Fish camp retains historical charm

Published: March 19, 2011

There are not many true fish camps left in Florida, a state that once had hundreds of them.

The little hideaways tucked under moss-draped oaks have been swallowed up one after another by a world of chain hotels, thanks to guests who are more interested in memory foam mattresses and wireless Internet than in the character and charm of these tiny bits of history.

One of the few remains in Ruskin on the Little Manatee River. Pirate’s Pointe Resort is a tiny slice of Florida the way it used to be, and owner Jonathan Shute hopes to keep it that way.

“For some people, this is what they remember Florida as being all about,” says Shute, who restored the resort from near ruin a few years ago to a prosperous operation where accommodation can be hard to come by during prime spring fishing months.

The resort is about a mile upriver from Tampa Bay, and guests are welcome to bring their own boat, scoop free ice into their coolers from the resort machine, and clean their fish on the docks before taking them for a cookout on the grill provided in the tropic-fringed courtyard adjacent to each unit. And, in a bow to the 21st century, the resort offers wireless Internet service, as well as a heated swimming pool.

Call (877) 641-2052 or visit for information.