Please wait (up to a minute) while we process your order.

Thank you.

Submit
(or pick-up)


Add To Cart
(or enter your zipcode)

Try Another Zip Code?
(or pick-up)

Add To Cart
close
Join Real Good Fish
Join Now
Forgot Password
You will receive an email from us shortly. Click the link to set a new password.
submit
Reset Password
Success! Your password has been reset
submit
User Settings
submit
Email Required
Before you continue browsing the site we need your email
submit
Real Good Fish | Fishermen A-Z | | Fishermen A-Z | Bringing you the freshest sustainably caught LOCAL seafood!
“Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for.”
- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Dave Biagini

Dave loves the ocean and saltwater. He started fishing at Coyote Point in San Mateo years ago and hasn't quit. Today, he lives in Aromas and makes a living as a real estate broker as well as a commercial fisherman. He believes that living in north Monterey County allows him to enjoy some of the...

Dave loves the ocean and saltwater. He started fishing at Coyote Point in San Mateo years ago and hasn't quit. Today, he lives in Aromas and makes a living as a real estate broker as well as a commercial fisherman. He believes that living in north Monterey County allows him to enjoy some of the best saltwater fishing anywhere!

His favorite fish to catch AND eat is California halibut, because they're tasty and close to shore. His favorite preparation is beer battered and deep fried. 

Dave says that there’s a lot of skill and attention to detail that goes into commerical fishing, and it takes years to perfect techniques. The best part of fishing in Monterey Bay: it’s one hobby that (sometimes) pays for itself! 

Read More
icon
Tags
Stan Bruno

Stan Bruno is a long time salmon, albacore, sand dab, and crab fisherman. A man of many skills, Stan has always made his living working outdoors. For many years Stan complemented his fishing career in the off season by guiding hunts for big game like elk and working on the fire crew for the US...

Stan Bruno is a long time salmon, albacore, sand dab, and crab fisherman. A man of many skills, Stan has always made his living working outdoors. For many years Stan complemented his fishing career in the off season by guiding hunts for big game like elk and working on the fire crew for the US Forest Service. Stan owns and operates three boats out of Santa Cruz harbor: The Anchor Steam, The Gayle, and The Grinder.

The Gayle was transferred to Stan by his good friend John Hulliger, one of our community fishermen out of Moss Landing who passed away in 2014. Stan takes fishing seriously and is one of the most well respected fishermen in our community, not only for his ability to find and catch fish, but for his respect for the sea: “Any good hunter or fisherman doesn’t overharvest because they want to continue to go back to the area they hunt or fish. If hunting or fishing is their life, it’s in their interest to harvest responsibly.” Good fishermen like Stan catch Real Good Fish.

Read More
Kevin Butler

Kevin Butler grew up fishing and foraging up and down the California coast and ended up in Santa Cruz for the last 4 decades. He brought his fresh catches home and learned to prepare them. As a child, he preferred salmon roe and sea urchin to soda and candy, outdoors to the inside. His childhood...

Kevin Butler grew up fishing and foraging up and down the California coast and ended up in Santa Cruz for the last 4 decades. He brought his fresh catches home and learned to prepare them. As a child, he preferred salmon roe and sea urchin to soda and candy, outdoors to the inside. His childhood passions have developed into his current careers: a fisherman and chef.

He now fishes commercially for halibut, seabass, lingcod, rockfish, and sand dabs. He feels more comfortable on the water than on land. “When I go out fishing, I never have any idea how the day will work out," he said.  “But I’m away from cell phones, and land that can sometimes be claustrophobic.”

He not only sells seafood to Real Good Fish, but also works with Real Good Fish as our chef, preparing seafood for our events and doing our cooking demonstrations. He was the Executive Chef at Café Rio in Aptos, and enjoys showing people how really great local seafood can be.  “Instead of teaching or talking to people about how good fish can be, I got into showing them." If you've tried his chowder, anchovies or squid calamari at our events, you'll experience this for yourself. 

Read More
Calder Deyerle

Calder has been a fishermen since day one. Learning to fish with his father, Richard, and uncle, Daniel, he was a deckhand until he was old enough to run his own boat. For many years while their company, Sea Harvest, was more involved with processing, Calder was running the crab and black cod...

Calder has been a fishermen since day one. Learning to fish with his father, Richard, and uncle, Daniel, he was a deckhand until he was old enough to run his own boat. For many years while their company, Sea Harvest, was more involved with processing, Calder was running the crab and black cod boats. Calder got his first boat in 2008 and has been fishing on his own ever since. Now he fishes nearshore rockfish, Dungeness crab, salmon, halibut, and albacore.

Miles is Calder's son, and he can be found wherever his father is, from the docks of Moss Landing to fishing out at sea, and even surfing the breaks off our coast - a little waterman in training. Calder's favorite fishery is Dungeness crab because it makes him a good living. For pure enjoyment, Calder prefers nearshore rockfish because the peace and quiet and beauty down the coast where he fishes can't be beat. For eating, it's all about the king salmon for him, thrown on the grill with a special mixture of mayonnaise, capers, dill, lemon, and a few other secret ingredients on top. No flipping the fish. The joys of fishing for Calder are in the freedom and life on the ocean, and the challenges are balancing time on the water with time with his family.

Read More
Walter Deyerle

Walter has been fishing his whole life. As the son of Richard Deyerle, his first footsteps, along with his brother Calder, were probably on his father's boat. Walter started commercial fishing at the age of 19 and has continued full time through thick and thin. Walter and his deckhand, Marshall,...

Walter has been fishing his whole life. As the son of Richard Deyerle, his first footsteps, along with his brother Calder, were probably on his father's boat. Walter started commercial fishing at the age of 19 and has continued full time through thick and thin. Walter and his deckhand, Marshall, currently fish for rockfish, black cod, halibut, and Dungeness crab. Walter's favorite fish is hardheads (thornyhead, idiot fish, etc.) simply battered with italian seasoning and pan fried.

Read More
Tom Ebert

Tom Ebert founded American Abalone Farms, in 1989 with 50 seawater tanks. Located in Davenport on the “Slow Coast,” he has built up the business over time and the company has grown to over 3000 tanks today, with more being installed every day.

Tom grew up along the Central California Coast and...

Tom Ebert founded American Abalone Farms, in 1989 with 50 seawater tanks. Located in Davenport on the “Slow Coast,” he has built up the business over time and the company has grown to over 3000 tanks today, with more being installed every day.

Tom grew up along the Central California Coast and spent many days at a research lab in Carmel run by his father, a research biologist for Fish & Game. Tom explained, “My father did research behind abalone, oysters, clam, lobsters. Since I was 10 years old, I spent time in the lab and was exposed to it. I then got my masters at Moss Landing Marine Laboratory and my focus in grad school was abalone. After I graduated, I was looking around for a career, and an abalone farm seemed a good opportunity. There was demand for live seafood, and this is especially sustainably produced.”

 

Read More
Ron Farquhar

Ron Farquhar started fishing around 2002. Originally from San Francisco, a love of scuba diving brought him south to Monterey and he gradually eased his way into work as a commercial fisherman. In Ron’s case, a long “career” of personal spearfishing was his entry point. Next, he started working...

Ron Farquhar started fishing around 2002. Originally from San Francisco, a love of scuba diving brought him south to Monterey and he gradually eased his way into work as a commercial fisherman. In Ron’s case, a long “career” of personal spearfishing was his entry point. Next, he started working on charter fishing boats and then started his own business, Westwind Charter Sport Fishing & Excursions. The Westwind is a 31′ Island Hopper that calls Moss Landing its home port.

Ron now fishes commercially when salmon, halibut, albacore tuna, and white seabass are in season – generally from May to November. Throughout his work in fishing, the intimate knowledge of underwater “structure” (topography) he gained during his spearfishing and diving days has helped him to understand where to look for fish. Ron particularly enjoys fishing for white seabass and albacore since there’s so much excitement involved. The closure of the salmon seasons in 2008 and 2009 were tough, and adjusting to the rapid increase in area closures for MPAs has been difficult as well. Other challenges include occasional flooding of the market (leading to price drops) and fuel costs.

Ron tries to take advantage of fish closer to shore when possible to keep fuel costs down. Being able to sell to local buyers is a highlight of fishing for him, and he likes to know his local community is enjoying his catch. One of the most rewarding aspects of spending time on the ocean is seeing whales and dolphins, and being able to track schools of fish by watching birds feeding – it’s a way of witnessing the entire environmental cycle.

When not fishing, Ron works for the City of Monterey as a security worker for Monterey Harbor. In the course of patrolling the marina and wharf areas and checking on boats and moorings, Ron enjoys the people and hearing their stories from around the world. He also is able to keep a close eye on the types of fish being brought in by other fishermen on a daily basis. We’re glad to have started buying fish from Ron and wish him continued success!

Read More
Jeff Hepp

At Real Good Fish, we source wild ridgeback and spot prawns from the Channel Islands, and Jeff Hepp is one of our go-to fishermen for them. Jeff takes great care of the prawns and their environment. 

He has modified his trawl net to minimize bycatch by adding two excluder devices, one towards...

At Real Good Fish, we source wild ridgeback and spot prawns from the Channel Islands, and Jeff Hepp is one of our go-to fishermen for them. Jeff takes great care of the prawns and their environment. 

He has modified his trawl net to minimize bycatch by adding two excluder devices, one towards the bottom that is a "separator sack" with five-inch mesh to let fish out, and the other towards the top of the net that is a ten foot zipper to let fish out, so there is little or no bycatch. He has also modified the bottom of his trawl net to keep it slightly above the bottom and minimize its effect on the environment, a method known as "light touch" trawling.

Jeff lands his prawns in Santa Barbara, and once they're transferred to Real Good Fish, they're put in seawater tanks pumped with oxygen and driven north overnight. Ridgeback and spot prawns are both highly perishable, and since we don’t use any chemicals, they need to be delivered while they're as fresh from the ocean as possible. Ours will sometimes arrive still moving, and while it can be startling, the flavor and integrity of these prawns is so worth it - sweet, clean and mild, with no chemical aftertaste and no ethical compromise.

Fisherman Jeff Hepp’s favorite way to prepare ridgeback prawns, "I just boil them with a little salt and sprigs of fresh rosemary.” Check out our Recipes section for some Real Good Fish favorites!

For more on why we source local wild-caught prawns from Jeff, see our blog post "Step Away From the Shrimp Buffet!" It shines a needed light on serious problems in the shrimp industry.

Read More
Ernie Koepf

Ernie Koepf has been fishing commercially for Pacific herring for over 35 years.  Ernie joined the fishery at the same time as a bunch of other novice herring fishermen. They bought a few nets, got everything all tangled up the first few days, and eventually taught themselves how to catch...

Ernie Koepf has been fishing commercially for Pacific herring for over 35 years.  Ernie joined the fishery at the same time as a bunch of other novice herring fishermen. They bought a few nets, got everything all tangled up the first few days, and eventually taught themselves how to catch herring in San Francisco Bay “without killing ourselves!”

The herring season is short and sweet: “My place in the world in January and February is on San Francisco Bay on this boat. That is what defines me. You can get money anywhere. Money is cheap. Money is banal. You can’t get the experience that I get quite so easily.” Ernie attributes recent swings in the herring population – the 2008-2009 season was cancelled for the first time in history – to a lack of fresh water reaching the Bay Delta, which is critical to the survival of young herring.

Ernie would not persist in this fishery if money were the only reward. As diesel prices have soared, herring prices have fallen from over $3000 a ton in 1995 to less than $700 a ton today. This is largely due to reduced demand in Japan for kazunoko (herring roe), a delicacy given as gifts during the New Year’s season which has at times fetched prices of over $50 a pound. There were over 100 herring boats working San Francisco Bay in the late 1990s; Ernie is now one of less than 20 still fishing, and one of only 10 to be granted a permit by the California Department of Fish and Game this year to sell whole herring locally on the fresh fish market. “There’s hardly any young guys in any of the fisheries now…they’re all pushing 60, or older. The financial incentive has left, so it’s not drawing people into the fishery,” Ernie explains.

Ernie recognizes that few people realize that San Francisco Bay remains a thriving natural system: “I’ll take people who have never been out on San Francisco Bay out fishing with me…the boat will be loaded with fish and there’s sea gulls and there’s sea lions, there’s herring milt in the water, sperm in the water, and it smells…fishy. This sort of feeling overcomes everybody where now time ceases to be important, now it’s just tide, it’s just all tide and current.  And they’ll say, ‘Man, I had no idea, I had no idea all this was going on out here.’”

Ernie is working with other local fishermen to stimulate a consumer demand for herring in the Bay Area.  “I’m aware of the growing demand for organic, local, healthy food.” He hopes that herring will take its place alongside other local seafood products. “I’ve eaten it smoked, I’ve eaten it grilled, I’ve had it salted, I’ve had it pickled. It’s a good fish.”  Ernie and his boat the Ursula B. can be found in January and February plying the waters under the Bay Bridge and just yards off the Embarcadero.

Read More
Khevin Mellegers

Originally from the great Pacific Northwest, Khevin began his career as a commercial fisherman off the stormy cold coast of Washington. Khevin and his family found their way to Santa Cruz a few years ago, where he now fishes Dungeness crab and black cod. Khevin and his business partner, Scott,...

Originally from the great Pacific Northwest, Khevin began his career as a commercial fisherman off the stormy cold coast of Washington. Khevin and his family found their way to Santa Cruz a few years ago, where he now fishes Dungeness crab and black cod. Khevin and his business partner, Scott, fish two boats and are among the few proud fishermen who make a full-time living fishing commercially. From baiting thousands of hooks one by one, to icing down every fish, these guys do it all themselves as a labor of pride and love. Just try a piece of their fish and you'll know why it's so good.

Read More
Tony Nguyen

Fifteen years ago when Tony moved to the Monterey Bay area, he had never set foot on a fishing boat. In fact, Tony's daughter bought him his boat, the Eagle, so that he could become a fisherman and leave his 17 year job as a welder for the Navy. For 3 years, Tony taught himself how to fish,...

Fifteen years ago when Tony moved to the Monterey Bay area, he had never set foot on a fishing boat. In fact, Tony's daughter bought him his boat, the Eagle, so that he could become a fisherman and leave his 17 year job as a welder for the Navy. For 3 years, Tony taught himself how to fish, making no money, until he says he finally learned how to catch fish and be a real commercial fisherman. Since then Tony has been following the tides, fish, bait, water temperature, wind, moon, weather, and seasons with eight years of data that help him predict where and when the fish will be found - a remarkable amount of information to be tracking!

Getting a tour of the F/V Eagle, Tony shared with us his simple but formidable galley: full range camping stove, high quality old steel knives like they used to make, worn out cutting board, well seasoned pots and pans, shelves and drawers stocked with an assortment of spices, sauces, and ingredients far beyond what most of us stock in our full sized kitchens at home. I asked him what his favorite fish was and he quickly responded "I love eating all fish," and with little encouragement, we spent 30 minutes discussing his favorite recipes.

When asked his favorite thing about fishing he said he likes working hard and problem-solving, and having to know everything: taking care of the boat, understanding regulations, taking care of the fish, and knowing how to fix all the problems on the boat himself.

Tony, 55, has one daughter and four sons. When he's not busy as a father, he is fishing, year-round. Depending on the season, he fishes sablefish (black cod), grenadier, salmon, rockfish, and Dungeness crab. At the time of the interview he was outfitting his boat to fish halibut. His message for our members: "Cold water fish are the best because they have firmer, more flavorful meat. Avoid most foreign fish because you don't know how long it's been traveling, and most farmed fish is not so good because the water is not clean."

Read More
Giuseppe Pennisi

Giuseppe, who goes by "Joe," comes from a long line of family fishermen. Joe's great grandfather was born in Sicily and emigrated to Monterey in 1906. Joe started fishing with his father on the F/V San Giovanni at the age of 7. It wasn't too much later when he took over fishing and running his...

Giuseppe, who goes by "Joe," comes from a long line of family fishermen. Joe's great grandfather was born in Sicily and emigrated to Monterey in 1906. Joe started fishing with his father on the F/V San Giovanni at the age of 7. It wasn't too much later when he took over fishing and running his father's boats during the summer when the regular crew was fishing up in Alaska. During the school year, Joe and his brothers would fish after school and on weekends, often landing more fish than the old timers who were fishing all week!

By the age of 18, Joe purchased his own boat, the F/V All Mighty, and motored up to Alaska from Seattle. He fished that boat for 3 years, until it sank due to a cracked weld from the icy water. For a few more years he worked on a factory trawler that fished night and day for Alaskan pollock, bringing in 200-300 tons per HOUR, and turning that fish into "fake crab," also known as surimi. After putting in some serious time up north, Joe found a boat in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the F/V Vito C. He motored it down the East Coast, through the Panama Canal, and up the West Coast to Monterey. "It wasn't an easy trip," he said, "big stormy seas all the way down to Panama." When he returned to Monterey, quotas were cut dramatically, which didn't make it feasible to own a boat as large as the Vito C., so he sold it for a much smaller boat: the F/V Pioneer, which he owns and operates today.

Joe and the Pioneer are a remarkable story. When he purchased the Pioneer, he was only able to run it for a few years until the economics of running the boat were unfeasible, given the amount of fish he was allowed to catch and the amount of fish he had to throw back. At that time, shortsighted regulation and management strategies had him throwing back more fish than he would bring to the dock. "We'd bring in 25,000 pounds of fish in one tow and have to discard 80% of it." It wasn't long before the economics and morality of such an endeavor made him realize he was involved in a fishery causing more harm than good, so he left the water and turned to the shore to start a new career as a general contractor. Around that time, in 2004, Joe's brother, David "Rowdy" Pennisi, was lost at sea fishing aboard his boat, the F/V Relentless. The tragic event, still shrouded in mystery and uncertainty, has left ripples in our community that can be felt today.

Fast forward 8 years to 2011, Joe returned to the Pioneer when the Pacific Fisheries Management Council revised its management strategy to address the unsustainable discards and dying industry. A new "catch shares" management strategy was implemented, giving fishermen the freedom to work together and sell and trade quota, including bycatch species, as a way to collectively support economic success and reduce environmental impact. This management strategy is not without controversy and conflict, however, because there is the opportunity for large corporate interests to aggregate large quantities of quota as a form of monopolization in the industry. Fortunately, there are emerging policies being put in place to protect fishermen and their communities from these inequitable market forces. In the long term, the verdict is still out on how this management strategy will change the lives of those who call this coast home. For the short term, it is a light at the end of the tunnel, giving fishermen like Joe a sense of hope that hasn't been felt for many years.

Within the context of this management shift, Joe was able to start fishing again. And not only has he been able to start fishing again, Joe has been able to improve his vessel's overall efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and improve product quality. The net that he custom built reduces bottom contact by 95%, while reducing the weight of the gear by 9,500 pounds. The vessel has been outfitted with new engines that decrease emissions while improving power, and most recently he's installed state of the art refrigeration to keep the product on his boat at 32 degrees. It's been a long, challenging journey for Joe, but he's never lost sight of what makes him happy: his family and fishing.

Read More
Jimmy Phillips

Jimmy Phillips got his fishing chops jackpoling for albacore tuna out of Crescent City, CA. Albacore put up a fight, so catching them one at a time on cane fishing poles is not an easy way to make a living. For an eighteen-year-old, though, it was a lot better than a desk job, so he worked on...

Jimmy Phillips got his fishing chops jackpoling for albacore tuna out of Crescent City, CA. Albacore put up a fight, so catching them one at a time on cane fishing poles is not an easy way to make a living. For an eighteen-year-old, though, it was a lot better than a desk job, so he worked on boats and eventually landed in Half Moon Bay.

He now runs his own boat, the Kimberly Rose, out of Half Moon Bay. He fishes for crab and salmon, and his brother crews for him. Along with the freedom of working on the ocean, he also loves the sense of adventure and the feeling of putting everything - blood, sweat and tears - into what he does for a living. His main stress is not the weather, but the rise and sharp drops of fish prices. “Fuel prices and mortgages stay the same,” he said, “even when fish prices drop.” Along with selling his catch to Real Good Fish, he also sells direct to consumers from his boat in the Pillar Point Harbor near Half Moon Bay.

Read More
Brendan Pini

Brendan grew up in Santa Cruz, fishing with his grandfather, and his mother. “My mom is a great steelhead fisher,” he said. “She really knows how to read a river.” He’s 27 years, old, and believes that it’s important that younger people take up the mantle and fish commercially, but he approaches...

Brendan grew up in Santa Cruz, fishing with his grandfather, and his mother. “My mom is a great steelhead fisher,” he said. “She really knows how to read a river.” He’s 27 years, old, and believes that it’s important that younger people take up the mantle and fish commercially, but he approaches it with the perspective that fishermen are stewards of the ocean. It’s no surprise that he’s also a biology student at UC Santa Cruz, and believes that fishermen and marine resource managers can work together to create a sustainable system. 

He started off working as a deckhand on charter boats out of San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and now deckhands for commercial crabbing and salmon boats out of Moss Landing. He runs his own skiff out of Santa Cruz and works the open access fisheries like white sea bass, halibut, sand dabs, and ling cod. His favorite fish to eat is Petrale sole, noting the light texture and mild flavor. But he likes to fish for California halibut the best. “It’s a nice long drift, not too crowded with other boats,” he explained. “When the tide shifts and the bite turns on, it gets exciting.”

Read More
Wilson Quick

Wilson started fishing in 1968 with his father out of Santa Cruz. He's moved from harbor to harbor, like many fishermen on our coast, to find fish. From black cod, salmon, rockfish, and now spot prawns, Wilson is one of the fortunate fishermen in our community who fishes full time. Wilson's...

Wilson started fishing in 1968 with his father out of Santa Cruz. He's moved from harbor to harbor, like many fishermen on our coast, to find fish. From black cod, salmon, rockfish, and now spot prawns, Wilson is one of the fortunate fishermen in our community who fishes full time. Wilson's favorite fish to cook and eat is not surprising: spot prawns. And his favorite way to prepare them is simply marinated, with butter, garlic, white wine, and fresh herbs, then onto the grill for 2 minutes per side - nothing more - to avoid the risk of overcooking.

Read More
Scott Rouhier

Scott caught his first fish at the age of 4, and from then on he was hooked. From trout and bass in the mountains to halibut off our coast, Scott found himself spending most of his free time on the water. At the age of 33 he decided to fully commit to his passion and pursue a career as a...

Scott caught his first fish at the age of 4, and from then on he was hooked. From trout and bass in the mountains to halibut off our coast, Scott found himself spending most of his free time on the water. At the age of 33 he decided to fully commit to his passion and pursue a career as a commercial fisherman. A few years later, Scott and his father, "Biggie," bought the F/V Tidepoint, named after Scott's great grandfather's tug boat harbored in Oregon.

When he's not fishing on the F/V Tidepoint, you can often find him fishing on Stan Bruno's boat. Sustainability is crucial in Scott's eyes, which is why he handles younger, smaller fish more carefully and throws them back, because he "sees his future in those fish." In that same way, he also knows how important it is to have a younger generation of fishermen to bring our community fish, which is why he gets a great deal of fulfillment seeing kids playing on the docks, just like he did as a child. Scott enjoys fishing for sand dabs, salmon, and albacore, but Dungeness crab is his favorite.

Read More
Lorenzo Sanchez

Lorenzo Sanchez has a short trip from his home in Watsonville to the Moss Landing Harbor, where he keeps his boat, the Barbara Ann II. After a lifetime of sport fishing, and many seasons working the deck on commercial boats, he’s now running a hook-and-line operation. He’s supplying Real Good...

Lorenzo Sanchez has a short trip from his home in Watsonville to the Moss Landing Harbor, where he keeps his boat, the Barbara Ann II. After a lifetime of sport fishing, and many seasons working the deck on commercial boats, he’s now running a hook-and-line operation. He’s supplying Real Good Fish with salmon, halibut, lingcod, and white seabass. For him, fishing never gets old. “Every time I catch a fish, I’m excited,” he said. The hardest part of fishing off Moss Landing is avoiding crab pots during rough weather. But it’s still worth it. As he says, “I love the thrill of the catch.” While he enjoys fishing for white seabass the most due to the fight it puts up, his favorite seafood to eat is spot prawns. Fingers crossed that he gets one of these rare permits one day!

Read More
icon
Tags
Dave Toriumi

Dave Toriumi has fished for fun most of his life, but is now running his own boat as a commercial fisherman off the coast of California. He owns the 22-foot Pioneer and uses hook-and-line gear to go after king salmon, halibut, seabass, lingcod and sand dabs. Some people in Watsonville may...

Dave Toriumi has fished for fun most of his life, but is now running his own boat as a commercial fisherman off the coast of California. He owns the 22-foot Pioneer and uses hook-and-line gear to go after king salmon, halibut, seabass, lingcod and sand dabs. Some people in Watsonville may recognize his name from Toriumi Auto Repair, a shop his dad owns where he has worked as a mechanic. He also has a mobile auto shop, but his passion is for being out on the ocean. “I like the lifestyle of a fisherman,” he said. “There’s no traffic, no boss, and a freedom out there that’s hard to find on land.” And this connection is being passed on to the next generation. His son, River Robert Toriumi's, first word was “boat.”

Read More
Tom Trumper

In 1975, Tom Trumper was working as a diver for oil fields in Louisiana, but pursued Judy, the woman who would become his wife, out to Southern California. He saw a help wanted ad for sea urchin divers, and after his first trip out, he never went back to the oil rigs. At that time, only 20 guys...

In 1975, Tom Trumper was working as a diver for oil fields in Louisiana, but pursued Judy, the woman who would become his wife, out to Southern California. He saw a help wanted ad for sea urchin divers, and after his first trip out, he never went back to the oil rigs. At that time, only 20 guys were diving and the range was limited to southern California, from San Diego to Pt. Conception. The yen was strong in Japan and overnight shipping had just become possible, so markets over there were clamoring for California sea urchin.

“California has the best uni in the world, due to our kelp situation,” Tom said. “Sea urchin will eat anything—beer cans, rocks, you name it. But the ones that eat kelp are by far the best. We only harvest from kelp beds.”

In 1999, Tom co-founded Pacific Rim Seafood in Ft. Bragg, which he now runs with his daughter, Autumn. That year, the price from Japan was soft, and so they had to cut out the middlemen. In many seafood supply chains, there can be as many as 5-7 buyers before a product makes it to the market. In order to break this chain, he needed to create a domestic market.

Tom and Judy loaded 14 trays of uni in their VW bus and drove to San Francisco. By this time, sushi bars were ubiquitous in the city, and chefs loved their uni. Tom and Judy met with customers and gave samples and talks in the restaurants. Then Tom noticed that chefs who bought on a Monday were still serving their uni on a Friday.

“Before I became a processor, it took the distributors 5 to 7 days to deliver it. By that point it gets a strong, yucky flavor. By cutting out the middlemen, we could get it out much fresher," Tom told me. So they started bi-weekly deliveries to San Francisco. “People eat our uni two days out of the water,” he said. “It’s a huge difference.”

Read More
John Yang

Originally from Marina, CA, John's father introduced him to fishing at an early age. He decided to take a risk and pursue fishing professionally in 2014, when he bought his boat, Fast Eddie. John's favorite fish to catch is tuna - any type, but locally, albacore - because they are a hard fight,...

Originally from Marina, CA, John's father introduced him to fishing at an early age. He decided to take a risk and pursue fishing professionally in 2014, when he bought his boat, Fast Eddie. John's favorite fish to catch is tuna - any type, but locally, albacore - because they are a hard fight, which he enjoys. His favorite fish to eat is white seabass prepared any way, but especially deep fried. 

Read More
icon
Tags
Christian Zajac

It’s not surprising that fisherman Chris Zajac’s oil paintings are mostly seascapes. He’s a classic “portfolio” fisherman who goes after salmon in the summer, crab in the late fall/winter, and black cod and rockfish in between those seasons. Chris has an art degree from UC Santa Cruz, and took...

It’s not surprising that fisherman Chris Zajac’s oil paintings are mostly seascapes. He’s a classic “portfolio” fisherman who goes after salmon in the summer, crab in the late fall/winter, and black cod and rockfish in between those seasons. Chris has an art degree from UC Santa Cruz, and took to fishing as a summer job right out of college, for the same reason many do: “I needed to make money,” he explained. He’s been fishing for 35 years, and has found that fishing and being an artist both come with their own challenges.

“Fishing is hardcore physical labor,” he said. “But art isn’t easy either. With classical art, you need training. And you never know if a painting will sell. They are both uncertain economically, but I have a passion for them.”

He offloads and docks his fishing vessel, Serena May, in the Santa Cruz harbor where sometimes storms block them in and the boats can’t go out and fish. This, not the hard work and uncertain prices, is hardest for him. “I love leaving the safety of land, the freedom of going out on a boat,” he said. “When I’m stuck in harbor, I feel like a caged critter.” Painting images of the Monterey Bay helps until he can get back out to sea.

His favorite local seafoods are spot prawns and king salmon. His favorite way to prepare them? “Keep it super simple,” he said. “For salmon, I put some garlic and olive on fillets, grill them, then add a little lemon and black pepper afterwards. With fresh fish, you don’t need to do much. The flavor is already so good.”

Read More