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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: weeki wachee

Some Excellent Rye Whiskey–From The Backwoods of Florida’s Adventure Coast?

by on Dec.13, 2015, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Recipes and Food

Wild Buck Whiskey is all about Natalie and Kevin Goff's pride in their products!

Wild Buck Whiskey is all about Natalie and Kevin Goff’s excellence in small-batch whiskey making!

The backwoods between Weeki Wachee and Chassahowitzka are mostly known by folks visiting the 31,000 acre National Wildlife Preserve in hopes of spotting a Whooping Crane or a manatee.  This Preserve is huge, and the general impression, at least to passers-by, is that there’s no “civilization” west of US19.  That’s not the case, especially in terms of whiskey-making!

Historically, I suspect that lots of whiskey was made in these woods.  Of course, it wasn’t done so legally.  However, Kevin and Natalie Goff, owners of Wild Buck Whiskey, are operating their “still”, adhering to all the rules set forth by local, state and federal authorities.

The hand-hammered copper still at Wild Buck is where the small batches of whiskey is distilled.

The hand-hammered copper still at Wild Buck is where the small batches of whiskey are distilled.

Rye whiskey must be aged in new oak barrels

Rye whiskey must be aged in new oak barrels

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It takes lots of love and diligence to make good whiskey, and Kevin and Natalie are dedicated to creating a quality product, in small batches.  This is a whiskey made for sipping and just a splash of spring water or an ice cube will bring it to life in your glass.  Made from natural ingredients and pure Florida water, their rye whiskey can be found at finer restaurants, bars and liquor stores.  But don’t expect to find a case or more than a few bottles at your local retailer as the rye whiskey has been in high demand since winning several awards.

And stand by….Wild Buck’s Rum will be available in early 2016.  It’s made for sipping, too. So don’t even think Cuba Libre!

Natalie and Kevin Goff, escapees from busier parts of Florida, are extremely proud of their products.

Natalie and Kevin Goff, escapees from busier parts of Florida, are extremely proud of their products.

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Don’t Miss A Meal at BeckyJack’s Food Shack in Weeki Wachee, FL!

by on Sep.17, 2015, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Recipes and Food

BeckyJack's Food Shack 8070 Cortez Blvd. Weeki Wachee, FL

BeckyJack’s Food Shack
8070 Cortez Blvd.
Weeki Wachee, FL

Whether you’re coming back from fishing at Bayport or Hernando Beach, watching the Mermaid Show at Weeki Wachee Spring State Park, or just driving down US19 in Hernando County, a stop at BeckyJack’s Food Shack is a “must”.  Yes, the joint is truly a shack, and it’s only open Wednesday thru Sunday (Noon ’til 8PM), but you can expect some excellent food there.  The house specialty is the “crunchy fish”, coated in corn flakes and almonds and fried to a golden, crispy finish.  If you’re “sorta hungry”, order the sandwich, but if you’re a big eater, try the crunchy fish platter with a side of their famous bean salad.

There's a good chance you'll have a short wait for a table at Beckyjack's

There’s a good chance you’ll have a short wait for a table at Beckyjack’s

The Crunchy Fish platter is worth the wait--and it's a bargain at only $9

The Crunchy Fish platter is worth the wait–and it’s a bargain at only $9.  They’re also famous for their hamburgers and Reubens.

The interior at BeckyJack's is eclectic, fun...and even a bit over the top!

The interior at BeckyJack’s is eclectic, fun…and even a bit over the top!

 

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The Revival of Mary’s Fish Camp–A Hernando County Landmark

by on Sep.16, 2015, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast

Mary's Fish Camp--A Hernando County Landmark! 8092 Marys Fish Camp Rd, Weeki Wachee, FL 34607

Mary’s Fish Camp–A Hernando County Landmark!
8092 Marys Fish Camp Rd, Weeki Wachee, FL 34607 www,marysfishcamp.org

 

I’d bet that the number of “legitimate” fish camps in the state of Florida can be counted on the fingers of both my hands.  With Florida’s rapid growth and the desire of the tourist and native population for hotels with hot tubs, free breakfast buffets and beach access, the few fish camps with cabins, RV parking, shoreline fishing, and the simpler things in life have been pushed aside in the name of “progress”.

Mary's is simple, with 3 cabins, a bait shop, and 16 RV spaces, on the Mudd River.

Mary’s is simple, with 3 cabins, a bait shop, and 16 RV spaces, on the Mud River near Weeki Wachee, Florida

When I wrote ” The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida”, I started with a chapter on Hernando County.  At that time (2011), Mary’s was one of the few places to stay in the Weeki Wachee/Bayport area that reminded me of the “real Florida”.  After the book was published, and after Mary’s death, the place fell into disrepair and was soon closed.

Fishing from the seawall at Mary's is a local tradition--and a bargain at $6 a person!

Fishing from the seawall at Mary’s is a local tradition–and a bargain at $6 a person!

I’m happy to say that Mary’s has been revived and is scheduled to re-open in early October, 2015.  With lots of hard work, fond memories, and some cash, several local entrepreneurs are returning Mary’s to its original “glory”.  A simple place.  A place to relax.  A place to fish.

The cabins at Mary's have been rebuilt, with new kitchens and air-conditioning!

The cabins at Mary’s have been updated, with new kitchens and air-conditioning!

Mary’s is located at the end of Mary’s Fish Camp Road (where else?), just off Cortez Blvd, west of US19 in Bayport.  The Mud River flows downriver from Mary’s to the Gulf.  Along the way, it’s met by the flow of the “famous for mermaids” Weeki Wachee River.

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And, if you’re wondering why Mary’s Fish Camp is there, it’s simple.  There’s great fishing and scalloping just outside the Mud River on the Bayport flats, as well as near the multitude of shallow rocky outcrops that dot the Gulf coastline here.

 

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The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

by on Oct.02, 2012, under Bradenton and Sarasota, Dunedin, Clearwater and Largo, Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Marco and The 10,000 Islands, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Naples, Old Tampa Bay--Above the Bridges, Siesta Key to Boca Grande, St. Pete Beaches, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA, Tampa Bay, East and South Shore, Tampa Bay, West Shore and St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, The Sunshine Skyway and Beyond to Egmont, Upper Charlotte Harbor

The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida is now available!

It’s been a long time coming, but the University Press of Florida has just released my second fishing book.  If you’re a native and wanting more information on the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Chassahowitzka to Chokoloskee, you need this book.  If you’re planning to winter in Florida, you need this book.  Everyone needs this book. The Table of Contents is outlined below.

To order, simply click on the link on the sidebar to the right of this page and you’ll be taken to Amazon.com.  Thanks–and enjoy!

Part One–The Destinations

1.  Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida

2.  The Upper Suncoast-Hernando and Pasco Counties

3.  Tarpon Springs and North Pinellas County

4.  St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Peninsula

5.  Old Tampa Bay, Tampa and The Bay’s Eastern Shore

6.  Manatee and Sarasota Counties-The Gateway to Tropical Florida

7.  Charlotte Harbor and Her Gulf Islands

8.  Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva

9.  Naples, Marco and The Ten Thousand Islands

Part Two–Practical Matters

10. It’s All About The Fish…

11. …And How to Catch Them

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Scallop Report, Bayport/Hernando Beach/Aripeka, July 17, 2011

by on Jul.18, 2011, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast

Took a side trip on the way home from Naples yesterday and visited the folks at Weeki Wachee Marina.  Good talk, and learned that they’re having a great year.  Scalloping has been excellent at both Bayport (near the end of the channel in deeper water) and Hernando Beach.  And judging from the crowded Bayport boat ramp, I’d say it’s better than excellent.  Someone told me that there’s just NO parking to be found at that ramp/park after about 10AM!  However, the Jenkins Creek ramp on CR597/Hernando Beach Drive is a good bet, although you’re farther from the Gulf.  Nice ride, though.

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