This Marine knows seafood

    Captain Jon and his wife mother next to his boat in Depoe Bay.

    U.S. Marine veteran Jon Barnard loves fresh seafood. 

    In fact, he loves it so much that he moved to the Oregon coast, bought a boat and started a commercial fishing business so he could share his passion with everyone.

    “There’s nothing better than coming off of the ocean to a meal of fresh seafood.” says Barnard.

    From his boat ‘El Desarae’ Jon fishes to order for restaurants and individual customers.  

    “We are a custom order fish seller direct to end user. We sell today what we catch today. Our fish are individually caught, bled and iced to provide the freshest, high quality fish available.
    We fish seasonal catch including ling cod, nearshore ground fish species and albacore tuna.”


    With a few days notice via his Facebook page Barnard will take an order for a day’s trip.

    Captain Jon and his grandson Tucker

    Sometimes Jon is accompanied by his 15 year old grandson Tucker who is also a licensed commercial fisherman.

    A typical day for Barnard begins at five a.m. “I’ll get the boat ready and head out (weather permitting) and fish until about two or three o’clock in the afternoon. Then upon return to dock there’s getting customers their catch and then cleaning up of the boat.  So typically I’m putting in a 14-15 hour day.”

    When asked if guests can pick up ready filleted portions he  says, “No, because of the type of limited license I carry I must deliver a whole fish to my customer. But once it’s paid for I can then help with the filleting of portions”  Barnard tells clients, “an average lingcod will yield about 25 percent of it’s total weight to actual edible meat so they need to plan accordingly.”

    And while it’s very cool to tell everyone about a new veteran run business in the area, Jon’s story of how he came to be here is, well, as hard to believe as most fishing stories.

    “I joined the Marines at 18,” says Barnard “and was exposed to a whole new culture on the Island of Okinawa and also South Korea. Prior to that the only other place I had been outside of Montana was Oregon on vacation with my family.  Okinawa was where my love of the ocean began. I used to go snorkeling two to three times per week.  It was fascinating and beautiful.”

    Fast forward to 2014- Jon and his wife were living in Montana where he was involved with highway construction when they decided they wanted to move to Grants Pass Oregon.  They enjoyed many trips to the Oregon coast and loved to charter boats to catch fish out of Newport.

    On one such trip from Newport in 2015; “The boat I was on was out in some rough seas that were getting rougher.  We were going to leave and had stowed all the gear.  A ten foot swell came along and put the boat on its side.  Another came along and turned it upside down.

    The Captain and I were sitting inside the cabin and he started calling out a mayday.  We let the cabin fill with water to equalize the pressure and then swam out of a window.  The Captain grabbed a “ditch” bag that had a handheld radio, flares and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).

    He popped up next to me and we swam together to the boat and held on.”

    Barnard continued, “There was one person trapped underneath and one person floating on the sea laying atop an unsecured life vest.  He couldn’t make it to the boat and drifted away.  There were five us in the water. We got the EPIRB activated and didn’t know if anyone had received the mayday call. About a half an hour later the guy that was underneath the boat popped up wearing a fully strapped life vest.  We thought that he had probably died.  Once he came up he was too exhausted to swim to us and also drifted away.

    As time passed two local fishing vessels came to their aid and pulled the two afloat from the sea. “The ‘Affair’ out of Depoe Bay grabbed one fella and the ‘Miss Raven’ out of Depoe Bay grabbed the other.”

    Boat captains Loren Goddard and Mike Sorensen received  the Meritorius Public Service awards for their efforts  

    Barnard explains, “The Coast Guard was originally going to send one chopper out of Newport but it had to be recalled to due mechanical issues and two other crews were summoned-one from North Bend and one from Astoria.” 

    Thanks to cooperation and bravery on everyone’s part all survived.

    Fast forward to a few months later and Jon and his wife wanted to return to the coast for a short break.  Jon recalls, “Halfway to the beach she tells me she’s arranged a chartered fishing trip for me on the Miss Raven. It was time to get back on that horse.”

    It was on that trip that Jon decided he wanted to become a commercial fisherman. 

    The El Desarae heads out of Depoe Bay

    So in 2022 Jon went through the laborious steps of obtaining a limited commercial fishing license. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    The bite was good this day

    Jon fishes primarily on weekends and holidays but “If the bite is good, I’ll go out mid week.”

    You can reach Jon at his Facebook page El Desarae Catch of the Day.


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    Don Williams
    Don Williams serves as publisher and editor of The Lincoln City Homepage.


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