Story

Fishing Boats

Fishing Boats
Mike Ventimiglia

Fishing in Monterey Bay was mainly for salmon and was done by the sail boat or what the Italians call felucca.   Salmon were caught with gill nets this net consists of one or more panels of webbing fastened together. They are left free to drift with the current, usually near the surface or not far below it.  These sail boat or felucca been approximately 16 – 20 feet long and had a crew of 5 and would haul the net in by hand.

The sail boat gave way to the lampara boat about 1915 name after the lampara net which replaced the gill net.  These boats were powered by a small engine.   These boats towed another boat called a lighter and could carry 5 to 7 tons of sardines back to the canneries.  The outbreak of World War I in 1917 made improvements in the lampara boats.   Boats were made larger and the lighters they towed could carry 20 to 25 tons of sardines.  These boats approximately 30 feet in length and were power by larger engines about 25 lampara boats operated out of Monterey during this time.

Between 1925 and 1929 the boats continued to get larger.  During this period the lampara net was phased out and the half ring net was introduced making way for the half ring boats allowing them to travel further out to sea.  The half ring net was capable of trapping 200 tons of sardines in one set using a hydraulic winch.  Older lampara boats were converted into half ring boats and winches installed.

The purse seiner was introduced between 1929 and 1932.  The purse seiner received its name from the type of net that it used.  The boat would set the net anchoring one end and the skiff the other end circles the fish the skiff and the boat would come together, and the bottom of the net would be closed capturing the fish.  The larger purse seiner approximately 80 feet in length had a hold in the hull which could accommodate 70 to 140 tons of fish.

1929 Sail boats were used in Alaska to fish for salmon, gill nets were used, and the boats had a two-man crew.  Monterey fisherman would travel to Alaska in their off season to fish for salmon.  Here we see the sail boats tied together being pulled by monkey boat with motor back from a day of fishing salmon (Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

Early 1900’s double ender style of boat, which came after the felucca Italian name for sail boat in side Monterey Harbor. The building at the end of Wharf II in the picture is Pacific Coast Steam Ship Company’s Freight and Ticket office. Freighters and steam ships would dock and loan and unload fright and passengers from ports like San Francisco (Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

Lampara fishing fleet moored in Monterey Harbor in the background is Municipal Wharf II 1927 the freighters docked at the Pacific Coast Steam Ship Company loading and unloading cargo.  Notice the oil tank farm located on the sand dunes at the top of the photograph.  The oil tanks were relocated from Presidio Curve after the 1924 Associated Oil Tank fire ignited by a lightning strike. The City did not allow Associated Oil Company to rebuild at the same location and moved them to East Monterey (photographer A.C. Heidrick Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

 

This lampara boat the Sea King owner Mariano Torrente was built with a winch and boom to close the half ring net and capture the sardines.  The half ring net was an improvement over the older style lampara net all work was done by hand and was pulled evenly at the stern of the boat as not to lose the fish.  Older lampara boats were converted by their owners to take advantage of the use of a winch and changed from the lampara net to the half rind net (Photograph courtesy of Peter Torrente.)

Eneas, Orazio Enea was listed as the boat owner 1939-40 fishing season he fished for San Carlos Canning Company ranked 19th in 1937-38 fishing season at 2070 tons (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)


 
New Saturnia Frank Tardio was listed as the boat owner 1939-40 fishing season he fished for Hovden Food Products Corporation ranked 38th in 1937-38 fishing season at 1132 tons (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

California Star, the purse seine net on the deck in the stern of the boat is prepared for setting in 1937.  These nets were made of a cotton fiber and subject to mildew, so they would have to be dipped into tanning tanks to preserve the net. (Photograph by William L. Morgan, courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

 

The American Rose December 24, 1937 (Photograph by William L. Morgan; Courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

1937 Old Style Half Ring Boat E.S. Lucido (Photograph by William L. Morgan, courtesy of the Monterrey Public Library’s California History Room.)

The purse seiner City of Monterey is shown on December 24, 1937.  In the period between 1930 and 1940, there was a dramatic rise in the fishing fleet out of Monterey.  The larger purse seiner boats dominated the local waters, and boats would travel from as far away as Washington to the north and San Diego to the south to fish in Monterey. (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

In 1937 the purse seiner Cesare Augusto sits high in the water, and the net is missing from the back of the boat, probably being repaired or in the tanning tank for preservation. (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

August 12, 1939 Christening of San Giovanni, Ben Compagno was listed boat owner in 1939-40 fishing season he fished for San Carlos Canning Company (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

Vagabond, owned by Mariano Torrente was one of the early purse seiners and later be replaced by the Vagabond II (courtesy of Peter Torrente.)

Jackie Boy, Gusieppe Aliotti was listed as the boat owner in 1939-40 fishing season he fished for Monterey Canning Company ranked 26th 1937-38 fishing season at 1725 tons (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

Santa Rosalie leaves the ship yard standing on bridge from left to right is boat builder unknown and Paul Cutino.  The boat was approximately 38 feet in length could carry 16 ton of fish in the hold and 4 tons on deck (Courtesy of the Bert Cutino Family.)

California Bear, Salvatore Balesteri was listed boat owner in 1939-40 fishing season his boat was what they called a switch boat and fished for various canneries (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

Santa Rita, John Compagno was listed boat owner in 1939-40 fishing season he fished for San Carlos Canning Company (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

St. James, James A. Davi was listed boat owner in 1939-40 fishing season he fished for San Carlos Canning Company (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

1940 Storm inner harbor crews are manning Saint Anthony, San Giovanni and the Little Flower in case the boats break away from their moorings they pilot the boats away from the wharfs and beaches (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

New Hope, Salvatore Ventimiglia was listed boat owner in 1939-40 fishing season he fished for Custom House Packing Company the boat named after his daughter in1940.  A purse seiner class fishing boat was 82 feet in length 21 feet wide at the beam and was powered by a 250- horse power engine.   It was able to carry 150 or more tons of fish.  The New Hope was used by the Department of the Navy during World War II along the central coast.  Salvatore Ventimiglia received a letter of commendation from the Department of the Navy (courtesy of Cathy Ventimiglia Gomez.)

Two Sisters washes up on the beach east of Wharf II after a storm in the background is the old Sea Scout Hall which now is the home of Monterey Beach Party (courtesy of the AMICI Club Monterey.)

1947 Lina V II purse seiner class can carry 120 tons of fish in the hold and 40 tons on the deck boat owner Frank Mineo.  The boat makes it way to wharf #2, crew on the stern of the boat prepares the cotton nets for the tanning tanks to clean and treat the expensive nets (courtesy of Vito Spadaro.)

Mineo Brothers Frank Mineo was listed as the boat owner 1939-40 fishing season he fished for Hovden Food Products Corporation (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

Santa Lucia 1949 is unloading sardines from the hold into one of the floating hoppers operated by the cannery.  The purse seiner’s nets are on the stern of the boat (photographer William L. Morgan Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

The purse seiner New Hope owner Salvatore Ventimiglia is washed up on shore after a violent storm.  The boats broke their mooring lines and were washed up on the beach with several other boats.  In the background is Del Monte Avenue some of the buildings were removed for parking, other old buildings remaining.  On the far right are the old hotel San Carlos and the Professional Building the San Carlos Hotel was razed to make way for the Marriot Hotel (Photograph by William L. Morgan; Courtesy of Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

New Vagabond built in 1947 owner Mariano Torrente left to right Peter Torrente, Mike Ventimiglia other individuals unknown boat ties to dock in 1954 (photographer unknown courtesy of Peter Torrente.)

Left to right Boat owner Mariano Torrente and crew member Salvatore “Dan” Ventimiglia aboard the New Rex.  Dan’s fishing career was cut short due to WWII he was killed in action on June 3, 1944 at Nettuno, Italy, his funeral would be one of the first in Monterey. (Photograph Courtesy of Peter Torrente) 

The 85' purse seiner New Admiral was purchased by Vincenzo Ferrante in the mid 1930's from John Gradis.  Based in Monterey, they fished from Oregon to the Sea of Cortez for sardines, salmon, albacore, tuna and squid.  The vessel was requisitioned by the U.S. Government for service into WWII in 1942. The boat was affiliated with Monterey Fish Products Company between 1930-40 fishing seasons.  John Steinbeck the famous Author accompanied the crew on a fishing trip to the Sea of Cortez (Photograph courtesy of Pittsburg Historical Society Vince Ferrante.)

Vivian A Salvatore Arancio was listed as the boat owner 1939-40 fishing season he fished for Monterey Canning Company (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

J.V. Ferrante pulls into Wharf II fuel station in Monterey.  The boat was built in 1947 by Frank Pasquinucci at Sausalito Boat Works and christened by Vince Ferrante.  At the helm is Tony Ferrante who with his brothers Horace Ferrante and Joe Ferrante owned the boat.  Left to right standing on the dock is Archy Sanches, Ted Malisha, Raoul Bruno, Joe Ferrante, Frank Pomilia and Salvatore "Shirk" Russo (Photograph courtesy Pittsburg Historical Society, Vince Ferrante.)

The New Crivello runs aground into the rocks of Point Pinos near the entrance to Monterey Bay September 20, 1936 (Photograph courtesy of Marie R. McCrary Shade of Monterey, Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

New Hope and Cerrito Brothers purse seiners wash up on shore after a storm on February 23, 1953.  The storms that came out of the north and blew across the inner harbor and caused boats to break from their moorings washing up alongside Wharf II (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

Anthony Castaldo is working on his boat Lucky Star at the old Siino Boat Works which was located on Oceanview Boulevard in Pacific Grove.  Siino Boat Works was owned by Angelo Siino who was a master Boatwright, fabricating feluccas (sail boats) and double-enders.   The Siino Boat Works originally located on Wave Street (est. 1923), acquired additional space adjacent to the existing “Monterey Boat Works” in 1930. In 1937, Angelo Siino purchased the “Monterey Boat Works” from the estate of Gus Smith (Photograph Courtesy of  Anne “Castaldo” Jay.)

Star of Monterey was owned by three partners John Russo Captain, Raoul Bruno and Tom DiMaggio they fished for the Del Mar Canning Company, ranked number one boat in 1937-38 fishing season at 3944 tons of fish.  The boat along with so many other boats was secured by the government and used to patrol the coast line during the World War II.  The boat was sold in 1965 and the new owners planned to fish for King Crab off the coast of Alaska (Photograph courtesy of Mary “D’Agui” Wells.)

Fishing boats wash up on shore east of Wharf II after the November 1943 storm (photographer George Esaki oats on beach (Photograph courtesy of Jean Esaki Shades of Monterey, Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

1940 Storm inner harbor crews are manning Marie in case the boats break away from its mooring they pilot the boat away from the wharfs and beaches (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

Belle Haven, Sal Ruccello was listed boat owner in 1939-40 fishing season he fished for E.B. Gross Canning Company (Photograph William L. Morgan courtesy of the Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

View northwest from what is now Randy’s Fishing Trips Union Oil Wharf I purse seiners from left to right, Western Maid captain Joe Giamona, Marettimo captain Joe Spadaro, New Rex captain Mariano Torrente, St. Anthony captain Davi, Star of Monterey captain John Russo (Photograph courtesy of John Napoli, shades of Monterey, Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

The Sea Queen moored in the bay and ready to go with the purse seine nets loaded on the stern of the boat.  The Sea Queen was owned by the Ferrante brothers Frank, Vince, Joe, Horace and Nino Ferrante 

The AA Ferrante was an 85-foot purse seiner and owned by the Ferrante brothers Frank, Vince, Joe, Horace and Nino Ferrante.  It was built with the state of the art equipment for the time as it came equipped with a built-in refrigeration system allowing the boat to fish longer and not worry about spoilage of their catch.

Frank Sardina piloting his small commercial fishing boat Bessie in 1964.  After the sardines left Monterey many of the fishermen continued to fish with smaller fishing boats and provided variety of fish like halibut, rock fish, flounder to the local fish markets which provided fresh fish to the restaurants and customers.  Bringing an end to the years of the Silver Harvest, which dominate the fishing industry in Monterey for nearly six decades. (Photograph courtesy of Sardina family.)

May 14, 1946 half ringer boats sets net in Monterey Bay when the sardines diminish fishermen concentrated on other fish like squid, anchovies, mackerel and rockfish (Photographer J.B. Phillips courtesy of Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)

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A purse seiner sets the net utilizing the skiff anchoring one end of the net while the purse seiner encircles the school of fish letting the net pay out of the stern of the boat and then meet up with the skiff to close the net.  The skiff man was an important part of setting the net they had to be well versed in rowing the skiff.  (Photograph courtesy of Monterey Public Library’s California History Room.)