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Old memories

BigTomBigTom Posts: 48 Greenhorn
We need a place where us older members can share stories of how is was in times past in the Keys. My family started to make an annual trip in the mid 40s and I have a lot of tales of old trips. They would not let me go at first, don't know why, I was at least 1 year old and my father would not let us go until we could look after ourselves and be able to help with work. I started  in the mid 1950 and have seen a lot of changes in the Keys. If I get the interest, I will share some of my memories with this group. Tom


  • pjepje Orlando , FlPosts: 769 Officer
    Start a thread about this in the Key's section , I'd love to hear those stories 
  • CNTDRCNTDR Great Harbor Cay, BahamasPosts: 890 Officer
    I would like to hear those stories and see the images as well.
    My first trip, with my parents was back in the early '80's staying at La Siesta.
    Surprisingly, I think it is still there. We caught huge dolphin, snapper and grouper.
    Can't imagine how beautiful and and healthy the fishery was in the 50's.
    Great Harbor Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas
    pm me for rental info.
  • BigTomBigTom Posts: 48 Greenhorn
    I will try to entertain with some of the things that we did. I need to start with some background info about us. My father and his brothers were real close they even moved within 1/4 of each other when they retired and took a vacation together almost every year. The Keys trip was the highlight of the year with our family and we worked all year to make it happen. We did not have a lot of extra money so we did all the work ourselves, even to making and repairing our own equipment. Did not have any fancy rod and reels, our favorites were Penn Long Beach series and I still have some that are over 60 years old and still in use able condition. Parts were easy to find and we kept them up.
       These trips started in 1946 when my uncle and his friends came back from WW2 and took a trip to Conch Key fishing. This became a regular trip and we went every year to the same Key. I was not allowed to go until the mid 1950s, but heard a lot of tales about how it was. They would take their own small outboards, 7- 15 HP and rent flat bottom skiffs to fish out of. They would fish the north side of Long Key Bridge and out if the Gulf a short distance. Grouper and Barracuda were the main catch then.
      In the early 1950 they decided they needed their own boats and bought Kits and built them, big boats 16' long, 35 HP motors and while this is not big now it was then, I remember in 1958, my uncle bought an 18' boat and there was a discussion about how something that big could be pulled on the Keys Highway. The bridges were narrow, 2 12' lanes and a railing, no emergency lane. by the way, that 18' boat had a lot of HP on it, 70 horse 6 cyl Mercury.
      When I got old enough to go in the mid 1950s they had already figured out the plan to go without spending a fortune, usual trip would cost each of us around $30 for the week. Don't you wish you could do that now.  
  • BigTomBigTom Posts: 48 Greenhorn
    I remember the water being much clearer in the 1950s, you could get close to Alligator Light and see the fish hanging under Barracuda would look like logs stacked between the legs and smaller fish could easily be seen in schools. I remember going under Long Key Bridge at slack tide and be able to clearly see the base of the supports on bottom. We caught a lot of fish trolling the bridge on Gulf side, had to run the boat at about a 45 degree angle and let your lure drift into bridge. When they installed the new bridge in the 80s they messed up one of our prime trolling areas for grouper.

  • WadeFishermanWadeFisherman Posts: 451 Deckhand
    Hey BigTom, I have often thought of how the fishing was 50, 100, 300 years ago. It was more peaceful and relaxing then, right? Less traffic, less pollution, ?  Were the boaters more respectful then, or was it like most boaters fine, but you always had a few that would come to lose, etc.?  Were people secretive about spots, or more open to give advice?
  • Capt KurtCapt Kurt Posts: 410 Deckhand
    We could stop for a picnic lunch between the north and south lanes in Key Largo.  My friend and I, with little skills caught 180 lobsters during our spring break.  I don't know if there were limits or seasons for lobsters back then..
    visit Pure Pilates in Fort Lauderdale - http://www.pure-pilates.net
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 23,340 AG
    A bunch of fishing related photos from the Florida archives.
    I haven't looked at them all, may be some good ones. I think you can track the link back to the index and do some more searching.

    Seems pretty cool.

    Deep-sea fishing boats at dock - Miami Beach, Florida


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