Captain Doug Sparks was born in Port Hueneme, where his uncle was a commercial fisherman. By the time he got out of high school, Sparks was working as his uncle’s deckhand, fishing for rockfish at the Channel Islands.
Whether he realized it at the time or not, his life’s course was set. Aside from a short period spent helping his mother establish her business, Captain Sparks has now been fishing commercially for three decades – and Captain Sparks was not the only one in his family to be influenced by his fisherman uncle – two brothers also became commercial fishermen. One, now retired, fished the Florida Keys, while the other, now deceased, fished out of Port Orford, Oregon.
Over the years, Captain Sparks has fished for Dungeness crab, salmon, and rockfish. In addition, he worked as a deckhand on trawl, albacore and swordfish vessels, as well as tending for Port Orford urchin diver Leroy Harvey.
Today Captain Sparks owns the F/V Dickey Byrd, a 38-foot wooden troller built in 1938 in Juneau, Alaska. On it he fishes for salmon, Dungeness crab, halibut, ling cod and live rockfish, much of which he sells directly to the public.
Look for the F/V Dickey Byrd to be berthed on “G” Dock in Pillar Point Harbor on Half Moon Bay. If it’s not there, check back later as Captain Sparks often day fishes and might be there in the late afternoon, selling the true “catch of the day.”