Although Loren Ambiel was surprised to learn that she might be accompanying her father on his next salmon fishing trip, she’s almost the same age her father was when he got his first taste – twelve. That first trip, back in 1968, was all it took for young Greg Ambiel to become fascinated with the sea.
After graduating from high school, Ambiel briefly considered a career in marine biology, but he was unable to gain a seat in the first class attempted. The next day, he had a berth on an albacore boat, and all college plans were shelved.
In the 1980s, he worked as a deckhand on commercial passenger fishing vessels operating out of Santa Cruz. Then, in the mid-1980s, Ambiel took a job as crewman on the F/V Nona Jane, and spent the summer fishing salmon out of Fort Bragg. He discovered that he loved the freedom afforded by commercial fishing, and began saving for his own boat.
For many years, he worked as crewman to Santa Cruz fisherman Frank Ribiero (F/V Gale R), fishing for salmon, albacore and Dungeness crab. In addition, Ambiel crewed on herring gillnet boats in San Francisco Bay and also on swordfish driftnet vessels.
Finally, in 1995 he bought the F/V Tasu, a 48-foot classic wooden West Coast troller built by Adolph Lindstrom in 1951 on the Columbia River. On the Tasu, Captain Ambiel trolls for salmon and albacore, and traps Dungeness crab.
Captain Ambiel is married to Denise, they have two children, their daughter, deckhand-to-be Loren, and her younger brother, Wilson. (Wilson was named for his uncle, commercial fisherman Wilson Quick, and his grandfather.)
Look for the Tasu on “T” Dock in the South Santa Cruz Harbor. But don’t expect to see Captain Ambiel there – if he’s not out fishing, he’ll be at home enjoying time with his family.