Davey's Locker keeps the ships sailing

Jimmy Stroup

Davey's Locker has been sending big fishing boats out into Newport

Harbor and beyond from the same office in the Balboa Pavilion since

1969.

And for almost that long, Tom Gray, owner and operator of T's

Tackle, has been watching them go. T's is the tackle shop where

expert and novice anglers alike shop before a trip on a Davey's

charter.

"They moved from that old place by that Blue Water Grill over here

in '69 and have been here ever since," he said.

Gray, who was a wine salesman and taught fishing classes on the

weekends for beginning fisherman, was always "hanging around" and

figures that's why he was chosen to run the tackle shop.

"They gave me the opportunity and I accepted," Gray said.

The "they" he speaks of is the group of businessmen who owned the

Balboa Pavilion, the building where Davey's operates from, at 400

Main St. on Balboa Peninsula.

"Davey's Locker is now separate from the Pavilion Company. It all

used to be one company. It actually used to be called Davey's Locker

Inc., and that was way back," said Bob Black, owner and vice

president of the Balboa Pavilion Company.

The Balboa Pavilion itself has been a long-standing bit of

peninsula history and has had its fair share of different tenants

through the years. . Built in 1905 by the Newport Bay Investment

Company, the Pavilion was originally a bath house, a place for those

without bathing facilities.

It was converted to a sort of arcade in the 1940s, complete with

bowling lanes and pool tables upstairs. After that, The Tale of the

Whale and Davey's moved in.

The Pavilion has offered a daily trip to Catalina Island since the

mid-1960s -- now that trip is aboard the "Catalina Flyer."

More recently, Harborside Restaurant has replaced The Tale of the

Whale, whose original owner, Bill Caouette, retired in 2001 and moved

to Idaho.

But Black has seen little change in the way Davey's operates over

the last 30 years.

"It's still pretty much the same as far as going out fishing on

the various boats -- the three-quarter-day, the half-day, all-day

boats," he said.

Regardless of the changes, Davey's Locker continues to send its

boats into the harbor at a rate of more than five a day -- that's if

you count the whale-watching expeditions, Bongos six-pack boats for

smaller groups, and the Newport Harbor Boat Parade trips every

December.

"Almost 2,000 trips a year," said Davey's manager Capt. Norris

Tapp.

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