Gone Fishing for Sebastian History


The  Fishing Life

Fishing is a way of life. Before you catch fish you’ve got to know about fish. Where they are, what line, reel and rod to use and most importantly the bait!  At least that’s what my dad taught me.  As a child I lived very close to the Sebastian Inlet and what is now the south entrance to the State Park. Living on the beach we spent many days and nights fishing and honing our hook and line skills.  In the late 1960’s and early 70’s the jetty , bridge and park looked quite different from today. The Jetty and fishing areas were rustic and there was a cat walk spanning the underside of the bridge. Everyone had a favorite spot and yes, superstition played a big role in selecting the perfect  spot sure to guarantee the biggest catch. Then and now Sebastian , the inlet and surrounding waters have been known as some of the most fertile fishing grounds on the East Coast and have sustained the fishing industry since the early 1900’s.

Take a peak into the history of the Sebastian Fishing Industry and why many travel to the area for a once in a lifetime fishing experience.


EG1K39 Florida Sebastian Sebastian Inlet State Park Sebastian Fishing Museum inside crab trap exhibit. Image shot 2015. Exact date unknown.

Sebastian Inlet Fishing Museum Melbourne Beach, Florida


Sebastian Inlet Fishing Museum

The Museum, located within the State Park, is devoted to the rich cultural history of Sebastian’s fishing industry. The lives and history of the people who lived in Sebastian were interwoven with fishing and the Indian River Lagoon. The museum commemorates three of Sebastian’s early families that operated fish houses: Sember, Smith, and Judah. Inside you will find a replica of an original fish house dock, homemade fishing boat, nets, fishing gear, and photos depicting the way of life for the fishermen. The museum is free with park entrance so don’t forget the park pass when you leave the cottage.

Sebastian Inlet offers surf fishing, river fishing and fishing from two jetties extending into the Atlantic Ocean. Both jetties and bridge catwalks are A.D.A. accessible. The park rangers and volunteers offer great insight into the best baits to use to entice fish to bite and the best time to use them and the best advice on where fishermen will have the best chance of hooking a fish or two in the Sebastian Inlet area.

Smith House

Historic Archie Smith Fish House Sebastian, Florida


 The Archie Smith Wholesale Fish Company

Today, Sebastian has a Working Waterfront showcasing the rich cultural history of the fishing industry. The fishing industry is alive and thriving today, along with plenty of water based activities, and waterfront restaurants  offering up the local fish of the day! Pull up a seat and enjoy a good fish story, a cold beverage and take in the beauty surrounding the lagoon.

The Archie Smith Wholesale Fish Company located at 1740 Indian River Drive, Sebastian, Florida. On October 28, 1994 the site was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.


The Old Fish House Bar and Grill Grant, Florida


 Tradition Lives On

The Old Fish House Bar and Grill has been affiliated with the fishing industry for nearly 100 years. It started as Jorgensen’s Fish House then became the Hudgins Fish Company in 1930 and eventually transitioned into the Treasure Coast Marina. During the years when the building was used for fish processing, a king fishing fleet docked outside. Fishermen and their families lived everyday lives on the boats. Wives worked in the fish house, processing the catch while their husbands were out at sea. Children grew up there, went to school and lead ordinary lives. The only difference was that their “house” went out to sea for 12 or 14 hours a day. Over the years, several different families served as caretakers for the fish house. They lived in a small house north of the main building, which was later found abandoned by Bonnie Roberts. Unfortunately, it was not salvageable, as it had been destroyed by kudzu, and had to be removed. Many artifacts were found in the house, some of which were returned to descendants, others have been saved and are now celebrated on display in The Old Fish House Bar and Grill.



Black Dog Bait and Tackle , Melbourne Beach, Florida


Black Dog Bait and Tackle your local fishing resource in Melbourne Beach

After you learn about the history of fishing- It’s time to grab some gear and hit the surf.  You’ll need a place to stock up on supplies, buy fresh bait and get all the tips and tricks straight from the source. Black Dog Bait and Tackle is our pick for the best local place to shop.  Doug and his staff genuinely know the area and fish the waters daily.

If you are interested in visiting  Paradise Found Florida  contact us for information about our Ocean Front Vacation Rental on Melbourne Beach, Florida. We hope to see you soon!

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