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Real Good Fish | Fishermen A-Z | | Fishermen | 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
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!

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James Hoover

James was a carpenter for 15 years, his medium – concrete. He built bridges, water treatment plants, parking structures, and most proudly the Scotts Valley Middle School.

At the age of 29 James was watching Shark Week and decided he wanted to go fishing. From humble beginnings, James bought a...

James was a carpenter for 15 years, his medium – concrete. He built bridges, water treatment plants, parking structures, and most proudly the Scotts Valley Middle School.

At the age of 29 James was watching Shark Week and decided he wanted to go fishing. From humble beginnings, James bought a kayak and started fishing in the Elkhorn Slough. After a few trips, he grew adventurous and pointed his bow to the Moss Landing jaws and fished his kayak in the open ocean of the Monterey Bay. Shortly after he bought an 14-foot aluminum skiff and then quickly converted an old Sea Race ski boat to fish open access fisheries like rockfish and lingcod. 

In 2019 James decided to go full-time commercial fisherman. He bought the F/V Tina May, a 25 foot Farallon, from a recently widowed woman in Fort Bragg. Her husband was a carpenter and fisherman too and was looking to hand her husbands boat on to someone that would carry the legacy. Soon thereafter James acquired salmon and crab permits, completing the transition to full-time fisherman.

James’ favorite fish to catch and eat is lingcod, prepared simply in an aluminum foil boat full of salsa and grilled on the BBQ. 

James feels good about the current health of our local waters, especially compared to those he has seen in other countries and communities not as fortunate. He is optimistic about California king salmon in 2019 and is thankful for guidance from an old friend from Little League, Dave Toriumi, captain of the F/V Grinder and another fishing partner of Real Good Fish. 

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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."

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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.

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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, Mysealium, 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.”

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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!

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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.”

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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.”

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