Our Fishing Back When column allows us to comb through the NF archives and revisit the interesting stories that have graced our pages in years past. The one that most grabbed my attention in the February column first appeared in the magazine 10 years ago. It concerns Angelo Ghio's search for a long-lost 30-foot Monterey Clipper that his father (also named Angelo) had built in 1928.
The younger Ghio's search lasted 10 years. The good news is his effort finally paid off.
But finding the boat wasn't easy. For one thing, Ghio's father sold the boat in 1960. Moreover, the vessel didn't have a name because the elder Ghio didn't believe in naming a boat.
However, the younger Angelo Ghio was determined to track it down. "The boat is part of our heritage," he explained to NF Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley. "It's because of this boat that my sister and I exist. It was a way for my father to earn a living, to get married, have two children and buy a house. Why wouldn't I want to see the boat again?"
Ghio's father had started fishing in 1918 at age 13, working alongside his father, Angelo Natale Ghio, who came to San Francisco in 1900 from Riva Trigoso, a fishing village near Genoa, Italy. Ten years later, young Ghio had saved up enough money to have the Beviacqua Brothers at the Genoa Boat Works on Fisherman's Wharf build the Monterey clipper for him for $1,700.
Years later, Ghio sold the boat in September 1960 for the same price that he'd had it built for. It would be decades before his son would get to see the boat again.
But at a family gathering in 1994, seven years after his father passed away, the idea of tracking the boat down began in earnest. However, when Ghio called the fisherman to whom his father had sold the boat in 1960, the fisherman didn't know where the boat was.
The search was set aside for several years when Ghio's mother became ill and he and his sister cared for her. She died in 2001.
The following year, Ghio took up the search once more. He tried to trace the boat through the California Department of Fish and Game's commercial records.
Fortunately, Ghio had the number that was on the boat when his father sold it in 1960 — 28B459. The state was able to use that number to locate the boat.
Fish and Game subsequently called Ghio to let him know they had records for the boat. They supplied him with the names the boat had picked up through the years and other information about the fisheries and types of fishing gear used.
However, the state couldn't reveal where the boat was located because that information was deemed to be a "non-public record." Fortunately, Fish and Game did give him the boat's Coast Guard identification number.
Ghio then called the Coast Guard and learned that the boat was located just 20 miles away from him in Napa. After paying the Coast Guard a small fee, he received the name of the current owner, Dennis Spain of Napa.
He also found out that since 1961, the boat had had eight owners, six of whom used the boat to troll for salmon. Spain retired the vessel from commercial fishing, and upon hearing Ghio's story, he gave the no-name boat Ghio's father had built in 1928 a new name, calling it the Angelo Ghio.