1THOMAS SALMOND Advertising Bill, New York City, NY – 1844 An 1844 advertising bill for a Benefit outing (fund raising charter) to the "Fishing Banks" aboard the steamboat "THOMAS SALMOND". The advertisement says "Henry E. Riell's benefit. The subscriber respectfully informs his friends and the public that he will take his Benefit to the fishing banks in the steamboat THOMAS SALMOND on Friday, Sept. 6th"
"The boat will be decorated with flags &c, and has been gratuitously tendered by the politeness of Capt. Wm. T. Schulz. Capt. Peacock has kindly volunteered his services and will act as Pilot. Lothian's Celebrated Brass and Cotilion Band has been engaged and the public may rest assured every exertion will be made to please those who may honor him with their patronage. Fare for the excursion, One Dollar. The boat will call at Amos-St at 7½, Canal Street at 7¾, Catherine Ferry, Brooklyn at 8, Pike-St. at 8¼, and Pier No. 1 N.R. at half past 8 o'clock, touching at Fort Hamilton each way. Henry E. Riell."
Steamboats during this era advertised trips to the "Fishing Banks", which was the generic term used for any of the regional ocean fishing grounds. Often, steamboats that made fishing excursions had both a Captain and Pilot (or Fishing Pilot) aboard. The Captain operated the vessel and the Pilot was responsible for directing the Captain how to navigate the vessel over prime (and often secret) fishing spots. A musical band for added entertainment was also a very common feasture on these trips.
2M.L MARSHALL TACKLE CO. Token, Oswego, NY – 1863 This 1863 token was produced by Marshall Fishing Tackle and used as cash. Privately minted tokens were widespread between 1861 and 1865 and distributed in the Northeast and Midwest. Many businesses minted their own coins because they could not complete sales transactions due to the scarcity of government issued one-cent coins during the Civil War era.
3IRON STEAMBOAT COMPANY Uniform Button – 1900 The Iron Steamboat Company was formed in 1880 and operated seven iron-hulled excursion vessels from New York City. An early advertisement for the fleet boasted "They Cannot Burn – They Will Not Sink". The fleet consisted of the steamboats "CYGNUS", "SIRIUS", "CEPHEUS", "CETUS", "PEGASUS", "PERSEUS" and "TAURUS". Only two of the vessels actually operated as party fishing boats; the "TAURUS" began sailing on a regular schedule to the fishing banks from 1904 until 1919 and in 1933, the "CYGNUS" made a failed attempt to resurrect the large steamboat fishing business. In 1933, the Iron Steamboat Company went bankrupt and all the vessels were sold at auction.
4IRON STEAMBOAT COMPANY Stock Certificate – 1902 A $500 stock certificate issued by the Iron Steamboat Company of New Jersey. The Iron Steamboat Company was started in 1880, and operated excursion boats and made daily trips to the fishing banks between 1904 and 1932. The Company's fleet included the multi-deck, coal-fired sidewheelers "SIRIUS", "CEPHEUS", "GRAND REPUBLIC", "PEGASUS" and the "TAURUS".
The Iron Steamboat Company went bankrupt in February 1933 and all of the company's assets and vessels were sold at auction. Although most of their boats sailed from New York City, their main office was located at Long Branch, New Jersey.
5TAURUS Advertisement, New York, NY – 1904 A 1904 advertisement for a days fishing aboard the triple-decker steamer "TAURUS". Built in 1881 at Philadelphia, PA, the "TAURUS" started her career as a party fishing boat in 1904. Her 234-foot iron hull had a beam of 32 feet and weighed 916 tons; the side-wheels were 31 feet in diameter. She sailed from "The Battery" at the southern tip of Manhattan.
6FISHING STEAMER EVELYN Advertisement, Brooklyn, NY – 1911 This 1911 advertisement for the fishing steamer "EVELYN" lists all the local fishing grounds of the era. Captain Jacob Martin's "EVELYN" was the first converted steam yacht that offered party boat fishing trips from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
7MJR II and EFFORT Advertisement, Brooklyn, NY – 1913 A 1913 newspaper advertisement for Captain Fred Wrege's "MJR II" and "EFFORT" sailing from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY.
8IRON STEAMBOAT COMPANY Summer Schedule – 1913 The cover of the 1913 Iron Steamboat Company summer schedule featured the triple-deck sidewheeler "SIRIUS". The Company's fleet also included the vessels "CEPHEUS", "GRAND REPUBLIC", "PEGASUS" and the "TAURUS". However, the 234-foot triple-deck coal-fired steamer "TAURUS" was the only one of their vessels that sailed to the 'Fishing Banks' daily.
9GIRALDA Letter – 1914 The Martin family just shook on the deal to purchase the "GIRALDA" and this 1914 letter from the broker tells the caretaker to expect the arrival of Captain Dave Martin. Apparently, there was a mix-up in the handling of the various documents and Captain Martin left for the boat with the wrong one in his pocket. Picture courtesy of Bryant Martin.
10NEW YORK BIGHT FISHING CHART – 1915 This 1915 chart of the New York Bight displays the most popular fishing grounds frequented by New Jersey and New York party boat fleets of the day. Shown on the map are 17 Fathom Banks, Angler Banks, Cholera Banks, England Banks, the Farms, Klondike Banks, Long Beach Grounds, Middle Grounds, and the Shrewsbury Rocks. Ninety years have passed since this chart was published, but we still fish at these well-liked spots.
11CAPTAIN AXEL LYONS War Zone Pass – 1918 This 1918 World War I zone pass belonged to Captain Axel Lyons of the Sheepshead Bay party boat "NANCY B". The U.S Customs Service office in New York City issued these passes to mariners who operated or worked aboard vessels in New York Harbor and were mandatory to operate in restricted waterways during World War I. Card courtesy of Phil Nuss.
12ADA L Receipt, Brooklyn, NY – 1919 This is the receipt Captain Adam ‘Eddie’ Doll received from Patrick Larring when he purchased the "ADA L", Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Captain Doll bought the boat in 1919 after his return from WW I for the then tidy sum of $450. Later that year he sold the vessel to Captain John 'Candy' Keefe. Picture courtesy of Captain Bill Doll.
13MJR III Advertisement, Brooklyn, NY – 1919 A 1919 advertisement for the "MJR III". Built in 1903, the "MJR III" sailed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY as a party boat for over twenty years. She would later become one of the first party boat casualties of the area when she was struck by the freighter "S.S. ANGELINA" on May 3, 1936 while fishing at the 'Subway Rocks' in a heavy fog. The collision split the "MJR III" into two sections and she sank.
14VELOCITY Advertisement, Brooklyn, NY – 1919 A 1919 advertisement for Captain Bill Stephens' "VELOCITY". Bill Stephens was a long-time Sheepshead Bay party boat captain and before owning and operating the "VELOCITY", he was the owner of the "YANKEE DOODLE", and in later years, the converted steam yacht "AU-REVOIR".
15VAUD J Advertising Card, Anglesea, NJ – 1923 An advertising card for the fishing steamer "VAUD J" from Angelsea, NJ circa 1923. Cards like this were often given out at local shops and train stations in the greater Philadelphia, PA area. Cape May, NJ and Angelsea, NJ (now called North Wildwood, NJ) were the closest ports to Philadelphia that offered deep sea fishing trips. The popular way to travel to these New Jersey ports was aboard special excursion trains that transported thousands of anglers daily. There is little doubt that Captain Dunn gave special attention to ladies.
16CAPTAIN BILL STEPHENS Sinker – 1925 Captain Bill Stephens was a longtime and famous party boat captain from Sheepshead Bay. During his tenure, he skippered the "YANKEE DOODLE", the "VELOCITY" and the converted steam yacht "AU-REVIOR". Veteran diver Captain Paul Hepler of the "VENTURE III" recovered this eight-ounce slab sinker from an undisclosed New Jersey coast shipwreck.
Personalized fishing sinkers such as this were very common aboard party boats during the 1920s and 1930s. Local divers indicate that these 'old style' sinkers are only found on inshore wrecks and rock structures, which agrees with the facts that boatmen of the era relied on visual shore ranges to locate their wrecks, and that the abundance of fish at the time made it unnecessary to angle far offshore. Sadly, divers collected these types of sinkers from the ocean floor for years and sold them as scrap metal, and very few have survived. We consider ourselves very lucky to have this sinker and others like it on display. Sinker courtesy of Captain Paul Hepler of VENTURE III Charters, Belmar, NJ.
17CAPTAIN FRED WREGE Fishing Sinker, Brooklyn, NY – 1925 Captain Fred Wrege was a well-known party boat operator from Sheepshead Bay. In 1913, he was the owner/operator of the "M.J.R. II" and the "EFFORT". In 1923, he had the "EFFORT II", and in 1929, he purchased the World War I Sub Chaser "SC-122" and converted her for party boat fishing. This sinker dates from the mid-1920s and a local diver recovered it off the New Jersey coast. During the 1920s and 1930s, it was popular for party boats to personalize their fishing sinkers. Many inscribed their sinker molds with the name of the vessel or its Captain (or sometimes both.) Photograph courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
18GLORY & GIRALDA Sinker, Brooklyn, NY – 1925 During the 1920s and 1930s, it was popular for party boats to personalize their fishing sinkers by inscribing their sinker molds with the name of their vessel. During this time, the Martin Brothers' "GLORY" and "GIRALDA" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY regularly fished the wrecks located off the New Jersey coast and they used a personalized sinker that had the GLORY name on one side and GIRALDA on the other.
This circa 1925 8-ounce sinker was recovered in 2011 from the wreck of the "DELAWARE" located off Bay Head, New Jersey by 'Bartman', while diving from the dive boat "GYPSY BLOOD". Sinker courtesy of local wreck diver 'Bartman'.
19CAPTAIN'S RECIPE BOOK, Brooklyn, NY – 1926 "Fish Recipes by well known Captains of Sheepshead Bay Fishing Boats". Published in 1926 by the New York Herald Tribune, this recipe book was a compilation of seafood recipes provided by the captains of the Sheepshead Bay fishing fleet. The sample page on the right shows recipes for the local fare… broiled and fried cod, plus several recipes for… codfish balls. A good deal (and a good meal) for a mere 15¢.
20CRUSOE BUSINESS CARD, Jersey City, NJ – 1926 The "CRUSOE" was one of the original boats owned by the Bogan family (the other was the "MUSTANG") and sailed from Bogan's Boat House in Jersey City, NJ. Besides fishing, the "CRUSOE" and "MUSTANG" also ferried workers to and from their job sites during the construction of the Pulaski Skyway (US 1 and US 9) across Newark Bay in New Jersey during the 1920s. The Bogan family relocated their business to Brielle in 1930. Courtesy of Captain Dave Bogan Sr.
21BOGAN'S BAIT SHOP Business Card, Jersey City, NJ – 1928 Captain John Bogan Sr. handed out this business card when he operated the family business from the banks of Newark Bay at Jersey City, NJ. His son, Captain John Bogan Jr. caught killifish locally and sold them at the store. In 1930, he relocated the business to Brielle, NJ. Courtesy of Captain Dave Bogan Sr.
22GIRALDA Fishing Sinker – 1930 A fishing sinker from the "GIRALDA", Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. This sinker dates from the 1930s and a diver recovered it from the "Sea Bright Grounds". During the 1920s and 1930s, it was popular for party boats to personalize their fishing sinkers. Many inscribed their sinker molds with the name of the vessel or its Captain (or sometimes both.) Courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
23GLORY Painting, Brooklyn, NY – 1930 / 2004 The "GLORY" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY is Mike's favorite party boat and in 2004, he commissioned maritime artist David Boone from Oaklyn, NJ to create this beautiful watercolor painting. The painting depicts the "GLORY" as she appeared in 1930, with all of her fine mahogany woodwork on display.
24COMANCHE Fishing Sinker, Brooklyn, NY – 1930 A fishing sinker from the "COMANCHE", Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. This sinker dates from about 1930 and a local diver recovered it off the New Jersey coast. During the 1920s and 1930s, it was popular for party boats to personalize their fishing sinkers. Many inscribed their sinker molds with the name of the vessel or its Captain (or sometimes both.)
The party boat "COMANCHE" sailed from Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn from 1922 to 1931 under the command of Captain Joe Moravoc. In 1931, Captain Lou Dodge purchased the "COMANCHE" and he continued sailing with her until 1945. Courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
25RELIANCE Sinker, Wreck Lead, NY – 1930 This sinker dates from about 1930 and it was recovered in 2011 from the wreck of the "DELAWARE" located off the coast of Bay Head, New Jersey by local diver 'Bartman' aboard the dive boat "GYPSY BLOOD". During the 1920s and 1930s, it was popular for party boats to personalize their fishing sinkers. Many captains inscribed their sinker molds with their name or the name of their vessel. At the time the "RELIANCE" sailed from Wreck Lead, New York under the command of Captain Herman Toby. Sinker courtesy of 'Bartman'.
26SHAMROCK Advertisement, New York, NY – 1931 During the Great Depression (1929 - 1939) many party fishing boats cut their fares and in response, the boats were crowded with anglers looking for a break from the harsh realities of everyday life and fish for the dinner table. This 1931 advertisement for Captain H. J. Wheeler's "SHAMROCK" was a prime example. The "SHAMROCK" was built in 1887 at Brooklyn, NY as sailing vessel. In 1912, the boat was converted to party boat fishing and sailed as Fred Plage's "SHAMROCK" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Captain Wheeler bought the boat in 1928 and moved it to Manhattan to replace his converted steam yacht "ANGLER".
27DORTHY B IV Advertising Sign, Brooklyn, NY – 1932 Signs like this 1932 advertising sign for the "DOROTHY B IV" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY were very a very popular form of advertising for the party boats of the time and were posted in local shops and businesses. Sign courtesy of Captain Kevin Bradshaw.
28FLYING CLOUD II Matchbook Cover, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 An advertising matchbook cover for the "FLYING CLOUD II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1933.
29GREAT MANTA, Brielle, NJ – 1933 GREAT MANTA, Brielle, NJ – 1933 This signed photo postcard shows "THE GREAT MANTA" that was captured by Captain A.L. Kahn on August 26, 1933. The huge ray was reported to have weighed over 5,000 pounds and measured more than 20 feet across the wing. The critter was caught when it became fouled in the anchor line of the "MISS PENSACOLA II" and was unable to free itself. The ray was towed to Feuerbach and Hansen's Marina in Brielle, New Jersey where it was hoisted ashore with a travel lift.
30GREAT MANTA Flyer, Brielle, NJ – 1934 This advertising flyer from 1934 hawks the GREAT MANTA caught by Captain A.L. Kahn. All you needed was 15 cents to see it on display. Pass me a bag of buttered popcorn!