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Trouble in Cedar Key: Fishing with Lloyd

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By Gene Benedict

Some weeks back, not that many, a fleet of boats, all on trailers, came to town for a few days' stay. These boats were impressive, bass boats, inshore-offshore fishing boats, boats with long cranes on them, retractable cranes, others with towers, and a couple of just plain pleasure boats. All were clean and pretty and new, at least in appearance, and all had the word Berkeley in obvious display.

Some boats on trailers parked here and there, most notably near Island Place. Many people, "pretty people," came along. A large trailer was placed near the gazebo in the Park. The trailer had crank out sides and a porch of a kind for leisuring. My guess is that the trailer was head quarters for the Berkeley crews.

The Berkeley Company, well noted for reels, rods, gear and tackle had come to town filming, taping, professionals and entertainers in the act of catching red fish and trout. What better place to fish than off the Cedar Keys?

Lloyd Collins and his wife run the Island Place. Or should I say, Lloyd's wife runs the Island Place while Lloyd walks around talking and just plain getting tired in the process. In Lloyd's words, "I don't need to be working. It's killing me, you know." Whenever he can, Lloyd slips off and goes fishing. Now that's not so tiring. Just ask him about it. He's a registered captain and occasionally takes parties out as their guide.

Now, Lloyd knows working and Lloyd knows fishing, and you got it, he prefers fishing. It don't make him but so tired. He's one of the Collins brothers, the Collins family, that has a long history in the Cedar Keys. They are true Florida Crackers, Old Florida Crackers. You should hear the family when they are together. They speak a different language.

But Lloyd knows fishing a good bit better than most I know. And he'll tell you about that if you ask him, or even if you don't. You just need to be nearby. Now I know the connection with the Berkeley boats and Island Place. When that Berkeley crew went out fishing the Keys, they took their own boats, their own bait, and - their own fish, and Lloyd was the "color man" Like you see on TV football games. And he talked all the time. "They even tried to pay me to shut up. And you know, when the filming was over, they brought the fish back in tanks, to catch another day! You'd think they'd leave them off the Keys - but who am I to say?"

The Berkeley people will be back again some day, and Lloyd says, "They'll even make a movie and I'll be the star." Or so they say."

So if you get a chance some time in the next many days, ask Lloyd about that trip he went on, fishing with the Berkeleys. And till the next time we talk, look for me out there hunting more Trouble in Cedar Key.

E-mail: tnckgebe@yahoo.com