Frank Inferrera’s grandfather, Salvatore Silvestri, supported his family by fishing commercially out of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. However, he retired years before Frank was old enough to join him. Still, Frank remembers hearing stories, and the possibility of supporting himself by fishing was never far from his mind.
As a youth Frank fished the piers around San Francisco Bay, and ventured out on boats whenever the opportunity presented itself. He attended the John O’Connell High School of Technology, followed by more electronics classes at Heald College and, in the 1970s began working at a high-tech firm in Santa Clara. Seven years later, he went boat hunting and wound up buying the F/V Salmon Scooter, a 22-foot commercial salmon boat built out of plywood. Captain Inferrera’s true career had begun.
He married Debby Salus in 1979. That spring, she quit her job, they moved to Santa Cruz and Debby assumed her new role as pilot on the Salmon Scooter. Frank laughed as he said, “that lasted a year, then we replaced her with an auto-pilot.” Debby returned to life on the beach, but provided much-needed shore support, meeting the boat at the dock whenever it returned to port with groceries and clean laundry. After fishing a season or two on the little boat, Captain Inferrera upgraded to the F/V Molly Bloom, a 28-foot Monterey clipper.
In 1990, Captain Inferrera bought the F/V Ann R, a 40-foot wooden double ender. On that boat, he continued to fish for salmon, albacore, black cod (sablefish) and Dungeness crab. In addition, for a while he fished for rockfish and rock crab, which he sold directly to the public from a slip in Santa Cruz Harbor. To better survive the ongoing California salmon disaster, in 2007 Captain Inferrera bought a Southeast Alaska troll permit and took the Ann R to Alaska. On his return, the boat was put up for sale and he began seriously looking for a larger vessel.
In 2010, Captain Inferrera upgraded to the F/V Aurora, a 49-foot steel boat built in Napa in 1964 by Jim Murphy. The larger boat will allow him to fish in more comfort, traveling to Alaska in the early summer to fish for salmon, returning home via Oregon, where he will spend several months chasing albacore. In the wintertime, he plans to fish the Aurora for local Dungeness crab.
Captain Inferrera loves working outside, and the potential for seeing something different every day. He enjoys traveling port-to-port, renewing friendships made over his many years of fishing, but looks forward to coming back to Monterey Bay every fall and enjoying some time off with Debby.
You can sometimes find the Aurora on “A” Dock in Moss Landing, but generally only if Captain Inferrera is doing maintenance. If it’s fishing season, the boat, and its captain, will most likely be at sea.