“I felt that we were pioneers,” Marlene says. “The
only thing we knew about fish was shrimp in a cocktail
glass. Glenn grew up in Kentucky and I grew up in
West Virginia. And there’s not an ocean there. When
we would go out fishing, I would go on the boat. We
handlined for black sea bass, and that was a lot of work.
We started using old crab pots that we baited with
fresh menhaden. I would make flags. We had real long
bamboo poles, and flags with numbers on them. We
would drop the trap down and mark it on the map. We
would have 20 traps, all numbered. We’d leave them
out for a couple of hours or overnight. We caught 1,600
pounds of black sea bass one time.”
The fish were hand-packed on ice — “so it didn’t
bruise” — loaded into an 18-wheeler and sent to New
York City. It was especially popular in Chinatown.
Top: Marlene Hieronymus was a well-known local chef, with regular
“We had a good market for our black sea bass,” she says.
appearances on local TV, before appearing on NBC’s The Today Show.
It was time for a second boat, this one a 44-foot trawler.
Above: The Hieronymus brothers’ seafood market sold fish from their
With an abundance of shrimp and fresh fish coming in,
own fleet as well as the fresh catch from other local fishermen.
they launched the next phase.
“In 1972 there was a seafood market where Motts Channel Seafood is,” Marlene says. “He sold shrimp. No one had a market for
grouper, flounder, red snapper. We started that.”
The family bought a bar at the end of Stokely Road, the Sea Bag, and converted it into a seafood packing house. The demand was
more than they could supply from the two boats, so they began buying from other fishermen.
“The fishermen would unload the fish and sell them,” she says. “One of our fishermen was Captain Noah. His boat was the Ark.
There was the Mr. X, the old Nite Train, the Brenda Lee. We made it so fishermen could make a living.”