by Kristi Hawthorne, Oceanside Living Magazine
The “Antoinette W” is a familiar site in the Oceanside Harbor and its iconic turquoise and blue colors set it apart from the other boats. Built in 1978, in San Pedro, it was named after the original owner’s grandmother. Asked about changing the name of the “Antoinette W”, owner James Gardner said he only briefly contemplated it but never did because it’s considered bad luck.
Gardner, a commercial fisherman, bought the boat, built as an albacore trawler, in 1985. He soon after converted it to haul live bait. In 1990 Gardner signed on as the lessee of the Oceanside Bait Company at the Harbor and brought the Antoinette to Oceanside. Along with a crew of three, he fishes up and down the coast between La Jolla and Dana Point. He supplies the bait to the bait company, which in turns provides live bait to Helgren’s Sportfishing and the general public.
The 50 foot vessel carries 30 tons of water in its hatch and carries a load of 3,000 pounds of live bait. The Antoinette W can be seen along the shore most every morning before or just after daylight. But as Gardner pointed out, “we’re on fish time” so whenever the fish are “schooled up” he’s headed out.