Welded palm tree on Cabin #1 - by Pete Brand 1956-2012
We are due for some cold weather tonight - possibly freezing - so you may be glad you are visiting later in the season.
Give Mike and Goatman credit for braving it for a few days - they are due later today. And also the Florida trails group which just left today - they did a bunch of bike riding and kayaking and had a great dinner at Cafe Bleu in Welaka. The campfire helped a lot on Friday night.
Our team has been intact for over a year now - Jim, Terry, Wayne, Karla and John.
Jim is down most weekends and we are in the process of setting up an office in #6 - the single-wide - where he has been staying since last summer. We have had to upgrade our bookkeeping service and are doing it ourselves - using Quickbooks. So we now are printing out receipts from the computer. We will set up a ticket when you arrive and then print you out one upon departure.
This is partly due to Ms.Terry's situation - she is dealing with a few health issues and may not be quite as visible as in the past. She has never been one to sit around, so expect to see her doing much of the same things as she always has.
Mr. Wayne and Ms. Karla are in the Outback behind the double-wide and Wayne is consistently available to help with your needs. Ms. Karla has just completed a deep cleaning of all the cabins - so they are ready to go for the season.
And Mr. John lives in the RV to the north of #1 - you will see it on the right as you enter under the sign. John keeps the grounds looking great and has greatly improved the campfire area in particular.
The camp is in great shape due to their collective efforts.
We look forward to the start of the fishing season in about a month, and to the return of all of those of you who make this place so special.
Catch ya later.
Welcome back the to Stegbone's newsletter. We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and pass along warm greetings.
The more Stegbones changes, the more it seems to also stay the same. While the camp is officially for sale, in today's market, we are in no hurry to pass it along to someone who does not appreciate all the special qualities it has - and without insuring that it will still be here for our guests to enjoy, much as you have always done.
Many of our staff you are familiar to you - Jim Stege is still the Owner and is able to help out usually on Saturdays. Terry Hardin lives in the river house that used to be #7 and is now her private home. Terry handles reservations, check-in and check-out, and overall camp operations. Many guests have now met James Crosby, who is our caretaker, dock manager, cleans fish and gives fishing advice, and will generally help with all your needs. His wife Trish, cleans the cabins and make sure everything inside is ready for your arrival. Kyle is a terrific Crescent City HS student and has been helping out with mowing and utilizing his mechanical skills. Terry's grandson Aaron, helps out on our website and a variety of other tasks around the camp.
So some of the names are new, some aren't. The team works well together. Whether it's for the fishing, spending time with friends, viewing our abundant wildlife and natural setting, or just looking for some well-deserved downtime. You will soon find out why so many of our customers have been coming back for many of the over 65 years that we have been in operation. We look forward to your visit.
Catch ya later,
Just a brief update.... Stan left Stegbones in mid-June. His help has been much appreciated over the years. Not to worry, Jim and Terry are both committed to our guests and making their stay as enjoyable as possible. The camp will continue as it always has, no one person can define its essence. We will take our time finding the right person, any suggestions are welcome.
The weather was a puzzle this year, the water was late warming up and the fishing was effected. Nevertheless, we had a full season and we want to say how much we appreciate all of you and your continued patronage....
Thank you, Jim and Terry
|Friends and visitors: |
Thanks to all of our guests who returned this past spring!! With the economy the way it is, we were concerned. But you all are the best and we ended up having a busy season.
A few news items -
Izzie, our former basset hound, has found a good home up the hill. Sadie is aging (12 +/-), but manages to follow us around the camp pretty faithfully. She has been a great camp dog for us.
High water and something like 30 inches of rain in a week during April sure made the fishing challenging for a while. For the most part though, our groups did well all through the season.
We are working on getting the gas pump fixed - finding somebody who will service it is a challenge. But it should be up and running again soon.
We have a new AC unit in #2.
In trying to come up with some savings for our customers in this economy,we have re-thought our slip rates . We will be reducing to $6.00 a night. We are sorry we can't do more but cabin costs are higher than ever. Hope this helps.
Stan hopes to do some work on the dock this summer to even-up and stabilize the sections in front of the office and the rocking chairs.
We have begun asking guests to park boat trailers across the street to make driving through the camp and parking in it easier. Thanks for helping on this.
We all appreciate Stan and all of his efforts to make your stay comfortable and keep the camp operating well. Kathy keeps the cabins orderly.Terry has been a great help in Jim's absence - the architecture business is still a bit challenging of late (things appear to be improving slowly!)
While the camp is officially listed for sale, realities and our desire to sell it to the right people and for the right purpose probably mean it will still be Stegbone's for quite some time to come.
So, all in all, our little old traditional Florida fish camp seems to do pretty well. Not many places where our guests can still do what they do at here - and at a fairly reasonable price too.
So, keep us in mind this fall!!
We certainly appreciate you continuing to visit us.
Catch ya later,
Stan, Terry and Jim
To all of our great returning customers and to our new friends,
Our decision to abandon linen services this summer has not gone over well. As always, we try to listen to our customers. We will be continuing the linen service. That's the good news.
Our costs have really gone up in the last couple of years. We want to continue the tradition of a true fish camp in old Florida . So many are disappearing- we heard this weekend that Bass World closed its doors- so sad. To continue with the same level of services and amenities- we must raise our rates. Please see the rates page. We don't take rate changes lightly and only do so after serious contemplation of our books.
We ask that you please understand the need for the rate increase and that it is only based on costs. Operating in the black is a very distant goal for us, we are just attempting to stay afloat!
Otherwise, things are going great with our new staff, Stan, Gail and Jennifer. Your positive feedback has been much appreciated. Hopefully, we have turned a new corner and your needs are once again being met.
We wish there were more days in April and May so that more of you could be accommodated. Sorry to all the folks that aren't able to get reservations in those monthes. Fall is a great season, the old fisherman around here say it's as good or better than the spring ! We encourage you to give it a try.
As always, we wish everyone good fishing and a peaceful life---
Catch ya' later,
Terry, Jim , Stan, Gail and Jennifer
Welcome back - and hello to our new visitors.
Stegbone's Fish Camp in Welaka remains one of the very few true fish camps on the great St. Johns River, the Bass Capitol of the World. The real estate 'boom' of recent times and the many pressures of life today have caused a number of our local camps to disappear. But Stegbone's remains fully intact today, a true old Florida experience.
While the place itself and the experience are nearly the same, some of the personalities aren't. Stan Plaisted, who has tirelessly and faithfully helped us with innumerable repairs over the last 7 years, is now living full-time with his wife Patti across the street in the double-wide. Stan has a great knowledge of the river and of the Welaka area and he continues to take care of the premises and watch out over all of our guests. He is assisted by Gail Jones, who handles check-in/check-out and reservations. Together, they are nearly always available to help you enjoy your stay.
Terry and Jim are again closely involved in the camp operation. Jim does his architecture during the week but slips over for a visit as often as possible, and Terry assists with the operations of the camp from St. Augustine and with numerous visits. Both are around most weekends. Our dogs, Sadie (white shepard) and Izzie Lu (bassett), are 10 and 2 1/2 years old. If you believe in reincarnation, you might want to consider coming back as a camp dog - talk about a life!
In order to continue to hold down costs, beginning August 1, 2007, we are ending the linen service that we have been providing. This means that you will need to bring your own sheets, pillow cases, towels and wash cloth and make your bed upon arrival. We expect this to make a big difference by reducing labor and the cost of the linen service. Thanks for your understanding.
As always, we are doing little things to improve the camp. You will notice these when you get here.
All in all, things are going well. No hurricanes last fall, Stan is chumming the dock, the hawks are perching on the martin gourds, and there's plenty of wood for the campfire. Can't complain too much now, can we.
Wishing you all the best.
Stan, Gail, Terry and Jim
|Friends and visitors... |
We are on the verge of another season
Have to admit, there are times this past year when we weren't sure if we would still be here today. Hurricanes, fires, lost jobs, the passing of close friends, health issues, legal issues, and just plain living issues.
But that's what makes the camp so special and worth it all. As each one of those maladies arose, they were soon replaced by the beautiful sunsets, the newly completed improvement projects, a better job, new staff/guests/friends to soften the losses, continued hope on the health front, and a reassuring faith that living life by taking the high and right road will get you where you want to go everytime.
Sadie - Camp dog
As many of you know already by calling, our manager for the last four years, keeper of the dogs and general good guy, Mike Upton, retired from Stegbone's on September 30th, 2004 and passed away a month later from cancer. He was laid to rest in the Naval Cemetery at NAS Pensacola. Mike portrayed the laid-back but guest friendly attitude of Stegbone's as well as anyone could, he will be missed.
Cabin #3 is now pretty well complete, with a new paint job to tie it into the rest of the camp. We have a newly paved county road from Satsuma to Welaka, and also down from the Stegbone's road sign to our entry gate. We have cleaned up the corner property leading into the camp, all the necessary repairs and maintenance projects are complete, and we are looking forward to a full season from March 1 to mid-June. Reservations are above those of last year.
We look foward to your visits and wish all the best.
Catch ya later.
Terry and Jim
We are always closed during the month of August, and we are reminded why again today - hot and humid with a good chance of some thunder rolling in this afternoon.
More of you than ever are finding your way down to Stegbone's dock, including many of our "old timers". From that important SE corner of Alabama, Bobby (Stegbone's first ever customer) and Ed came with Jerry and Curt. (Pastor W.L. Sheffield retired from our devoted Southside Baptist in Ozark, and we wish Gracie and W.L. all the best). The Kentucky boys of Pete's Fishing Club made their annual pilgrimage from the Covington, KY area, as did the Good Ole Boys from the Panhandle, the Pinnell group from Macon, Donnie Lankford and family from Valdosta, and Tommy Duckworth and crew from Warrenton. The Nicholson gang with E.W. and Ralph Tucker couldn't keep from discovering what other surprise awaited them this year (only a trailer coming unglued).
|Good Ole Boys
||Dr Sam McLeod's Group|
And so many more of you came as well. We thank you all.
Our big project this summer is to renovate Cabin #3. When you come back, Cabin #4 will no longer exist. We have turned that whole cabin back into more like what it was 50 years ago, except a bit better. It now is one unit with two porches, two separate bedrooms, two full baths, and a large kitchen open to the living room. The main entrance is now to the north. It will be set up much like #5, only with more porches, baths, and that "old pine paneling" feel to it. Also, no more window units and gas heat -- you'll find a new central unit instead. We know you will like it.
|Jimmy Brown's group
That step at the bottom of the dock ramp is gone, making it easier for wheeled or slower moving guests to join the gang at the dock. And we moved the shed out of the front of #7 and have gathered all of our storage needs onto the north end of the grounds.
Good Ole Boys
A note about our prices - we have been holding the line on them ever since we arrived five years ago. At that time, after many long overdue repairs and renovations, we increased them only slightly and have not since. This year, our slip rentals will be going up slightly, but cabin prices are all staying the same. We will be charging significantly less for the combined Cabin #3 than the cost of #3 and #4 separately, even with all of the renovations. Stegbone's is still a great vacation bargain.
One thing to remember, though, due to extensive new paperwork requirements by the State, we are no longer issuing fishing licenses at the dock -you need to buy them in advance!!!
Even more than the physical part of the camp, Stegbone's really comes down to a terrific team. At its heart is our manager and king of the dock, Mike Upton, who steadfastly attends to all of our guests' needs. Mike is now going into his fourth season at Stegbone’s, and we all appreciate the dedication he shows to our campers. His trusty canine aides - Sadie, Goldie, and Mocha - are always nearby. Cindy is that rarely seen but wonderful lady who cleans the cabins, once you all have headed back home. Bob Mathis, who has been cutting the grass that never stops growing and doing odd jobs, been working steadily for the past year. Stan Plaisted, brother of Lloyd (our neighbor to the north with the old cars), is our jack-of-all-trades and can fix just about anything, and has had to. Terry still takes care of the books and does a lot of the phone calls and the business-side of things. And Jim gets involved with oddball projects and some of the maintenance. It is a great team.
As the summer begins to cool and Florida's wonderful fall season comes around, give the St. John's a thought. We believe that the fall fishing season is our best-kept secret.
Thank you all for your continuing support. We appreciate every one of you.
Catch ya later -
Mike, Terry and Jim
|Welcome back to another great spring season at Stegbone's.|
Always a couple of changes around the camp, and they seem to be headed in the right direction. Jim and Terry have relocated in Jacksonville to allow Jim to be closer to his new job. This also makes us about 10 minutes closer to where we would like to be all of the time. It is just as hard as ever to drag Mike away from the camp and, as always, he is doing all he can to make our guest's stay the most pleasant and comfortable possible. He is helped in this effort by his harem - Sadie, Goldie and Mocha (a chocolate lab new last July). Ronnie is back and helping us around the yard and with odd job chores. Robin is our indispensable cabin cleaner who magically appears and does a white tornado job on the cabin interiors. Terry's son Rick has been doing a great job in painting the outside of the cabins and storage buildings and by exporting his positive attitude. Between us all and with the help of a host of others, the camp seems to be working better than ever.
Every year we seem to be able to get a few additional things done in order to make our guests' stay here a bit more pleasurable. This past year we have put a metal-roofed cover over the fuel, live-well and ice areas and moved a fish freezer out there; installed a new entry sign over the road; made our new Cabin #7 more a part of the camp by doing some clean-up work and by removing some fencing; painted cabins 1, 2, 5 and most of #7 and its outbuildings; installed eight new dock piles for the slips at the south end of the dock and stabilized the finger piers going out between the boats; replaced a bunch of well pumps; and cut up a bunch of firewood for the fire-pit down by the dock. Not to mention cleaning up from high river water that brought 4 inches of water over the floor in our dock office.
As the spring season of 2002 draws to a close, we seem to be on the verge of our best one yet. We attribute this to four things that make us different from other Florida destinations - the strength of our internet site, the constant improvements our guests come to appreciate yearly, Mike's abilities as a host extraordinaire, and, of course, the wonderful, inherent, positive qualities of a genuine 1940's Florida fish camp on the St. John's River.
In the end though, we would not be here if it weren't for the genuine, warmhearted, honest and appreciative guests that return to us year after year. You are the heart and soul of Stegbone's - and of our country.
Thank you all for your continued and growing support.
Catch ya later -
Mike, Terry and Jim
It's been a wonderful Fall.
It started off with our best news in some time. After an intensive recruiting and interview process, Mike Upton and Tracy Tatum became Stegbone's new resident managers. They are a pleasure to be with, are very giving, and our autumn guests have all responded with high praise. Mike has coffee brewing early, the gas heater going, and treats for Sadie and Gator (a hound to replace Mullet and later Roxie). Mike is also there with a smiling face and helping hand for guest requests. James would be proud.
Another change is on the dock. The center and northern sections have had new pilings, deck and roof installed and we've relocated a number of the dock's fishing-related functions to that center area.
And finally, we are looking to expand once more. If things work out as expected, we will have finalized our purchase of the home immediately north of the camp and hope to make that available to our guests this spring. It should sleep about six and has its own waterfront sitting porch and dock. Call us for more information.
We wish all of our friends a wonderful holiday season. We look forward to your next visit.
|The fishing and the weather have been great. The panfish are hitting hard and our bass fishing folks have caught a number of 7-8 pounders. Pete’s Fishing Club of Covington, KY; the McLeod group from the Florida Panhandle; the Allen team from Clyde, NC; many of our Georgia friends; and half the town of Ozark, AL have all had great trips.|
Terry Stege, with the help of Jim Carrick, is handling the Camp. Jim Stege is around on weekends. We’ve recently reorganized after putting much faith into some people who are no longer with us. And, in the longer term, we are looking once again for that ‘perfect’ couple who would like to manage and run the camp while living here in the double-wide across the street.
Anyway, whoever thought it would be easy and that we’d get it perfect the first time around?
The Camp itself is in the best shape it has seen over the past 30 years, the river is healthy, and it is a joy to just be here. We recently received a generous loan of a 10-pound mounted bass caught on the flats to the south of the dock 40 years ago by Bob Allender, who established and ran the Camp from 1946-72. The bass is hanging on the wall of the dock office. Thanks to Bob and his son, Shane!
And thanks to all of our wonderful guests for continuing to pick this camp to get away for some great fishing! Hoping to see you again soon!
We caught 'em, we cleaned 'em, we cooked 'em and we ATE 'em…
Shrimping season this year has been outstanding with the best yields in 15 years! Get ready to grab your gear, the fishing is expected to be just as good. Master net crafter, Stuart Pacetti, spent many an hour with Jim Carrick (dockmaster) on the River catching buckets of shrimp. The five gallon bucket limit was easily caught within an hour. Amidst all the nets, our guests had no problems catching fish. Bobby McCoy made a pre-Labor Day visit and the camp was packed solid for the holiday with Ralph Tucker, the Wallaces, the DeWitts and Hancocks, Brooks and Becks. Mr. and Mrs. Ray Story celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary here and Ernie Tullis dropped in to try his hand at shrimping. Tommy Duckworth's gang stayed a while and caught a bunch of fish. (They tasted good, too!) Larry Brooks and his crew came back for a second round in October.
Stuart Pacetti- Mastercaster tossing his homemade 8 foot Minorcan dream!
The fish cleaning table transformed into a shrimping table!
We were lucky not to have been damaged by hurricane Floyd. Everything was packed and stored away in preparation. The boats were pulled and filled with water. Several of our cabins were used by evacuees from St. Augustine and New Smyrna. The whole episode turned out to be an excuse for a gathering as the storm turned and delivered only rain. Water still rises above the lower walkways on the dock, but other than that, all is back to normal. We look at the situation as a practice run in the event of another potentially dangerous occurrence. Our best wishes go out to those less fortunate who are still suffering from the effects of the storm.
View from the Stege porch around noon...
Cabin #3 and #4 renovations have been put on hold until next summer. With all of the other projects going on, we don't want to fall behind and have to rush completion. The dock is currently (no pun intended) being completely re-wired and the gas pump has been moved and refurbished as well. The ice machine area has been re-wired and the Shed/Pump House is next. Cabin #6 is still in the process of being painted.
Long live the cooler days of fall! They've finally arrived. It's time for fishing in comfort. Come on over and relax!
Some like it hot…
The "Dog Days of Summer" are certainly here in Welaka but that hasn't stopped the fish from biting. Tommy Duckworth and crew had a successful catch in June as well as the Smallwoods who came back for more in July. A great time was had by all at the Barrett family reunion.
The 4th of July sparkled with fireworks, compliments of Jim Stege and surrounding enthusiasts. New friends were made including the DeWitts and Hancocks, Roger Griner (thanks to Ernie Tullis) and Gary Olson. Ernie Tullis and party had a good catch as they came back for seconds, too. We were happy to see Davie Brown and his son return as well as Ronald Evans and Ed Woodham. The Warfields were pleased with their loot and have booked several weeks in April and May. (Better get those calls in now, folks!) Bobby McCoy and his gang like the heat as they made it down twice as well. A big "Welcome Back" to James Waters!
Sprucing-up has resumed with the exterior painting of Cabin #6 and Cabin #3 renovations. Jim Carrick has been busy pulling the boats and scraping/painting the bottoms. Dock work will soon be underway and landscaping is beginning with the addition of a few new palm trees.
Shrimp season is in full swing with the best yields in the last 15 years on the St. Johns River. (Pictures will be included in the next edition.) According to the old timers, this forecasts a fantastic fishing season this year!
We look forward to the cooler days of fall and hope to see you here to enjoy the changing season. The fishing is expected to be bountiful and as always, the peace and quite await you! Here is a photo collection from the Brand Family's visit to leave you with a smile. Enjoy!