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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
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...

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 can 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. 

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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.

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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.

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David Toriumi

David Toriumi has fished for fun most of his life, but   his first year running his own boat as a commercial fisherman off the coast of California. He owns the 22 feet Pioneer and uses hook-and-line gear to go after King salmon, halibut, seabass, lingcod and sanddabs. Some people in Watsonville...

David Toriumi has fished for fun most of his life, but   his first year running his own boat as a commercial fisherman off the coast of California. He owns the 22 feet Pioneer and uses hook-and-line gear to go after King salmon, halibut, seabass, lingcod and sanddabs. 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 may be passed on to the next generation. His son, River Robert Toriumi, is only 16 months old and his first and only word is “boat.”

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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.

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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 only growing, especially sustainably produced.”

 

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Ron Farquhar

Ron Farquhar started fishing about ten years ago, around 2002. Originally from San Francisco, a love of scuba diving brought him south to Monterey. Like many fishermen, he gradually eased his way into work as a commercial fisherman. In Ron’s case, a long “career” of personal spearfishing was his...

Ron Farquhar started fishing about ten years ago, around 2002. Originally from San Francisco, a love of scuba diving brought him south to Monterey. Like many fishermen, 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, Ron started working on charter fishing boats, and 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 like 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!

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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.

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Christian Zajac
Jimmy Phillips

Jimmy Phillips got his fishing chops jack poling for albacore tuna out of Crescent City, CA. These 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 jack poling for albacore tuna out of Crescent City, CA. These 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.

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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.

Scott enjoys fishing for sand dabs, salmon, and albacore, but Dungeness crab is his favorite.

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.

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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. Concepcion. The yen was strong in Japan and overnight shipping had just become possible. 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 around kelp.”

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.”

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