Commercial fishing wasn’t Larry Fortado’s first job, but he’s been at it since 1972. His brother Jim also became a commercial fisherman around the same time.
Captain Fortado’s favorite thing about being a commercial fisherman is the independence afforded by the lifestyle, although he also enjoys the camaraderie found within the fleet.
Married and with three children, Captain Fortado worked hard to support his family. In the spring and summer months, he would troll for salmon and albacore, and in the winter he trapped Dungeness crab and gillnetted herring on San Francisco Bay.
In the late 1980s, Captain Fortado purchased the F/V Phyllis J, a 60-foot steel vessel built by Sullivan in Half Moon Bay. The Phyllis J is used to trawl for rockfish, sole and halibut, and to trap Dungeness crab.
In 1981, Captain Fortado expanded his fishing business into the wholesale arena. Despite the dockside demands of Three Captains, on occasion he still manages to find time to go fishing.
Look for Captain Fortado at Three Captains, at the end of Johnson Pier in Half Moon Bay; he’ll be glad to help with all your seafood needs. And if it’s not out fishing, you’ll see the Phyllis J at the head of “E” Dock, on your left as you walk out the pier.
“Larry and Jim Fortado: Fishermen,” written by Robbie Bergerson. From Transitions: Montara to Pescadero, An Oral History (1977), inspired and edited by Canada College teacher Aida Hinjosa.