About Fire In THE WATER

Using rare historical photos and maps, and firsthand accounts
of five survivors, this book chronicles waterfront
and commercial fishing life on Florida’s east coast
and along the Indian River Lagoon. It centers on
Cape Canaveral and Fort Pierce, Florida from early
in the twentieth century to the 1994 Florida net ban.
It is filled with colorful sea stories and memories of
earlier times.

Terry Howard and Donald Root’s new book “Fire in the
Water” was an excellent and historically important read! This
book will have an especially good response on the east coast
of Florida, but will also have strong appeal to any fishing &
boating communities. Terry and Donald record history in the
best way possible: in the words of the people who lived it. I
have no doubt “Fire in the Water” will be a best seller in my
store along with Terry Howard’s other two books “High Seas

Note to the Reader:
I enjoy Florida history and sea stories. Commercial fishing
has both. My first two books chronicle the lives of Fort Pierce,
Florida east coast commercial and charter fishing captains. All
of those captains caught fish by hook and line. But the first
commercial fishermen here were nearly all net fishermen.
When I discovered that a fleet of early Fort Pierce commercial
net fishermen and their families migrated for several months
each year to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where they lived in
cottages on the beach in the lee of the Cape, I wanted to learn
more. Today Florida beach front property is highly desirable.
Houses and condominiums on the Atlantic Ocean can easily
cost seven figures. Beaches, where land and sea meet, are a
wonderful place to be and watch life. And the beach at Cape
Canaveral where the fishermen lived is particularly unique
because it is sheltered from high winds and seas by the shape
of the Cape. It is almost like a harbor. And it has changed
little since the earliest native inhabitants roamed its shores
over a thousand years ago. Except for old launch sites and
other NASA facilities the beach and surrounding land at
Cape Canaveral is a federal wildlife refuge. * It is a national
treasure, that for several months each year, in the early 1900’s,
was home to Florida fishing families.
For this book I collected stories from five Fort Pierce locals
that lived for a time at Cape Canaveral with this migratory fleet.
They all have ties to commercial fishing. Two are former
fishing captains, one is the son of a captain, one is the nephew
of a captain, and one is a friend of a captain’s son. Each shares
his own stories about life at Cape Canaveral, as well as, growing
up along the the Indian River Lagoon** in Fort Pierce,
Florida. Each person’s perspective is different, so the stories
wander. Together though they will leave the reader with a
healthy image of what commercial fishing and waterfront life
was like along Florida’s Atlantic seaboard during the early and
mid 20th Century. And the book is full of Florida history and
sea stories.
 Terrell Hayes, a Fort Pierce commercial fishing captain
appears in every chapter of Fire in the Water and stands in the
bow of the boat on the back cover. Captain Hayes is a central
figure in early life along Florida’s shores. He died in 1984 at age
87.His adventures provide a colorful sub theme to the book.
Another recurring theme in Fire is the 1949 hurricane. Its
fierceness made it a milestone event for all in the book who
lived through it and it radically changed the physical landscape
of the Fort Pierce waterfront. Tommy Taylor (Chapter 4) won
The Florida Distinguish Service Medal for heroism during the
In 2015, my friend Donald Root and I visited the Cape
Canaveral Beach where the fish camp had been located. It is
still unchanged, pristine, and wild.
I hope the reader has as much fun reading these tales as I
did collecting them.

Terry L. Howard
* "The refuge traces its beginnings to the development of the nation’s
Space Program. In 1962, NASA acquired 140,000 acres of land, water,
and marshes adjacent to Cape Canaveral to establish the John F.
Kennedy Space Center. NASA built a launch complex and other
space-related facilities, but development of most of the area was not
necessary. In1963 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed an
agreement to establish the refuge and in 1975 a second agreement
established Canaveral National Seashore. Today, the Department of
Interior manages most of the unused portions of the Kennedy Space
Center as a National Wildlife Refuge and National Seashore” From The
History of Cape Canaveral, Chapter 1 Cape Canaveral Before Rockets
** The Indian River Lagoon is a body of salt water, inside the barrier
islands, on the east coast of Florida that extends 156 miles from Ponce
De Leon Inlet south to Jupiter Inlet. It is the longest salt water estuary in
Florida and the most extensive barrier island/tidal inlet system in the
United States. It is home to over 4,000 different plants and animals,
including 400 fishes and 300 birds. The Lagoon has always supplied
Floridians with a rich source of seafood. Human pollution threatens its
health today. The Indian River Lagoon figures prominently in this book.
Ft. Pierce, Florida is located on its shores. For more about the Indian
River Lagoon see, Waterways and Byways of the Indian River Lagoon see,
Waterways and Byways of the Indian River Lagoon, M.M.​