Captain Cook

On Greg Markert’s fishing boat, you hook ’em, he cooks ’em.

Photo by Jason Varney.

Captain/owner Greg Markert’s boat, the 100-foot Golden Eagle, runs daily fishing trips out of the Belmar Marina in Belmar. It’s a typical party boat in most respects, trolling the coast for bluefish, flounder, stripers, as well as the occasional farther foray for tuna. But in one respect it may be unique: Markert, an accomplished and creative chef, will cook your catch in the boat’s full-service galley, and serve it in the spacious deckhouse before the boat returns to shore. A floating fish market and restaurant in one, you might say.

“You really can’t get fish any fresher than here,’’ Markert, 47, said recently as he removed the bloodline of a just-caught 20-inch bluefish aboard the Golden Eagle, about a mile off Point Pleasant. As he spoke, he sautéed peppers and Vidalia onions on the grill, chopped avocados, tomatoes, and cilantro, and shredded some cheddar and Jack cheese.

“As a kid,” said Markert, who was raised in Edison and lives in New Brunwick, “I would watch The Galloping Gourmet and Julia Child, and then would run to the kitchen and try to copy them.’’ Later, as a teen, Markert discovered ocean fishing, becoming a deckhand, first mate, and eventually captain of his own vessel.

Four years ago he purchased the Golden Eagle. It’s a full-time love, yet a part-time occupation; he keeps his day job as a distributor of articulating cranes for utility equipment and oil rigs. The job demands lots of travel; Markert has taken advantage of the trips to spice up his culinary talents in New Orleans and Italy.

That might explain what Markert calls Captain Greg’s Special Spice Mix, which he sprinkled in a plastic bag before adding strips of the just-filleted bluefish. After a little shake, Markert quickly sautéed the fish in an iron skillet, added the remaining ingredients, and stuffed the savory mixture in a warmed tortilla wrap—all as the ship plowed through heavy swells with his capable operations captain, Rich Falcone, at the helm.

The bluefish were tasted by a panel of two Boy Scouts, Jeff Holm and Will Nixon, who were among a group of about a dozen scouts from Troop 7 in Madison. Markert presented each with a Southwestern bluefish wrap. Their verdict was swift.

“Mmmmm,” they said.

The Golden Eagle sails twice daily, at 7:30 am and 7:30 pm, in summer from Belmar Marina, Route 35 South, Belmar. Tickets are $58, adults; $48, seniors; $38, children. (732-681-6144, goldeneaglefishing.com)

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