Volume 43

The Building of History II: Key Largo Fisheries

An Incredible Key Largo, Florida Fishing Community Along Highway 1


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As the old saying goes—When one door closes another window is opened—with the right attitude!


As my 8th year of the Hillbilly Coach’s Southern Tour reaches its midpoint, one of my favorite spots in the Florida Keys changed management and direction! I decided to ease off Highway 1 and head to the ocean. I found one of the hardest working brother teams (The Hills) and the captain of the Gulfstream Party Fishing Boat- who also was known for his “doubles”—two 8 hour trips per day in the sport-fishing waters off the Atlantic side of the historic Key Largo, Florida. Divine intervention is the foundation of why the Hill family business is still providing the state of Florida and many parts of the world with great salt water delicacies!


In 1972, the business perspective for Key Largo Fisheries was not good; a fishing boat in a financial crisis, a slow down in the mackerel demand, and a family not all that unified how to remedy the situation. Rick Hill turned to his father and said, “It is all up to Him”, the man upstairs is in charge—I have lost faith in what I can do! The rest is history!


Just watching the Hills operate for four days was a venture in love for service!! Even other members of the family were diligently working at their respective roles in the business. The millions of pounds of fresh mahi mahi, lobster, and yellowtail were just a few of the varieties of delicacies sent all over Florida and to resorts in the southern United States. Keeping them fresh was extremely interesting—different temperatures below 0 were needed to make sure the freshness was as close to perfect as possible!


The Gulfstream Party Fishing Boat service and Captain Chan were introduced to me at the same time as my meeting the Hills (Rick and Tom). What a great business partnership here on the Atlantic side of Highway 1 in Key Largo. Learning to catch yellowtail and then having Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen prepare them with all the “fixins” was a great experience I would recommend to all fishermen and fish lovers!


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