1Captain Gary Bouchard 1938 – 2009 GARY L. BOUCHARD of the South Amboy party fishing boat MISTY MORN passed away at home on Friday, April 3, 2009 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Captain Gary was the founder of the Oulde Spye Marine Corp. and captain and owner of the party fishing boat MISTY MORN, a family owned and operated business for over 20 years. An avid fisherman and hunter, he was a member of the United Boatmen, a past president of the Bayview Rod & Gun Club and member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. He was also a member of the IBEW Local 1303.
Gary was a wonderful man who was loved by everyone who was graced by his presence. He could always be found at the Morgan Creek and the South Amboy waterfront spending time with family and friends. Some of Gary's happiest days were spent watching his grandchildren enjoy the MISTY MORN and BOO CREW, as well as playing on the docks.
Captain Gary is survived by his wife Clare, sons Gary F. Bouchard and his wife Wendy of South Amboy, Michael L. Bouchard and his wife Kimberly of Sayreville, Philip S. Bouchard and his wife Andrea of Sayreville, and Sean Q. Bouchard of Sayreville; two daughters, Jacalyn Garvey and her husband Robert of Middletown, and Tara Currie and her husband Shawn of Sayrevllle; two brothers, William and Paul Bouchard, both of South Amboy; two sisters, Karen Krzyzkowski of Parlin, and Kathy Smith of South Amboy; and ten grandchildren, Kaitlyn and Courtney Bouchard, Edward Garvey, Cody, Ryan and Bryce Bouchard, Connor, Blake and Andrew Bouchard, and Makayla Currie. To them and the rest of the Bouchard family, we wish you peace during this troubled time. Captain Gary is in our prayers.
Lord, in the beginning your Spirit moved over the face of the waters when you said, "Let there be Light, and there was Light." We pray now that your light will shine to show us the way on our watch by day or night, that your Spirit will watch over us every hour, propelling us on a steady course, steering us in the right channel, preserving us afloat, preventing us from foundering, until we all come to the shores of that Promised Land and Holy City which shall be the blessed final harbor of our hope and our souls' joyful reunion with those who have gone before. Amen.
2MISS BARNEGAT LIGHT, Barnegat Light, NJ – 1957 Captain John Larson's "MISS BARNEGAT LIGHT" from Barnegat Light, New Jersey circa 1957. Built in 1954 by Price Boat Yard at Deltaville, VA, she sailed from Barnegat Light until 1967 when she was sold and became the "LADY MARCIA ANNE" from Portsmouth, NH. She then returned to New Jersey in 1986 and became Captain Gary Bouchard's "MISTY MORN" from South Amboy, NJ. She last sailed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY as the "HOLIDAY" before being dropped from documentation in 2003.
3Captain Lures Fishing Enthusiasts to Open Waters – 1986 Captain Lures Fishing Enthusiasts to Open Waters – Suburban May 14, 1986 Sayreville resident fulfills dream with 55-foot boat By Glen Kelson Photograph by Michael Guiliano
Follow the yellow brick road through Oz and you'll find The Wizard. Follow the red brick road through Sayreville and you'll find The Captain. His path isn't as hard to travel.
Hang a right off southbound Route 35, head down the bumpy old-fashioned pavement of Old Spye Road, and look out at the rickety wooden pier in front of the host of boats floating on Cheesequake Creek. If you don't see him right away, just ask one of the regulars. They all know who he is for he's been coming there all of his life. It's easy to spot Gary Bouchard working on the deck of Misty Morn, a sleek 55-foot green and white fishing vessel. Beneath his striped cap and above his mustard-colored beard you can see a wide smile. That's because Bouchard is aboard his dream boat, and he's its captain.
A few years back, when the 47-year-old Bouchard first became a full-fledged boat captain after passing a rigorous Coast Guard exam, he was the proud owner of a modest 32-foot boat. Every weekend from April to November he used the boat to sail fishermen out into the Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook area to catch fluke and bluefish. The vessel, named WACKY after his brother, had enough space, though, for him to take out only six customers at a time.
But one day last year, while he was travelling through New England with his father, Bouchard saw a boat, LADY MARCIA ANNA, for sale on the Merrimack River in Massachusetts. Already looking to acquire a larger vessel, he said he knew it was the boat he'd been searching for. Finally, after several months of financial haggling, it was his. "It took a week to finally get it down here in October and it was in rough shape," Bouchard recalled. "But since then my sons and I have worked on it every single weekend and every night. It's totally rebuilt, repainted, rewired, and relighted now. People from the Coast Guard came down here to check out its bottom and they said 'for a 30-year-old boat it sure looks great.''
Although Bouchard pointed out that the boat was ready for its maiden commercial voyage in April, this weekend the hours of hard work and financial investment will pay off when he takes a group of would-be-fishermen into Raritan Bay.
While the fee for an excursion on the WACKY escalated over the years because of the boat's small capacity, customers will find rates on the MISTY MORN reasonable, he said. "The average working man can't spend $50 to $60 a day to fish," Bouchard said. "The new boat will cost them only $20 a man. I supply the poles and they bring the beer and lunches."
Beside the boat's cost, Bouchard pointed out that his fishing operation has several advantages that larger commercial oceanfront businesses can't offer.
"Everyone from North Jersey has to pass by my way to get to the shore and places like Atlantic Highlands. Past me they have to drive down Route 36 and sit in traffic and at lights for another 45 minutes," he said. "What I can do is take them out there on the water for those extra road minutes and make it a more pleasant trip. That's a big difference."
Bouchard noted that from the dock on Cheesequake Creek to the open seas of Raritan Bay, it takes only 25 minutes before his customer's fishing lines are cast.
Though he claimed he can take customers out into the Atlantic Ocean to tackle larger fish, the Raritan Bay, Bouchard said, has the best Fluke fishing on the east coast. The flat, flounder-like fish, he noted, is one of the most delicious to cat and one of the easiest to catch.
"I don't even have to anchor. All you have to do is drop your line down and as long as it hits bottom you'll get Fluke. You don't need to go to the ocean for that," Bouchard said. "A lot of big rivers pour into this area and there's great weather and calm waters. I guess that's why all the Fluke come here."
MISTY MORN, he added, is an ideal party boat for clubs and organizations to use. Sayreville groups such as The Elks and Knights of Columbus, Bouchard noted, have rented his boat in the past.
"Last year my customers had such a great season and they're all coming back. Knock on wood. Word of mouth gets around, so this could be the best year," he said. "I'm going to sail every weekend and I've got four weeks of vacation coming up to go out too. You can't get me out of the water."
Some things never change. As a small child, Bouchard, who was born and raised in South Amboy and now lives two minutes away from the boat in Sayreville, said he was constantly at Cheesequake Creek and other local water holes, baiting for crabs and fishing for bluefish with his brothers and his friends
"Well, one day we're sitting at the Miniditch, a beach in South Amboy, and this 12-foot rowboat comes floating to us," he remembered. "We put an ad in the paper and no one claimed it so it was all ours. Ever since then I've owned boats. Next it was a 14-footer and then an 18-footer."
Hopefully, Bouchard said, MISTY MORN, his biggest and best vessel yet, will be his last boat. If his plans for the future come true, it could also become his livelihood.
Bouchard said that when he turns 55 he'd like to retire from his 20-year job as a lineman for Jersey Central Power Company, Freehold, and work full time on the boat with his sons in a family business. When he's not on the boat or fishing, he added, he wants to be duck hunting.
"I've thought about it a lot and my sons want to get into it. They all chip in already and pick up easy money. That's what they'd like to do," he said. "My oldest son Gary is 22 and he just got out of the Marine Corps. He'll go for his captain's test soon."
Bouchard's other sons are 18-year-old Michael, an award-winning wrestler at Sayreville War Memorial High School; Phillip 16; and Sean, 11. His wife Claire, along with his daughters Jacqueline, 20; and Tara, 8; operates a small concession booth at the Cheesequake Creek dock.
"So you see my whole family has everything they need right here. I could never move away and I've never wanted to," Bouchard said. "This is what I've wanted to do all my life. What could be better than to sit down here on the boat and relax for the rest of my years?"
4MISTY MORN, South Amboy, NJ – 1987 Captain Gary Bouchard's "MISTY MORN" from South Amboy, NJ circa 1987. She is seen waiting for the train bridge over Cheesequake Creek to open as she departs for a day of Fluke fishing on Raritan Bay. The boat was built in 1954 by the Price Boat Yard at Deltaville, VA as the original "MISS BARNEGAT LIGHT". She later sailed as the "LADY MARCIA ANNE" before becoming the "MISTY MORN" in 1986. She was replaced in 1993 by an Arro Yachts boat and moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn where she sailed as the "HOLIDAY". She has since been dismantled.
5MISTY MORN, South Amboy, NJ – 1988 Captain Gary Bouchard's "MISTY MORN" from South Amboy, NJ circa 1988. She is shown returning home to Cheesequake Creek after a day of fishing on Raritan Bay. She was the original "MISS BARNEGAT LIGHT" before becoming the "MISTY MORN". After Captain Gary's passing, his sons Captains Sean, Phil and Mike continue to operate the family business.
6CAPTAIN GARY BOUCHARD, Sayreville, NJ – 1999 Captain Gary Bouchard in the wheelhouse of the "MISTY MORN" circa 1999. Captain Gary's specialty was fishing for Fluke and Bluefish in the western end of Raritan Bay in New Jersey. He started in the party boat fishing business in the early 1980s and operated the 32-foot "WACKY". In 1986, he upgraded the boat to the Price-built 55-foot "MISTY MORN" and in 1993, purchased the present "MISTY MORN", a 65-foot boat built by Arro Yachts at Biddeford, ME.
You would always be greeted by Captain Gary's contagious smile when you made your trip down Old Spye Road in South Amboy, NJ to the "MISTY MORN". Whether there was a large gathering or just a few anglers, he always knew how to make you feel comfortable and welcome.