Just before being discharged from the Army in 1965, Captain Carl “Boccie” Azevedo purchased his first commercial fishing boat, a small Monterey clipper. That same year, he became the second commercial fisherman to berth in Santa Cruz’s new harbor, tying off to pilings until the docks were finished. The cost at that time was $12 per month; in 2010, Captain Azevedo was paying $450 a month for that same dock space.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Captain Azevedo is the son of a commercial fisherman. His father, also named Carl, fished the F/V Little Anne out of Fisherman’s Wharf; in the 1950s, our Captain Azevedo would frequently accompany his father out fishing. In 1952, the family moved to Santa Cruz and continued to operate their fishing business.
Today Captain Azevedo is known up and down the coast by the name of his second boat, the 40-foot F/V Boccie Boy, which he purchased in 1976. The Boccie Boy was built in 1944 in Bellingham, Washington, as a navy launch and converted to a fishing vessel before Captain Azevedo took possession. When asked what the worst was they’d been through together, Captain Azevedo replied that not long after he’d bought the boat, he was about 105 miles out of San Diego, fishing for albacore, when the weather worsened. Another boat in the area, the F/V Carol C, had broken down and Captain Azevedo was towing the vessel back to port. After hours in the trough of the swell, with sustained winds of 35 knots or better, they had made it about 50 miles when the cleat ripped from the stern of the Boccie Boy, leaving the Carol C adrift. Fortunately, by that time they were within radio range of the Coast Guard, who came out and assumed the tow. Altogether, it took Captain Azevedo over 32 hours to get back to port.
Captain Azevedo has been married to Susie since 1988; he has a son and daughter, twins. His son fished some, but lives in Oregon now and has other employment.
Over the course of his long career, Captain Azevedo has fished for salmon, albacore, black cod (sablefish), Dungeness crab and rock crab, as well as sardines, anchovies, pompano, jack smelt, mackerel and other species using lampara nets. He loves being out on the open water, away from the rat race of day to day life. His least favorite thing about commercial fishing is interacting with California sea lions, which are plentiful on Monterey Bay and wreak havoc with his bait business.
A regular member of the Board of Directors of the Santa Cruz Fishermen’s Association, second-generation commercial fisherman Captain Azevedo feels saddened by the state of fishing. He says he feels lucky to have been born when he was born, and to have been able to have done all that he has done. One thing that the fishing community is particularly glad Captain Azevedo did recently is to get back on his boat. In 2010, Captain Azevedo was long lining black cod in Monterey Bay when he tripped and fell overboard. As he watched the breeze push his boat away, the good captain realized that his hydraulic line puller was still bringing fish onboard. The quick-thinking septuagenarian grabbed the heavy line of hooks and was hauled back on board the boat, flopping and gasping. A few hooks in his hands and a little worse for wear, but Captain Azevedo lived to fish again.
Not only does Captain Azevedo supply live bait for the Monterey Bay recreational fishing fleet, he frequently markets salmon, Dungeness crab and other delicacies directly to the public. Look for the Boccie Boy on “S” Dock in the South Harbor at Santa Cruz – but don’t ask for “Captain Azevedo,” or no one will know who you’re looking for – just call him “Boccie.”