One of Old Fisherman’s Wharf’s venerable institutions, Randy’s Fishing Trips & Whale Watching, has been purchased and divided into two new outfits, Discovery Whale Watch and J & M Sport Fishing.
Monterey, CA, March 30, 2017 — One of Old Fisherman’s Wharf’s venerable institutions, Randy’s Fishing Trips & Whale Watching, has been purchased and divided into two new outfits, Discovery Whale Watch and J & M Sport Fishing.
The two companies, one focusing on whale watching, the other on sport fishing, will officially open on April 1, with a public ribbon-cutting ceremony set for May 9th at 5:00 p.m.
Randy’s Fishing Trips & Whale Watching, which has been operating on the wharf since 1949 and since 1981 by Peter Bruno, was one of Monterey Bay’s top whale watching and sport fishing outfits, with two boats operating, the 61-foot Chubasco and the 53-foot Sur Randy our primary boat.
Discovery Whale Watch offers daily 3-4-hour whale watch trips narrated by a marine biologist/naturalist as well as ash scattering trips, private charters and other outings. Their mission statement is: “We strive to provide our passengers with an inspiring, educational experience on Monterey Bay.”
Trips are weather permitting and travel to different locations within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to view whales and dolphins and other wildlife throughout the year.
J & M Sport Fishing specializes in sport fishing trips for a variety of species, including salmon (in season), rock cod, ling cod, Dungeness crab, sand dabs, squid, mackerel, halibut and albacore.
The new owners of the two outfits are John Mayer and Mathew Arcoleo. They are currently updating the Chubasco to make it more comfortable and accommodating as a whale-watching vessel and making Sur Randy a fishing-only boat. They plan on adding a third boat to the fleet, which should be ready in time for the April opening.
About John Mayer
John Mayer was practically destined to become an owner of Randy’s Fishing Trips & Whale Watching.
At age 14 he got his first job washing boats at Randy’s Fishing. Within a couple of weeks he became a deckhand and by the time he was 18, he had logged enough hours on the ocean to apply for a captain’s license. And he got it.
He continued to crew on Randy’s boats as well as fill in as skipper when needed. He spent almost a dozen years working at the Fisherman’s Wharf institution.
In his late-20s, John decided to join Monterey Bay Whale Watch, where he ended up spending seven years and logged 3,000 trips out into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
“I adapted quite well,” he says of the transition from mostly fishing trips to whale watching. “Whale watching was just as interesting to me, if not more. What really gets me going is I really like to try and figure out what’s going on in the ocean. All the little things out there and how it all fits together.”
Born in Santa Cruz, but raised in Pacific Grove, John, now 36, has always had a deep and abiding interest in the ocean. So being a partner in both a fishing and whale-watching enterprise is a dream come true.
“It’s something I’ve been dreaming about since I was a deckhand with Randy’s Fishing,” he says. “I’ve always admired and respected the people doing this. But this is an expensive business to get into and I said I would only do it if the right person came along. And in Mathew, I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
John actually met Mathew through Mathew’s daughter, who was an intern with Monterey Bay Whale Watch. When Mathew came to Monterey with his daughter, the two men got to talking and found out they had similar visions.
The result was Discovery Whale Watching and J&M Sport Fishing (J&M taken from their first names, of course), in which they are 50/50 partners.
“We want to educate people and provide a great experience for them,” he says. “We want to tell the story about the ocean, its animals and its environment. And we’re putting together an all-star cast to do that.”
About Mathew Arcoleo
Mathew Arcoleo has spent almost 30 years in the high-tech industry in the Bay Area, but his roots are in Monterey and especially on Fisherman’s Wharf. You could say it’s in his blood.
Mathew’s great-grandfather was the first person to start a sport fishing enterprise on Fisherman’s Wharf and his grandfather and father both owned Frank’s Fishing Trips on the Wharf.
Not only that, young Mathew was affectionally known as a “wharf rat,” hanging out in his dad’s shop and working as a deckhand on his boats as a teen-ager before he left for college.
Born and raised in Monterey, Mathew attended Monterey schools as well as Monterey Peninsula College before he left to attend San Jose State, where he got a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He also got his MBA at Santa Clara University and was well on his way to a thriving career in the semi-conductor industry.
But he also knew that he would be drawn back to Monterey some day.
“It’s something I’d always thought I’d do one day,” he says about his return to Monterey and a business partnership on the Wharf with John Mayer, a fellow “wharf rat.” “I always thought of Monterey as my home. I even have a boat that I take out fishing or whale watching with my daughter, sons and friends.”
And to solidify the Monterey connections even more, John Mayer was captaining the boat for Monterey Bay Whale Watching when Mathew scattered his dad’s ashes at sea; one of the principals of MBWW, Richard Ternullo was a cousin of his; and his daughter, Brooke, worked as a summer intern on one of MBWW’s boats, which also happened to be captained by John Mayer.
It was on one of these excursions that Mathew and John started talking about their own venture on the Wharf.
With Randy’s for sale, Mathew and John thought it was their chance to fulfill that shared vision, but only if they could do it the right way, and that was with two separate outfits and another boat added to the fleet.
“We believe in having two companies, each one focusing on its core,” says Mathew, who currently lives in Campbell, California. He has a wife, Carrie, an elementary school teacher, daughter and two sons. Mathew hopes to return to Monterey one day. “Discovery Whale Watching is for whale watching. The boats used will be clean and set up for that. J&M Sport Fishing is all about fishing.”
Discovery Whale Watch
J & M Sport Fishing
66 Fisherman’s Wharf
Monterey, CA, 93940
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901