Thursday, September 10, 2020

Update Time

The beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Boca Raton have been the focus for the past month. It’s so relaxing to just sit in the sun and people watch. Snorkeling has been fantastic. Light winds make for calm seas and settled waters. On a recent outing JoNell spotted a pompano near the water’s edge. We’ve also seen barracuda, snook and tons of bait fish.

My fishing book is at the publisher. I’ll get a first layout look early next week and then it’s time for the first big edit. No release date just yet, but hoping for sometime in November. While I’m waiting I’ve started another book. Is writing an addiction?

Fishing has taken a back seat during the mad writing sessions. That’s about to change next week. I’m headed to the fresh to see if I can scare up a few largemouth bass, peacock bass and whatever else may live in the Glades, sans gators. Gators make me nervous.

One of the best surprises about our move to the east coast of Florida is the abundance and selection of fresh seafood. Don’t get me wrong, Lee and Collier counties have their share, but it’s amazing over here. The options seem unlimited with every kind of snapper imaginable, fresh caught swordfish, Caribbean lobster, pompano, shrimp and many more. We’re eating healthy.

Lastly we started watching Nurse Jackie, a TV series on Netflix. Serious and hilarious all at once and highly recommended. I don’t know what we’d do without all the great movie and show selections during this nutty year. 

Take care, stay well. Over-and-out.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Beachin' and Bookin'

Hello readers.

Oh my, it’s almost the middle of August and JoNell and I are still hiding. Well, almost. We park ourselves in the house Monday through Friday except for masked excursions to the grocery and other stores we deem necessary. No restaurants just yet. 

We were able to enjoy our first Florida lobsters of the season a couple of nights ago. We get them here fresh with the heads on! Amazing. They were coupled with filet mignons and wine for a little surf and turf. Who needs a restaurant? 

The beach has been the hangout each weekend, weather permitting. It’s deserted in the early morning so spacing is not a problem. Heck, we spend more time in the Atlantic than we do on the beach. They say sunshine keeps the virus at bay. Who knows? It does make both of us feel better. Being cooped up inside is not our style.

My book is coming along much faster than expected. The first edit is in the bag and I’m guessing there will be at least two, maybe more. Photos and drawings and layout will follow. 35,000 words… perhaps more. I keep thinking of something that ought to be added. Maybe if I can get this to the publisher I can go back to fishing.

My recent visit with my oncologist went well. All my numbers are good and I have finally gotten the meds I need without paying a small fortune. Whew. That was a grind.

Take care, be careful, stay well.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

JoNell and I lived here in Fort Lauderdale in the late 90’s. We had a condo in western Broward in an area called Jacaranda. It was good. We were close to the Glades, we had nearby canals where peacock bass hung out, and the Interstate was close by for trips to the Keys. Because of the western location we didn’t visit the beach all that much. We also kept a boat in Islamorada so most of our weekends were spent there.  

After almost 20 years in Lee County we made a decision to head back east after JoNell got a job offer. We decided we wanted to be closer to the beach, much closer. We no longer owned a boat and we didn’t want the continued responsibility of home ownership, so we took some advice from a nephew who calls Fort Lauderdale home and began hunting for a place to live. 

We now live within a couple of miles of the beach where we spend at least one day a week decompressing. JoNell, being the exerciser, walks to the beach. I prefer a bike or the truck. 

In our previous life here we would occasionally drive north on A1A after crossing the 17th Street Causeway bridge. Just before approaching East Sunrise Boulevard,  on the left side of the road, is a noticeable large heavily wooded area. A magnificent homestead called the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is preserved there. 

The mansion and grounds are open to the public and after 25 years of driving by and wondering what was in those woods, JoNell and I finally satisfied our curiosity. It was worth the wait.

Bonnet House was created by artist Frederic Clay Bartlett in 1920. The land was given to him and and his wife, Helen Birch, by her father, Hugh Taylor Birch. A state park just north of Bonnet House bears Mr. Birch’s name. Helen died of cancer in 1925 and Mr. Bartlett remarried Evelyn Lilly in 1931. She continued to winter at the estate until 1995. 

To say I was amazed at what is hidden behind a wall and thick woods along a bustling A1A would be an understatement. The 35-acre estate is a blessing. There are beautiful gardens, a hardwood barrier island forrest, lagoons, orchids and of course, wildlife. The historic home is also a museum to countless works of art painted by Fredric. He and Helen also collected art from all over the world. After Fredric and Evelyn were married Fredric encouraged Evelyn to take up painting in 1933. To say she was prolific would be an understatement. 

Evelyn also had a passion for orchids, shells and tiki bars. The onsite Shell Museum Complex, built for Evelyn by Fredric, contains Evelyn’s shell collection, an Orchid House and her private Bamboo Bar. You enter through a small rotunda with floor to ceiling display cases of collected shells. To the right is an honest to goodness tiki bar complete with stools and a fully equipped bar. Straight ahead is the orchid room. Evelyn was a very lucky lady.

The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is open everyday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $20 for access to the home and gardens. At this time, due to Covid-19, the tours are self-guided. They have added a considerable amount of electronic information via your cell phone so bring headphones. Be sure to check their website for additional information.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Low Pressure

We are barely past the halfway point of 2020 and now tropical storms and a possible hurricane have been added to the list. What a mess. As most of you know I tend to look at the bright side of all of this. This too will pass.

I still haven’t been fishing! The weather and the book I’m writing have both gotten in the way. Hopefully there will be time for that after the “impossible to pronounce” Isaias has passed. I’m not holding my breath. 2020 seems to have other ideas.

Here’s a fishing tip. Low barometric pressure causes an uptick in the feeding patterns of fish. Actually most animals are affected by this phenomena. The approaching tropical blow will most certainly lower the pressure. If you have the time to wet a line, and it’s safe to do so, perhaps Friday afternoon or early Saturday morning would be a good time to hit the water.

Stay well, wash your hands, stay 6-feet apart and wear that mask if you are anywhere near me.

Still hiding in Fort Lauderdale

Capt. Rob

Friday, July 24, 2020


Survived another week in South Florida. Apparently the Covid-19 is running rampant, so extra care has been taken. Trips to the store are more limited and the only outings are exercise walking and beach related. We’ve figured out how to socially distance at the beach in a big way. Go early. Most of the folks here are much younger than us old folks, so they tend to sleep in on Saturday’s and Sundays. We can have most of the beach to ourselves until about noon.

I was hoping to go fishing this week, but that was not to be. Weather was terrible so I stayed put in front of the computer and knocked out a lot of writing for my book. Crossed the 28,000 word threshold yesterday. I’ve got a lot to say about fishing.

Hopefully I’ll be able to wet a line this coming week if the nicer weather returns. I’m anxious to get back to the Glade’s canals and see if I can’t stir up some bass and peacocks, and perhaps get a big ole snakehead. Yes, that’s a fish. Ugly sucker, but they pull like crazy.

Be safe out there and stay well. More to come shortly…