The Legend of Hog Island
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There was once a large barrier island directly west of our restaurant called Hog Island, where settlers in the 1800s attempted to raise pigs (hogs). But in 1921, a hurricane split the island in two, prompting the town of Dunedin to rename the South Island Caladesi in 1928 and a developer to lure visitors to the north island in the 1940s by calling it Honeymoon Island. Even so, folks around here do not let history fade too quickly, and old-timers still referred to Caladesi as Hog Island into the 1970s.
Caladesi Island - State Park
One of the few untouched islands along the Gulf Coast, Caladesi Island State Park is accessible only by boat, but is worth the extra effort. Whether it is a stroll along the island’s pristine beaches or a kayak trip through the bayside mangrove forest, a trip to Caladesi Island is an unforgettable experience.
Early settlers called it Clear Water Harbor, by which it was known until 1895 when Clearwater became one word. Harbor was dropped in 1906.
Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narvaez came to the Pinellas peninsula in 1528. The exact place he first stepped is disputed, but may have been Clear Water Harbor. Narvaez later perished in a storm after crossing Florida on foot with a party of soldiers.
In 1539, Hernando De Soto landed at Tampa Bay. He later died near the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Pedro Menendez arrived in 1567 searching for a route across Florida. He brought 10 missionaries to establish missions throughout the area. One of their Jesuit missions was established at Safety Harbor. Those who remained with this mission later perished in battles with the natives, who had been mistreated by previous exploration parties. White settlers did not return to this area until the 1800s
Florida became a territory in 1822. During the Seminole Indian Wars of 1835, the government built the original Fort Harrison as a recuperation Center for soldiers, and not as a defensive fort. It was located on the bluffs where Harbor Oaks is now. The fort was abandoned in 1841, and is commemorated by a plaque on Druid Road in downtown Clearwater.
Gulf Of Mexico
Just some of the great eating from the waters of the Golf is served at Hog Island Fish Camp: Hogfish • Red Snapper • Grouper • Wahoo • Spanish Mackerel • Mahi-Mahi • Tuna • King Mackerel • Sharks • Vermillion Snapper • Triggerfish • Amberjack (AKA Reef Donkey) • Crevalle Jack • Sheepshead • Red Drum • Gulf Flounder • Cobia • Tarpon
There is also a Clearwater Bay in Hong Kong.
The section of Hog Island a Hurricane ripped through in 1921 to create two separate Islands known today as Caladesi and Honeymoon Island.
Honeymoon Island - State Park
In the late 1930s, a businessman named Clinton Washburn purchased the island. While lunching with a friend who was the editor of Life magazine, he made the comment that the island would make a wonderful site for a honeymoon. The Life editor ran the story and Honeymoon Island was born.
Our family settled in Florida during the Great Depression, right here on Old Clearwater Bay, and learned what bounty the local waters had to offer. At the time, before high-rise hotels and high-rent condos, a person could wade from the mainland to the barrier islands and rarely encounter water more than waist deep, netting mullet and casting for redfish the whole way.
Hog Island Fish Camp offers each quest a glimpse back to times when families could bond over a fresh cought dinner, conversation of the days adventures, and the anticipation of the best part of the day, the setting sun. It is our pleasure to be a part of the preservation of days gone by and make each visit enjoyable, memorable and a reason to return. When the clock strikes “sunset” and we’ve done our job right, you’ll strole down the street to the marina, look out over Old Clearwater Bay to where the sun sets over Hog Island and realise… nothing has changed.
As you look over Old Clearwater Bay, it will make you think of a time not so long ago, when folks from the Southern states gravitated to the area, not for theme parks… but fish camps. Places on the rivers, lakes, and coasts, where you could find a rental rod, serenity, and someone to fry up their catch for dinner. These fish camps were places where dads taught their sons and daughters to cast, where husbands and wives could escape for a weekend, and where children could live out the stories they would inevitably tell their own kids someday.