Soundings - - Contents - BY STEVE KNAUTH

Ron Gal­lagher’s Jersey Cape 36 Ex­press was de­signed as a mar­lin-catch­ing, tour­na­ment­top­ping ma­chine.

Ron Gal­lagher’s Jersey Cape 36 is a tour­na­ment- top­ping, mar­lin­catch­ing ma­chine, and he’s not afraid to use it. “My great­est love is fish­ing the canyons off­shore—the Hud­son to the Wash­ing­ton canyons—from June to Septem­ber each year,” says Gal­lagher, 62, who lives in Langhorne, Penn­syl­va­nia, and boats out of Ocean City, New Jersey. “Lisa Marie pri­mar­ily tar­gets bill­fish with a reg­u­lar crew of three or four friends and fam­ily, in­clud­ing my youngest son, Ryan. We make about a dozen trips each sum­mer.”

Two lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions he’ll at­tend in­clude the Ocean City Mar­lin and Tuna Club Overnight Bill­fish Tour­na­ment and the Beach Haven White Mar­lin In­vi­ta­tional. “Lisa Marie has con­sis­tently placed in the top three boats for the Re­lease Award at the Ocean City Mar­lin and Tuna Club for the past eight years,” says Gal­lagher, who is the club’s com­modore. But there’s one fish­ing trip he makes each year that’s more spe­cial than the rest.

“I grew up spend­ing sum­mers in Wild­wood, New Jersey,” Gal­lagher says. “My grand­fa­ther and un­cle would take me fish­ing in the back bays of Wild­wood and off the coast of Cape May for floun­der. My un­cle is now 95 years old and legally blind but, amaz­ingly, he still con­tin­ues to ac­com­pany me on a yearly floun­der trip. He talks about the plans for our trip all year long and looks for­ward to spend­ing a day on the wa­ter.”

The fish­ing trip, says Gal­lagher, is “my way of thank­ing him for in­tro­duc­ing me to the life I love. He taught me how to catch min­nows at a bulk­head near my grand­par­ents’ home, crab the lo­cal creeks and the back bays, and make the 60-mile run to the canyons for mar­lin and tuna.”

The 2008 Jersey Cape Devil 36 Ex­press is his most re­cent boat. Gal­lagher—who is the owner of McCaf­frey As­so­ciates, a wire and ca­ble firm in Burling­ton, New Jersey— bought the boat in 2014, pay­ing around $ 375,000 for the six- year old model. It re­placed a well-used, 28-foot cen­ter con­sole. “I felt I needed to move to a larger boat that would al­low me to con­tinue to do what I love,” Gal­lagher says. “I didn’t want to feel so fa­tigued af­ter our 18-hour trips.”

Choos­ing a Jersey Cape wasn’t hard for Gal­lagher. The com­pany’s tagline is “Carolina flare with Jersey at­ti­tude,” and he has al­ways ad­mired the leg­endary boat­builders of the Caroli­nas, such as Spencer, Jar­rett Bay, Buddy Davis and Scar­bor­ough.

Lisa Marie is sta­ble on the troll and pro­duces a clean wake that is ideal for at­tract­ing bill­fish, Gal­lagher says. There’s also enough cock­pit space for a crew of five or six to work with­out trip­ping over one an­other. “When you have mul­ti­ple white mar­lin on, you need the cock­pit space to al­low your crew to work to­gether ef­fi­ciently and quickly to make the re­leases hap­pen,” Gal­lagher says.

Trad­ing up from a 7,000- pound cen­ter con­sole— with the ma­jor­ity of the weight hang­ing off the tran­som—to a 24,000-pound ex­press with two diesels un­der the deck has paid off, Gal­lagher says. “Lisa Marie is a bill­fish-rais­ing ma­chine that’s very nim­ble when back­ing down.” Gal­lagher and his crew have had nu­mer­ous mul­ti­ple-re­lease days, in­clud­ing one in the sum­mer of 2016 when

LOA: 36’7” Beam: 14’7” Draft: 3’5” Displ.: 22,500 lbs. Fuel: 450 gals. Wa­ter: 80 gals. Power: (2) 400- to 600-hp Cum­mins diesels

The 36 Ex­press is great for run­ning out to the canyons.

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