1HELENE, Brooklyn, NY – 1913 The "HELENE" sailed from Morson's Dock and was one of the first open boats to sail from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Like many of the early party boats, she was an auxiliary schooner powered by a small gasoline engine. Photo Courtesy of Tom Whitford.
2ANGLER, Anglesea, NJ – 1914 The "ANGLER" prepares to leave for the 'Fishing Banks' from Mace's Pier at Anglesea, New Jersey during the summer of 1914. (Anglesea is now North Wildwood, NJ.) Built in 1908 at Pocomoke City, MD, she was the first of several "ANGLER" named vessels that would sail from Anglesea over the next 30 years.
3FREDORA, Fortescue, NJ – 1914 This advertising postcard promoted Captain C.W.S. Garrison's Motor Yacht "FREDORA". The advertisement reads "Off to the famous Fortescue Fishing Grounds on the Delaware Bay".
4M.J.R. II, YANKEE DOODLE and ADA L, Brooklyn, NY – 1914 The "M.J.R. II", "YANKEE DOODLE" and "ADA L" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1914. The "M.J.R. II" was one of the first party boats to sail from Sheepshead Bay. Captain Fred Wrege (who also was the Captain of the "EFFORT") built the "M.J.R. II" in 1912 for Martin J. Rouche, (hence the name M.J.R.). Mr. Rouche operated the MJR Restaurant on nearby Emmons Avenue, but for reasons unknown, Mr. Rouche never took possession of the "M.J.R. II", so Captain Wrege kept the boat. Photo courtesy of Tom Whitford.
5SHEEPSHEAD BAY FLEET, Brooklyn, NY – 1914 This vintage postcard depicts Sheepshead Bay at Brooklyn when it was on the brink of becoming the nucleus of Party Boat Fishing in the New York area. Visible in the postcard are several of the original vessels that sailed from Sheepshead Bay such as the EFFORT, MJR II, EVELYN, and GIRALDA to name a few.
Also visible in the background is the Martin Bros. Dock with the recently purchased "GIRALDA" berthed at the end of the pier.
6CAYUGA, Brooklyn, NY – 1915 The "CAYUGA" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1915. This coal-fired steamer sailed from Sheepshead Bay during the 1914 and 1915 seasons. She was owned and operated by Captains Charles and Edward Berglund. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
7INDOLENT, Brooklyn, NY – 1915 The "INDOLENT" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1915. In this photo, she is departing her pier at Sheepshead Bay and the famous Manhattan Beach Hotel is in the background. Built in 1896 at Weymouth, MA as a luxury yacht, she was converted to party boat fishing in 1914. During 1914, Captain Harry Hansen operated the 105-foot "INDOLENT" from the 23rd Street Pier at Brooklyn, NY and then relocated her to Sheepshead Bay in 1915. In 1922, Captain Hansen sold the "INDOLENT" to his son-in-law, Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin, who renamed her as the "GLORY". In 1923, Captain Martin remodeled and widened her. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
8JOSEPHINE, Brooklyn, NY – 1915 A newspaper advertisement for the "JOSEPHINE" circa 1915. She sailed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY and was skippered by Captain Bert Dunham.
9TAURUS, New York, NY – 1915 The "TAURUS" triple-decker party fishing boat circa 1915. 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 sidewheels were 31 feet in diameter. She steamed (literally) from "The Battery" at the southern tip of Manhattan. It paid to arrive early and get a spot on the lower deck. Otherwise, you would have to settle for the top deck and the anglers on the lower decks would occasionally cut off your catch as you tried to reel it aboard (and snitch it.) As many as 600 anglers crowded aboard the "TAURUS" to go fishing on a busy day. In 1913, the "TAURUS" grossed $40,000. (The fare on weekdays was 75¢ for adults and 25¢ for children. All fares were $1 on Sundays and holidays.)
10MABEL HOLLAND, Brooklyn, NY – 1916 This original vintage cabinet photo shows a large group of anglers aboard the "MABEL HOLLAND" while weakfising at Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, NY during the summer of 1916. The "MABLE HOLLAND" was built in 1901 as an oyster sloop at Rockaway, NY. Converted to a party fishing boat in 1911, she was one of the earliest vessels to offer daily open boat fishing trips from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY.
As a side note, large weakfish weighing over ten pounds were very common residents of Gravesend Bay during this era. Many of the smaller boats at Sheepshead Bay took advantage of the great fishing and close proximity of Gravesend Bay, and fished for weakfish during the summer months.
11MURRAY’S DOCK, Wreck Lead, NY – 1916 The party boat fleet at Murray's Dock (also known as Murray's Fishing Station) located at Wreck Lead, Long Island, NY circa 1916. The first vessel is Captain Martin Murray’s "GEORGIE M.", behind her is Captain Charles Day's "COMMODORE" and the last vessel is the "ADMIRAL" owned by Martin Murray and operated by Captain Henry Wright. In the photo, a group of well-dressed folks is watching anglers sort their catch on the floating dock. Wreck Lead Channel was located between Long Beach and Island Park on Long Island.
12NANCY B, Brooklyn, NY – 1916 The "NANCY B" from Brooklyn, NY circa 1916. Built in 1910, this 'vintage' 45-footer sailed from Canarsie, Brooklyn with Captain Axel Lyons at the helm. In 1922, she relocated and sailed from Manhattan and in 1925, she moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY.
13DORA, Brooklyn, NY – 1918 This 1918 advertisement promotes Captain Louis Komereck's "DORA" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. The "DORA" was built in 1904 at Hoboken, New Jersey. In 1940, Captain Bill Ryan purchased the "DORA" and then sailed her from the Gerritsen Beach section of Brooklyn, NY. She was dismantled in 1952.
14INDOLENT, Brooklyn, NY – 1918 A vintage newspaper advertisement for Captain Harry Hansen's "INDOLENT" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1918. Built in 1896 at Weymouth, MA as a luxury yacht, she was converted to party boat fishing in 1914. During her first season in 1914, she sailed from the 23rd Street Pier at Brooklyn, NY and then relocated to Sheepshead Bay in 1915. In 1922, Captain Hansen sold the "INDOLENT" to his son-in-law, Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin, who renamed her as the famous "GLORY". In 1923, Captain Martin remodeled her by adding a topside wheelhouse, expanding the cabins and widening her beam.
15ROSE R II, Brooklyn, NY – 1918 The "ROSE R II" from Messenger's Pier, Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY circa 1918. Built in 1913 at Patchogue, NY for Captain Gus Rau, she had a whopping 100-horsepower engine. Captains Dick Person and Ernst Edwardson operated the "ROSE R II" at the time this photograph was taken. Notice that the boat advertised she was "Inspected and Passed as Unsinkable by the U.S. Government". Yikes! (Actually, she had air tanks strapped into her hull compartments.)
16SHEEPSHEAD BAY, Brooklyn, NY – 1918 As this 1918 image proves, deep sea fishing was very popular only a few years after the first party boat sailed from this port. Each pier was soon occupied by boats, customers, and most importantly, FISH! The vessel to the right is the "DORA". She was built in 1904 at Hoboken, NJ and was operated by Captain Lou Komarek. Behind the "DORA" is the original "SEA PIGEON".
17ADA L, Brooklyn, NY – 1919 The "ADA L" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1919. In 1919, Captain Adam 'Eddie' Doll returned from duty in World War I and desperately wanted to return to the fishing industry, so he purchased the "ADA L". She leaked badly and took seas over the bow at anchor (the gent shown sitting in the bow probably got pretty wet later on in the day.) Later that year, he sold the boat to Captain John 'Candy' Keefe for $400. Captain Doll told Captain Keefe about all of her shortcomings, but he bought the boat anyway, fixed her up and did well with her.
Captain John Michaels' "AMERICA" is in the background (she later became Captain Pete Saro's "SPRAY II" from Belmar, NJ.) Captain Doll's son Bill is currently the oldest active party boat skipper in the area and Captain Keefe later went on to own the "TAMBO". Photo courtesy of Ed Keefe Jr.
18SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1919 This 1919 photo shows the "SACHEM" long before she started her fishing days. The Pusey and Jones Corporation built her in 1902 for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the steel-hulled luxury yacht "CELT". Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased her and renamed her as the "SACHEM". The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" (SP-192). During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental ocean communications work during secret cruises to the Caribbean.
She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919. Mr. Metcalf later sold her to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor. In 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and she would become one of many yachts purchased during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat.
19GIRALDA and EVELYN, Brooklyn, NY – 1921 The "GIRALDA" and the "EVELYN" in 1921, as they are about to depart the "Martin Brothers Pier", Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Captain Dave Martin operated the "GIRALDA" and Captain Jacob "Jake" Martin operated the "EVELYN". Notice the partially sunken vessel in front of the "EVELYN". Fishing in style… The inset shows a well dressed couple aboard the "EVELYN". The lady is wearing a nice hat, 'midi' blouse and dress while the gent is dressed in jacket and tie and wearing a 'skimmer' straw hat. Photo courtesy of Captain Jack Bogan.
20CAPT. JOHNSON, Cape May, NJ – 1923 A fine day's sport was available on the 110-foot twin-screw steamer "CAPT. JOHNSON" from Cape May, NJ circa 1923. Captain Thomas Johnson's boat was the largest boat on the NJ coast at the time. The "CAPT. JOHNSON" was built 1922 at Wildwood, NJ. The boat left for the Cape May fishing banks on the arrival of the 6:00 AM Reading Excursion Train from the Chestnut Street station in Philadelphia, PA. Fine accomodations for Ladies.
21CAPT. JOHNSON, Cape May, NJ – 1925 The "CAPT. JOHNSON" is shown about to 'shove off' for a day of fishing from Cape May, NJ. Built in 1922 at Cape May, NJ, the "CAPT. JOHNSON" and was owned and operated by Captain Thomas Johnson and later by his son Captain Ralph Johnson.
22COMMODORE, Wreck Lead, NY – 1925 The "COMMODORE" was built 1911 at Patchogue, NY and was originally owned by Captain Charles Day. In 1921, Captain Henry Wright purchased her and continued to sail the boat from Wreck Lead, NY.
23SHEEPSHEAD BAY PARTY BOAT FLEET, Brooklyn, NY – 1925 This spectacular photo captures the hustle and bustle of "The Bay" during its heyday era circa 1925. Taken at the western end of Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn, NY, this photo shows (from left to right) the "VELOCITY", the "EFFORT II", the "ELMAR II" leaving for a day's fishing and in the foreground, the "SEA PIGEON" is at her berth. The white footbridge between Manhattan Beach and Sheepshead Bay and marking the western end of the Bay can be seen in the background. Photo courtesy of the Captain Fred Wrege and Captain Charles VanDerVoort families.
24VAUD J, Cape May, NJ – 1925 The "VAUD J" from Cape May, NJ circa 1925. The "VAUD J" was built in 1907 at Wildwood, NJ. Advertisements in 1925 said "Dear Sir: Take that fishing trip on the remodeled 'VAUD J', the fastest steamer out of Cape May, NJ". Captain Hurley Moore's boat had twin 150 HP engines and a capacity of 130 anglers. Like several other boats of the era, the "VAUD J" waited for the Reading Excursion Train to arrive with anglers from Philadelphia, PA. The "VAUD J" was later sold to Captain Harry Mogok.
25ANGLER, New York, NY – 1926 Captain H. J. Wheeler's "ANGLER" sailed daily from the Battery on Manhattan Island's southernmost tip. Built in 1898 at the Crescent Shipyard in Elizabeth, NJ, as the luxury steam yacht "ELREBA, she was owned by millionaire and industrialist Henry Darlington. She became the "ANGLER" in 1926. The advertising sign on her top deck says she offered "Deep Sea Fishing Excursion(s)" daily at 7:45 AM from the Battery except on Mondays". The fare was a whopping $2.50.
The "ANGLER" relocated to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY in 1928 when Captain Wheeler sold her to Captain Fred Plage in exchange for cash and Captain Plage's smaller party boat, the "SHAMROCK". Consequently, the "SHAMROCK" was transferred to Captain Wheeler and sailed from the Battery, and the "ANGLER" headed off to Sheepshead Bay with Captain Plage.
26BOHEMIAN, New York, NY – 1926 A 1926 postcard for Captain Frank Schwartzman’s "BOHEMIAN" from the Battery, New York City. Built in 1906 at Boston, MA, this steamer began her fishing career in 1918 when she sailed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. THE "BOHEMIAN" was later sold to Captain Frank Schwartzman, who relocated her to the Battery at the southern tip of Manhattan. On June 13, 1935, she was struck by the barge "GREAT LAKE DREDGE No. 52" east of Romer Shoal and sank.
27GIRALDA, Brooklyn, NY – 1927 A 1927 advertising postcard for Captain Dave Martin's "GIRALDA" sailing from Pier 6 at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. The coal–fired steamer "GIRALDA" was built in 1896 by James M. Baylis & Sons of Port Jefferson, NY as a luxury yacht. Captain Martin purchased the "GIRALDA" in 1914 and sailed her from Sheepshead Bay as a party fishing vessel until the beginning of World War II.
28GLORY, Brooklyn, NY – 1927 A 1927 advertising postcard for Captain 'Jake' Martin's "GLORY" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. She was built in 1896 at Weymouth, MA as the 105-foot steam yacht "INDOLENT". She began her fishing career in 1914 when she was purchased by Captain Harry Hansen and she sailed from Brooklyn’s west side. In 1922, Captain Hansen sold the "INDOLENT' to his son-in-law, 'Jake' Martin who renamed her "GLORY".
During the summer of 1923, the "GLORY" was taken to a boatyard at Cold Spring Harbor, NJ (now called Wildwood) to be enlarged, or hipped out, but in a very unusual way. The boatyard built a larger hull that surrounded the old one, and then cut holes in the inner one so the space between the two hulls could breathe.
29ANGLER, Brooklyn, NY – 1928 Captain Frederick Plage's "ANGLER" from Pier 11, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1928. Built as the "ELREBA" in 1898 by the Crescent Shipyard at Elizabeth, NJ for Pittsburg businessman Henry Darlington, she was a 125-foot steel hulled steam yacht. Powered by "two water-tube boilers and engines of the four-cylinder expansion type", she could cruise at 12 knots. The "ELREBA" was later sold to Captain Plage who renamed her as the "ANGLER" and converted her for party boat fishing. At the time, she was one of the many beautiful steam yachts to daily sail to the local fishing grounds. She even had a bronze eagle sculpture on top of the pilothouse.
30GASOON, Far Rockaway, NY – 1928 A 1928 postcard for Captain Frank Henning’s 'Unsinkable' party boat "GASOON" from Far Rockaway, NY. (Air tanks were strapped into her hull compartments to give her the 'unsinkable' status.) Built in 1911 at Jersey City, NJ, she began fishing in 1917 from that port under the command of Captain Frank Berringer. In 1926, Captain Frank Henning bought her and moved the boat to Simis' Beach at Far Rockaway, NY. Postcard courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.