November 29, 2020
Doorstep to the Gulf Stream in northern Broward County.
Shoehorned discreetly between the Intracoastal Waterway and Federal Highway (U.S. 1) —and situated diagonally across from Hillsboro Inlet and the Hillsboro Lighthouse, where it acquired its name—sits Lighthouse Point, Florida, a former mangrove swamp-turned-farmland that morphed into an upscale Broward boating community.
Settled in the late 1940s, and later incorporated—first as a town in 1955 and then as a city in 1956—LHP soon began attracting boaters and fishermen. Lighthouse Point Marina recently celebrated its 50-year anniversary. Meanwhile, Tom Greene's illustrious Custom Rod and Reel, has been in Lighthouse Point for 43. Tom, known as the snook-fishing guru, as well as long-time tackle merchant, also put LHP on the map.
So did the Honorable Sandy Johnson, a New York transplant who currently serves as a City Commissioner. She's a long-time LHP resident who's no stranger to fishing. “Frank [her late husband, maker of soft plastic trolling lures] and I moved here back in 1972, and shortly thereafter, he took over Moldcraft,” she told me. Then, when his lures took off, he “opened a manufacturing facility across Federal Highway.” That facility is in the same industrial park as electric reel manufacturer Lindgren-Pitman.
Meanwhile, LHP Marina is now a local fixture—one that allows patrons to bring their pets—and hosts its own “pet” tarpon. Boaters feed the silver kings unused bait. Sound familiar? To the marina's credit, fishing on and around the fuel docks is strictly verboten. As far as legitimate fishing, Tom Greene shared the following story:
He and two snook-maestro buddies took off for Martin County one Memorial Day weekend. But as luck would have it, they struck out wherever they dangled a bait: first at two Stuart bridges, then at Jupiter Inlet—and later, at additional hot spots in Palm Beach County. Finally in desperation—upon discovering several sand perch left in their live well—they tried a “local” bridge—just down the street from Tom's shop. Wise choice! They ended-up decking two twenty-pounders. This, I might add, was before the current slot limit.
Encompassing a total area of 2.4 square miles—and with an estimated population, as of 2018, of slightly over 11,000—LHP is the proverbial suburban postage stamp. Yet its residents all live within a mile or two of shopping centers, restaurants, an ocean fishing pier—even a small airport.
IF YOU GO
HILLSBORO INLET LIGHTHOUSE:
Go figure! The namesake of Lighthouse Point… is not actually in Lighthouse Point. But it is located on a point, on the north side of Hillsboro Inlet, important passage for boaters heading offshore. Periodic tours are offered; call 954-942-2102. Also great live web cam at hillsborolighthouse.org
CHARTER AND DRIFT FISHING:
Hillsboro Inlet Fishing Center
Dine on seafood delicacies in an old-time casino and speakeasy, Cap's Place (capsplace.com
). Accessible only by water—a launch ferries patrons from Cap's parking lot at Lighthouse Point Marina. Also drop in at RJ Boyle Studio on Federal Highway for bluewater tackle and unique artwork.
An updated Pompano Beach Pier is slated to reopen this fall. Great spot for Spanish mackerel, snappers, and a delicious, silvery member of the jacks family (wanna guess?). Another option: From the public beach park on N.E. 16th St., walk north below the high water mark to the inlet, where you'll find a short jetty. FS
First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine November 2019