seasons till present. Through the show, Keith Colburn’s heroics as an exceptional fisherman has been shown to millions of viewers and he subsequently shot to limelight as a result.

Keith Colburn has equally appeared in the series “After the Catch,” which focuses on the reunion of the fishermen of the Deadliest Catch at a waterfront bar to reminisce about their adventures and experience at sea. Together with Sig Hansen, Jonathan Hillstrand, Elliot Neese and some others, Keith has appeared on several episodes of the program.

Other engagements

Asides from being the captain of The Wizard and appearing in Deadliest Catch, Keith Colburn is involved in a number of other activities. He is a chef, a speaker at leadership and team building workshops, as well as an entrepreneur. He is an ambassador for the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, a charitable education nonprofit organization. He is also an advocate of safety and sustainable fisheries.

Personal life

Keith Colburn was married to Florence Colburn for 25 years. The couple has two children, son, Caelan Colburn and daughter, Sienna Colburn. Keith and Florence had some troubled time and eventually got divorced. The captain still maintains a healthy relationship with his family. He is in good terms with his ex-wife and his two children who are both independent.

When he is not at sea, Captain Keith Colburn loves to travel and engage in other adventurous activities. He rides his bicycle, runs triathlons, and coaches little league. He recently ran with the bulls in Pamplona.

Net worth

On the average, Keith Colburn earns about $440 per day. He is regarded as one of the wealthiest fishermen, making most of his money from his commercial fishing career. He also makes a good amount of money from his appearances in the TV programs “Deadliest Catch” and “After the Catch”.

On a monthly basis, Keith Colburn takes home about $12,500, which amounts to $150,000 per annum. As at 2017, he reportedly had an estimated net worth of $2 million, making him one of the richest fishermen in the world.

Keith Colburn has spent the better part of his life at sea. Though he was once quoted as saying that fishing is the greatest and worst lifestyle in the world, one can easily see that he enjoys every bit of it. Still bubbling with life, we hope to see more of the overly-prepared and meticulous captain of The Wizard doing what he loves to do.

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