A Florida Family Legacy: Honest John’s Fish Camp

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Looking for a wonderful family adventure that soothes the soul, costs nothing but a bit of gas and doesn’t have a Holiday theme?  Take an any day drive up A1A a tad north of the Sebastian Inlet and explore Honest John’s Fish Camp.

Honest John’s began as a government homestead in 1887.  Robert T. Smith and his brother Charley came from southwest Georgia to seek a new life after the ravages of the American Civil War.  They were farmers (their produce was shipped to the White House during Franklin Roosevelt’s tenure) who raised sweet potatoes, beans, collards and later citrus at the Camp. Robert (Uncle Bob) bought out his brother’s interest in the homestead, married a gal named Bessie Wells, built a cracker house in 1899 and started raising a family at the Camp on Mullet Creek. The two story house built in 1899 (still standing) is documented in paperwork at the National Archives.  It is built of heart pine and sits on coquina pilings.  Located on its original site, it is a typical cracker “I” house.

Honest John was the third child of eight who disliked farming, bucked family tradition, and became a commercial fisherman.  Despite John’s fishing bones, Uncle Bob still holds title to the Fish Camp’s trout record of 13 pounds, 4 ounces.  Though Bob died in 1994, his fishing legacy lives on:  daughter, Barbara Smith Arthur holds seven IGFA (http://www.igfa.org/) world records for sea trout and one for black drum.  Barbara and her husband Roger have three sons who operate the fish camp today.

Honest John’s is located on Mullet Creek on the Indian River Lagoon at 750 Old Florida Trail off A1A.  The camp is 5 miles north of the Sebastian Inlet in Brevard County.  Open 6 to 6 daily except Tuesdays.  Stop by to rent a motor boat, kayak or canoe.  Or you may drop your boat in and pick up some concessions for your boating adventures:  soda, beer, ice, bait & tackle.  Not a boater?   Stop by to stare at the Lagoon; a slice of “old” Florida jungle; the parrot who’s cage boasts an outstanding view of the Lagoon AND sunsets; laze around with Rusty the Rhodesian Ridgeback watch dog; meander among the chickens and marvel at all the lures clinging to their designated palm.

Vero Vine: http://verovine.com/HonestJohnsFishCamp/3070

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/honestjohns.fishcamp

Web: http://www.honestjohnsfishcamp.com/

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_cracker_architecture

Stacy Cook
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