Captain Tom Marconi - His Favorite Time Of Year

I would like to share some memories of a man that was like a father to me. By Marc ”FISHARK”

It is ALWAYS this time of the year I miss Captain Tom the most. He had many business "friends" but NOT many that were really considered family. I cherish the moment when Captain Tom said I was like a son to him.

Many Years ago at the age of 7 I made my first party boat trip and I remember it like it was yesterday. I used to bug my Uncle Stanley to take me fishing from the time I was 5 and he finally agreed to do so. All I kept hearing about was his friend Jerry and a guy named Harry Phillips and his co-captain soon to be partner and soon to be owner Tom Marconi.

I remember it was June 1968. I remember getting off the Knapp street exit and making the turn on Emmons Avenue to see Sooooooooooooo many boats all I kept saying was is this the boat we are going on? Is it the Big Boat and my Uncle said it was not the biggest boat, not the fastest boat but it was the BEST Boat.

Well to kind of move things along. For those who know me I TALK a lot (LOL) I was introduced to Captain Tom and all he kept saying was son your going to win the pool today. Well I did a nice BIG SEABASS and I was totally hooked.

Soon after that I would bug my father to drop me off at the boat so I could go fishing. My father got to know Captain Tom and we became a family. I do remember I paid a fare of $ 7 (Special Discount) Fortunately for me Tom NEVER raised my fare above $ 10 till he finally said to me Marc you do not have to pay a fare anymore just help out once in a while.

Captain Tom Marconi was a friend. A man I respected. I was invited on Many Xmas Blackfish trips and had the opportunity to fish with the best of the best. I was invited over Toms home for many Xmas and Thanksgiving Dinners.

Here’s another classic story:

It was Mid December sometime in the Late 70's early 80's can't remember exact dates as I am getting old (LOL)

It was a Cold, Frigid BLUSTERY day - wind was HOWLING the Bay was Frozen but I was dropped off by my Father around 4AM and I think I might have been the ONLY passenger to show till about 5 AM then a few regulars showed up and we were up to about 8 or 9 NO OTHER BOAT WAS GONNA GO and it appeared we were not going either

I was bummed out and figured NO way are we going but Captain Tom took a short walk over to see Red Tanfield from the Eagle and asked Red if he would break the ice for us so we could go.

Well to say the least the Mates called Tom everything under the sun. I remember Tony, Jerry and Harvey were the mates. We passed the Jetty and it was almost Monsoon conditions but Tom said lets give it a shot. We proceeded to Scotland anchored up and picked some Ling. The Whiting never bit that well on the anchor. After EVERYONE complained that they did not want 3 to 5 lb ling we made our way to GODS country (Ambrose) I remember Tom saying if we can't drift we might as well go home. The wind was blowing a gale and the seas were VERY angry. Well again we could not drift so we anchored on a wreck and started bailing Ling. The BIGGEST kind and again people Complained (LOL)

Well Tom said we had to go home as the Seas were building to 12 Footers and it was getting evil

He told EVERYONE lines up Time to go home and he would give EVERYONE a rebate ticket of $ 10

Boy I lucked out since my fair was ONLY $ 7 FREE TRIP FOR MEEEEEEEE Woo Hoooooooooooooo

I remember hearing the Loud Speaker and Tom said lets try something this was after the Mates already put everything away. The Late Harvey Saler said to tom ARE YOU CRAZY and Tom said these people want Whiting and I have a great idea and Harvey said what is that ?

Tom said he would position the Pilot between 2 LONG 300 Foot Tankers and we could try and drift in between

GENIUS MOVE - We stayed a little over an hour and we SLAMMED THE BIGGEST KIND OF WHITING

Real Jumbos anywhere from 2 to 4 Plus Lbs

Doubles, Triples as many as you could reel!

Here is another classic Pilot memory that as I recall I feel like it was yesterday.

It was Spring and Captain Tom was just winding up his Spring Flounder season. It was BLACKFISH time. Toms FAVORITE time of the year. I believe it was the Spring of 1978 / 1979. It was one of those PERFECT days weather wise but the Blackfish would just not cooperate. We must have hit 10 Wrecks that day and with a Full Boat and almost ZERO fish caught I knew it was a day to stay out of the Wheelhouse. For those who knew Tom well would also know his Italian temper would come out on a bad day of fishing. There must have been 50 people on the boat, making a standard maybe 100 Blackfish for the day, and that for Captain Tom was a VERY bad day. Well he decided 1 more drop and I kept saying where are we going Captain Tom and all he would say is when I drop the anchor you will think I am crazy. Well we made the turn past Kingsborough college and we were passing Stella Maris and the throttles slowed down. Yes Tom said Marc get a buoy and I said ok as I used to get a kick out of the Clorox bottles to mark a wreck. I said Tom are we making a sand porgy drop joking and he said GOD DAM IT THROW THE DAM BUOY (LOL) He was not laughing but I can hear him now. Well we were on a very small wreck INSIDE Sheepshead Bay

Immediately the Bow was INNNNNNNNNNNNNNN Blackfish Flying over the rail up to 10 Lbs being caught in 25 feet of water. The only problem was only about 10 people out of the 50 were in soooooooooooooo what did Captain Tom do?

He re-anchored the boat about 5 times so EVERYONE was in. I asked him later on about that drop and all he would say is Son that was the Hot Dog Drop.

Years later at his home during a Christmas dinner I asked Tom about the Hot Dog drop and he said that it was a wreck that George O'Connell gave him formally of the Whitechin and Pilot. George used to sell Hot Dogs in the Bay.

Captain Tom Marconi deserves more credit than most of the "professionals" get today. I can remember plenty of days when the only thing Tom used to get on a wreck were ranges and his trusting buoy. He was old school in an era where modern technology developed. When I used to ask him about getting a plotter he used to tell me Son what do I need that for we had over 600 Blackfish yesterday could I do better with a plotter? Who could argue that point? Tom liked to teach kids how to fish. Tom loved his family. When his son passed away at a very young age due to a car accident Tom was never the same. There were times he just did not have the desire but he always pulled it together once he stepped foot on Pier 7 in Sheepshead Bay. I can hear him today as if it was 30 years ago.

Come on fellas ALL DAY BLACKFISH first boat out 6 AM

He had characters on that boat for regular customers, customers that where as loyal to him as he was to them. If for some reason the boat was not sailing most of his customers would turn around and go home rather than go to another boat. It is not that the other Captains were not good but when a customer said they were going on the Pilot anything less was a disappointment.

Toms favorite saying always was and always will be


Here is a little story on Tom Marconis last fishing trip

I would like to tell other members about. Toms last 2 fishing trips consisted of a Cod trip with Eastmans and a Haddock trip with Boston Fishtales. Also on the Fishtales trip was Sam843 little did I know Sam and Tom went back even further than I imagined and they exchanged stories that were fascinating to say the least on fishing, but what I remember the most was Sam and Tom discussing playing ping pong together and a pool hall I recall or might have been elsewhere Sam would need to elaborate on that.

That was a great day to remember. 2 of the BEST fisherman and people I have known and still have the pleasure of speaking with Sam on a regular basis.

I really could write a novel with all my experiences with Captain Tom and will add more as people request more info. I will keep my memory’s of Captain Tom Marconi in my heart. He spent his last days fishing with me in NH with Captain Phil and I will NEVER forget his smile.

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