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.