When Captain Tom Genochio began fishing commercially right out of high school, it was the natural choice. His father, Bill Genochio, had been a commercial fisherman since the 1960s. As a teenager, Captain Genochio often accompanied his father on his small Monterey clippers (F/V Mary Gay), trolling for salmon in the summer months. In 1966, Captain Genochio purchased his first boat, the F/V Sadie, and expanded his fishing operation to include trolling albacore in the late summer and occasionally trapping Dungeness crabs in the winter months.
In 1970, Captain Genochio purchased the F/V Helen Ruth, a 41-foot wooden vessel built in 1946 by Lomar McInnis in North Englewood. With the Helen Ruth, Captain Genochio trawls for groundfish – California halibut, all types of sole, and rockfish. Over the decades, he has worked tirelessly to redesign and improve his nets in an attempt to make his fishing operations more efficient. As Captain Genochio explains, “we have to protect the resources -- if we wipe out the fish, we’ve wiped out our future.”
Captain Genochio has been married to Sandra since the mid-1970s; they have one daughter, and their first grandchild is eagerly anticipated this fall. Although his daughter never pursued fishing as a career, she did occasionally accompany her father out to sea, and was “always a good luck charm.”
When Faces asked Captain Genochio for the story behind the parrot on the side of the Helen Ruth, we learned that it was there when he bought the boat in 1970. Is there logic behind forty years of repainting someone else’s emblem? Of course -- in general, fishermen are a superstitious lot, and when you have a good boat like the Helen Ruth, that always performs well, you simply don’t make changes.
Look for the Helen Ruth in its berth at the head of “G” Dock at Pillar Point Harbor on Half Moon Bay.