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Making Memories in Cocoa Beach Florida

Sunday July 15, 2018

Taking a fishing trip to Cocoa Beach will build a memory that your family and friends will remember for decades. Read about Captain Richard's family adventures as they used to take long vacations to south Florida when he was growing up on the Space Coast...

Our family trips to the Florida Keys in the early seventies are like chewy morsels in my mind that I recall to share with my anglers and pass time while we fish. Back in the day, we had poloroid cameras and Kodak Instamatics we often had to wait weeks for photographs to get developed. Now-and-then I pull out the boxes of memories and look thru our old photos from days long gone, drifting back to nostalgic mind markers that I can exhibit to my children and friends.

Every summer mom would pack up the car with enough supplies for a few weeks while dad tended to the boat and trailer. My sibling sister and I took management of all the fishing and diving gear and our spoiled, hyperactive miniature schnauzer, Muffin, which could not sit still while traveling in the car. Muffin was medicated to point of near death one year as doses were administered liberally to subdue the constant yapping and jumping. Our pet was more excited than anyone about our family vacation and that excitement spilled over as we drove down US-1 and A-1-A towards South Florida.

Our family trips to the Florida Keys in the early seventies are like chewy morsels in my mind that I recall regularly to share with my anglers to pass time while we fish.

Interstates were not completed and what now is a six to eight hour trip to Lower Tavares, was a twelve hour car ride with no air conditioning, hot sticky vinyl seats and an AM/FM radio with a single dashboard speaker. Dad didn’t listen to trendy music, memories or Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” and Ray Charles crooning “I Can’t Stop Loving You” where regularly played on the radio while counting road markers and playing "Punch Buggy" with sister Cindi in the back seat. My sister took delight in teasing her younger brother and in turn pestered her in turn. "Mom! She’s touching me!" or "She won't quit looking at ME!" was normal banter as we traveled south.

The road trip to the Florida Keys were a memorable part of our summer trips as the vacation itself. We’d stop along the way to visit the famous Miami Serpentarium where founder Bill Haast would put on exhibitions and milk King Cobras for the general public. Our earliest trips to South Florida in the 60’s I recall a black man painting Florida Landscapes and watching in amazement as he quickly splashed royal poinsettias, blue skies and drifting clouds over turquoise waterways. If mom would have had her way we’d probably own a few highwaymen paintings today.

Florida Keys Trip 1973
Florida keys Family Vacation 1973
Front-Center: Jamie Williams, Center-Left: Jeff Williams, Center-Right: Tracy Williams, Left-Back; David Williams, Right-Back: Captain Richard Bradley

Somewhere south of Homestead was an open air BBQ joint which simply had a screen enclosure and picnic tables with a smoker. We’d stop each year and have a plate before starting the last leg of the trip thru the Everglades and into Key Largo while pressing towards Islamorada past John Pennekamp and towards another favorite attraction, Theatre of the Sea.

My father’s friend Jim Williams had already trailblazed the Keys earlier and found a favorable hotel/motel named the “Tropical Winds Resort” where owner Smitty split coconuts for visitors and managed the efficiencies which had small kitchenettes and sleeping accommodations. There was a primitive marina dug into the coral rock and dredged into the Atlantic side of the Island where we kept our boat and gassed up for daily excursions. Armed with an eighteen gallon fuel tank and an extra six gallon reserve tank, we took off daily to collect lobsters and stone crabs. During that decade, size limits were regulated, I can’t recall if there were any number limits on the crustaceans we captured, there seemed to be no law enforcement and nobody took exception to our catches. We kept hundreds of lobster tails and brought back several queen conchs each trip that parents weren't’ too happy about as they stunk of rotting mollusk for weeks. Live shell collecting was frowned upon by dad as conch was somehow not as popular on the table as it is today, the shells were the only reward.

I can’t find one Queen Conch that we kept as treasure from our trips to the Florida Keys but the few photos we have are regulary gazed at and reminisced about between my sister and myself. Keeping those memories alive and sharing with our friends are ways we connect with our past and look forward to making new memories in the future. I know for certain, that there are people that I’ve touched on a daily outing that looks at a photo and says to their family member, "Remember that Fishing Guide in Florida when we went on vacation?"

Make your own memories by booking a fishing trip with Captain Richard of Lagooner Fishing Guides next time you are in the Orlando/Cocoa Beach area.

Cocoa Beach Fishing Trips

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: July 09 2018 18:19:06.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

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Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
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204 Garfield Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL

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Inshore and Offshore Charter Fishing near Orlando and Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Experienced, knowledgeable, diligent and a very pleasant captain with whom to share the day. His hard work payed off under trying conditions.
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