of strenuous excitement. In addition to facilities provided by nature
surf bathing, fishing, and hunting nearly every form of recrea-
tion, even ice-skating, has been so developed that the name Miami has
become a synonym for play.
This means that Miamians and their
guests may elect to be spectators at formal events, or if they choose,
actively participate in games, contests, or other forms of amusement.
Public parks and playgrounds are designed to provide diversified
pleasure for winter visitors. Bayfront Park, and Miami Lummus
Park, are convenient to the downtown area. Numerous neighbor-
hood parks make adequate provisions for diamond ball, baseball,
football, and tennis. The annual Miami Relay Olympics, partici-
pated in by many Florida high school athletes, are held at Moore
Park. During the contests a miniature Olympic village is con-
structed to house the contestants. Among the featured football
games staged in the Roddey Burdine Stadium is the Orange Bowl
game played each New Year's Day.
Besides the recreational activities offered in Miami's parks there
are those of a more sedentary nature. The Civic Center at 35 North
West Second Street is a favorite meeting place for the social minded.
Groups of visitors from each state are organized into state societies
or clubs and dances and card parties are a major pastime.
One of the special programs held at the Civic Center is the
flower show. Miniature model gardens, art and butterfly collections,
tropical wood oddities, flowers from foreign lands, and rare and
exotic orchids including the finest collections ever displayed in the
South, all combine to make this one of the most colorful events of
Another widely attended event is the annual All-American
Air Meet held at the Municipal Airport, usually during December.
Ordinarily a pageant precedes the formal opening and, every after-
noon, bands and drill units of various organizations give perform-
102 MIAMI AND D A D E COUNTY
ances between the scheduled events. Each day's activities are con-
cluded by Army and Navy dances and other entertainment for offi-
cials and visitors who are in Miami during the maneuvers.
These are but a few of a long calendar of events sponsored by
the city in an effort to make this area the finest playground and
pleasure resort in the world. To accomplish this aim Miami offers
a wide and varied entertainment program that is supplemented by a
list of spectacular events staged by private corporations. Invest-
ments and expenditures devoted to sports and recreation total more
than 45 million dollars annually.
Topping the list of lavish display and expenditures is horse
racing. Two fine tracks draw an average daily crowd of nearly
10,000 spectators during the 96-day racing season and every day
these fans toss more than $350,000 into the pari-mutuel betting
Every afternoon throughout the season, long lines of automo-
biles converge in a veritable sea of cars at the race track parking
grounds. The stands and clubhouse fill with gay excited patrons
who seem never to tire of the sport. Perhaps it is the banks of
tropical flowers that attract them. It may be the wide lawns, the
fleecy clouds above the palms, or the exotic water birds.
The subdued chatter of the crowd rises sharply as the thorough-
breds come out on the track for the first race. As the horses, led
by a red-coated steward, parade before the stands, the people begin
to mill. Long lines form before the betting windows. Here and
there an old hand calmly studies the field through his binoculars
and notes the betting odds on the "tote" board across the track.
As the horses gather at the post the great crowd becomes quiet.
They are almost silent as the line-up takes definite form.
Then a roar goes up as the horses leave the barrier. The
clamoring bell that marks the official start can scarcely be heard
above the excited cries of the multitude. In the press box, veteran
observers follow the horses through field glasses, reporting their
respective positions at each pole.
And as the shadows lengthen across the park and less ardent
fans begin to drift toward their cars, the strident, high-pitched
voice of some bettor still rises above the voice of the cheering multi-
tude as he "hollers his horse home" in the last race. The day is
over. Cars stream from the parking lots toward the town as their
occupants discuss the events of the day. Some have won; some
have lost; but they all come back, hoping to make a "killing."
At night, man's other favorite, the dog, takes the center of
SPORTS AND RECREATION 103
the stage. The scene shifts to the various kennel clubs where power-
ful flood lights illuminate every corner of the tracks and throw
into sharp relief the lean muscled greyhounds and the fleeting me-
chanical rabbit. The same gay crowds, always ready to chance
another dollar, fill the stands and stream out over the promenades
Above the din of music and the surge of voices, a bugle sounds
and the ceremonies begin. Elaborately uniformed attendants parade
the dogs before the throng, pause a moment before the judges'
stand for a last minute inspection of the racers and then file smartly
away to the starting boxes. There is a hush, the sound of the me-
chanical rabbit speeding along the electric rail, and the swelling
thunder of cheers as the gaunt hounds leap from their cages and
flash into action.
Another sport, in which betting is likewise legalized, is Jai-alai
(Hi-li), a Spanish game somewhat on the order of hand-ball.
Jai-alai was evolved from an ancient game played by driving a ball
against the wall of a village church. At first this was done with
the bare hand. Later the game was played in an open court with a
The modern game is played by opposing single or double
teams on a paved court in a specially constructed building called
a fronton. The ball is served against an end wall and, as in tennis,
must rebound into marked areas within the court. Each player
wears a gauntlet from which projects a long, curved, basket-like
implement known as the "cesta." The player catches the ball in
the cesta and, in the same uninterrupted motion, hurls it back into
The players, usually Cubans, are skilled through years of practice
and play with incredible speed. Spectators in the stands are pro-
tected by a floor-to-ceiling screen on the open side of the court. As
the score varies during the game so do the betting odds fluctuate
from moment to moment. Between games, music for dancing is fur-
nished by a Spanish or Cuban orchestra.
Another widely patronized sport in the Miami area is golf.
Eleven courses are maintained for the convenience of those who find
12 months of practice each year none too many for the good of their
game. The skill of the world's greatest golfers is tested on Miami's
courses. Jones, Hagen, Sarazen, Runyan, Dutra, Smith and other
nationally known players have been featured in Miami tournaments.
Nearly all the golf courses in the area are available to tourists.
A quieter form of recreation, though no less gay, is found in
104 MIAMI AND D A D E COUNTY
the night life of Miami's many clubs and bars. Famed bands, stars
of screen, stage, and radio, expensive appointments and extravagances
in tune with the prodigality of the tropics, all contribute to the
merrymaking. For the more romantic are the outdoor dances on
shining terrazza floors with muted music, and soft lights aloft in the
FROM the time white men replaced the Indian in south Florida,
fishing has been an important occupation. At first it was purely
an individual enterprise, a means of securing food for the family
larder. Later, fishing became a commercialized industry and then
a recognized sport.
As sport it ranks among the most popular, and is suited to every
pocketbook. The bamboo pole fisherman reaps as much pleasure
and satisfaction from landing a black bass from the Tamiami Canal
as does the Gulf Stream angler who wins a battle with a sailfish
from the cockpit of an expensive cabin cruiser.
The philosophy of Izaak Walton is fostered in Miami by the Rod
and Reel Club which has a limited membership of four hundred plus
a long waiting list. The club includes men from many walks of life,
every one of them versed in the time-honored recreation of angling.
The tourist has a wide latitude in his choice of fishing oppor-
tunities. He can acquire an outfit, including bait, for less than
a dollar, and fish from any of a dozen bridges, bulkheads, or piers.
From this modest start there is practically no limit upward. Some
comparatively simple kits, especially those designed far deep-sea
fishing, cost as much as a medium priced car.
Deep-sea fishing, however, may be enjoyed without the expense
of a permanent investment in equipment. On charter boats, avail-
able at a wide variety of prices, a day's sport costs as little as two
dollars with everything furnished except lunch and liquid refresh-
ments. Charter cabin cruisers making the Gulf Stream are owned
and operated by captains who hold certificates and licenses, and are
expert guides and seamen. During the years the fleet has been
operating, not a life has been lost at sea. The captain advises and
helps the beginner catch whatever fish may be running.
At Baker's Haulover, about ten miles north of Miami, the tide
on ebb or flow is a mill race, spanned by a high bridge. From the
bridge and a concrete jetty extending into the ocean, fishermen have
made excellent records. Fishing is free but transportation must be
arranged since there is no public conveyance. Bait can be purchased
at a tackle shop. A restaurant features fish and local delicacies.
The i,ooo-foot pier at Sunny Isles, just north of Baker's Haul-
over, affords an opportunity for deep-sea fishing without a boat.
106 MIAMI AND D A D E COUNTY
Tackle and bait can be secured at the pier. Visitors who do not
care to fish are admitted for 15 cents; otherwise the charge is 40
cents. The clubhouse and casino provide an excellent menu.
Along the ocean shore from Miami northward, surf fishing is
to be had by day or night when the ' tide is favorable. The catch
is usually limited to such swift surface fish as blue runners, blue-
fish, mackerel, and pompano.
Bridges connecting the keys 50 to 75 miles south of Miami
are outlying fishing grounds. From these spans, anglers catch almost
all kinds of fish that frequent the inland waters. Tackle, bait, and
refreshments are sold at nearby-by stands.
Of the many varieties of fish to be found in Florida waters
only a few are known as gamefish and therefore entitled to consid-
eration by the sportsman. Of these, none is more popular than the
sailfish, named from the purplish-blue, web-like dorsal fin that ex-
tends from its head almost to its tail. This fin, sometimes 2 feet
high can be folded at will into a deep, narrow groove along the
top of its back.
The popularity of the sailfish lies in its elusiveness, its fighting
qualities, and the thrills and excitement experienced in bringing one
to gaff. The upper portion of its head, over the lower jaw, projects
forward to form a beak or spear with which the sailfish usually
taps the lure before striking. Sometimes, its great sail proudly dis-
played, a sailfish may follow the trolled bait for miles, but aggravat-
ingly refuse to come near it. Extreme patience is needed at first, and,
when the fish takes the bait, expert skill. Its weight varies from 3 5
to 50 pounds.
Next to the sailfish, many anglers who like the "big ones/*
prefer the tarpon that range from sixty to two hundred pounds.
One weighing 352 pounds was landed by a commercial fisherman
near Indian River Inlet in 1912.
The tarpon, or Silver King, is a massive fish, with a heavy
head and a bulky body. But it is also possessed of great strength
and endurance and, when hooked, never fails to put up a long and
fierce struggle for freedom. Landing a tarpon involves a contest
against brute strength. Its aerial gymnastics and desperate lunges
last long enough to try the muscles and skill of any fisherman.
In midwinter the tarpon are usually found about the coasts
and inlets of Central America. They migrate in spring, traveling
northward in great schools, loafing in the Caribbean until March.
They then move into waters around the Florida Keys and by mid-
summer may be found along the entire east coast and coastal waters
of the Gulf. During the spring and summer months they are par-
ticularly plentiful in the inner channels among the thousands of
little islands clustered about the southern tip of the penisula.
Another great game fish, whose tough, wiry fighting qualities
have been likened to those of a bucking bronco, is the marlin. These
are the superlatives in the rod and reel class. World records include
one weighing 1,040 pounds caught by Zane Grey, off Vairoa, Tahiti.
Marlin are known as blue, black, silver, striped, or white
according as their hide is marked. Along the east coast the white
marlin, averaging one hundred pounds in weight, are more common
while the blue marlin, running from two to six hundred pounds are
found on the eastern edge of the Gulf Stream in the vicinity of
Marlin reach such great size and are such terrific fighters
that tackle must be made to order. A great reel costing six hundred
dollars and up, big enough to hold almost a mile of heavy line is
the first essential. Two hundred fifty yards of 1 8 -thread line an-
swers for the average game fish but the minimum requirement for
blue marlin is nine hundred yards of 36- to 54-thread line. Some
sportsmen use up to forty-five hundred feet of line while others,
depending on sheer strength, use heavier ji-thread lines. To manipu-
late such tackle it is necessary for the angler to wear a "harness,"
a leather vest, provided with a socket and cables to support the outfit.
In southern waters only one fish is comparable to the marlin
the tuna a bullet-shaped parcel of chained lightning. It may take
several hours to land a i5O-pounder while all-day battles with larger
specimens are not infrequent.
It is often difficult to land one of the larger game fish whole.
Sharks swarm to the scene of battle and tear great chunks from the
side and belly of the hooked and helpless marlin or tuna.
On the edges of the Gulf Stream and on shallow flats around
wrecks, buoys, and piling, and inside waters, anglers are annoyed
by barracuda, the "tiger of the sea." Ranging from 3 to 6 feet in
length these ferocious cannibals attack anything, not alone because
of hunger but from the sheer lust for blood. Even the shark cannot
equal them in speed, cruelty, or blind reckless courage. Moise N.
Kaplan, authority on Florida game fish, relates that an irate angler
carved up a barracuda and tossed it back into the water. He baited
his hook with the flesh thus obtained and a minute later, this bar-
racuda fiercely struck and was caught again on the bait from its
The foregoing are the large fish of the Miami area, although,
strictly speaking, the shark and barracuda are considered as trouble-
makers rather than game fish. Among the smaller game fish are the
108 MIAMI AND D A D E COUNTY
amber jack, bonito, channel bass, grouper, kingfish, mackerel, snook,
bonefish, and wahoo. The latter is a member of the mackerel family
found in tropical waters about Florida and the West Indies. It is
a terrific fighter, good eating, but not plentiful. The bonefish
weighing from two to five pounds, are among the smallest of the
game fish and only the lightest tackle is used for taking them. The
attraction lies in the knowledge, finesse, and skill the sportman
must develop in landing them.
On an incoming tide, bonefish are sometimes een in quiet,
shallow water on banks or bottoms, their tails up, as they "root"
for food in the sand or mud. Locating these feeding places is diffi-
cult and often requires time. In addition, the bonefisherman must
have the patience of Job. A ripple on the waters, a fleeting shadow,
or a mere whisper is often sufficient to frighten away the timid
Miami's fishing opportunities are not limited wholly to salt
water. The canal and its branches along the Tamiami Trail have an
abundance of small tarpon, redfish, snook, bream, and black bass, the
latter probably America's sportiest fresh-water fish. So great an
asset is this fish to Florida's outdoor life, that the State legislature
in 1935 passed an act making illegal the sale of black bass or its
transportation for sale out of the State.
Along the Tamiami Trail, black bass are taken by bait or fly
casting and by still fishing. The gear is simple and inexpensive. A
4 l /z- to 6-foot steel rod, a cane pole or a fly rod, used with a 16- to
1 8 -pound test line are all used successfully. Natural bait, live min-
nows, frogs, worms, crawfish, or artificial lures, spoons and spinners,
are all employed. When the sky is overcast and the fish refuse
surface lures, underwater pork-rind lures may be effective. The fly
fisherman finds that bass lures often get the fish. When casting,
plugs should be reeled in slowly and halted frequently to simulate
a wounded minnow attempting to escape an enemy.
For fresh-water fishing a license secured from the office of the
county judge, is required. A non-resident fresh-water permit costs
$1.75. The bag is limited to 12; possession to two days' limit.
Commercial fishing fleets operated in conjunction with local
fish markets together with boats operated by individual owners put
out to sea in the early morning hours each day to return with food
fish for local consumption and northern markets. During the king-
fish season, from November to March, approximately two hundred
boats sail into Biscayne Bay and out through Baker's Haulover and
the Government Cut, and thousands of pounds of mackerel and king-
fish are brought in each evening.
The season for Florida lobster or crawfish and the stone crab,
a rare delicacy little known north of Miami, is from July to January.
Many local fishermen, from Pompano to Homestead, use homemade
traps for lobster fishing. Crawfish, brought in from the Bahamas the
entire year, are iced and shipped to northern cities.
The Annual Metropolitan Miami Fishing Tournament, sponsored
by all the communities in the Greater Miami area, is held from Janu-
ary to April. Contestants averaging 1,250 daily from all the states
and many foreign countries participate in this tournament each year.
Daily certificates of award are provided for each of the 99 days of
fishing. Prizes totaling $10,000 are offered for 27 varieties of fish
and the tournament includes such special features as the picturesque
parade of the fishing flotilla and ladies' day for which separate prizes
are provided. Weekly prizes are awarded to charter-boat captains
participating in the tournament. Entries for prizes are measured
and weighed and recorded on blanks provided by the committee
which has its headquarters in the Rod and Reel Club on Hibiscus
Many anglers have their prize catches mounted for display in
their homes or clubs. The charges range from $10 to $20 per foot
for the larger kind such as sailfish, marlin, tarpon, dolphin, or bar-
racuda. For smaller fish, like the brilliantly colored parrot or angel-
fish, the cost is from $10 to $20 depending on the amount of color-
Measured in terms of money, fishing ranks high in Miami's list
of recreations. It is estimated that in more than one hundred days
of fishing, $500,000 is expended for boat hire alone, a computation
based on a charge of $25 per boat day for two hundred craft.
Tackle dealers agree that about one million dollars is paid yearly
for equipment and supplies.
In; the interests of the sport and conservation of fish, the true
angler and sportsman returns to the water such fish as he does not
intend to have mounted, enter for tournament prizes, or use for
THE GULF STREAM
THE Gulf Stream, so named by Benjamin Franklin, was formerly
listed as the "Florida Stream" on charts of the coast of Florida,
prepared in 1771 by William Gerard de Brahm, British Surveyor
General for the Southern District of North America.
Easily recognized by its higher temperature and indigo blue
color, the Gulf Stream pours through the Florida Straits, sweeps
close along the coast as far as Palm Beach, then takes a northeast-
ward course. It is deflected eastward from the Newfoundland Banks,
and branches in mid-ocean. There, part of it turns southward to-
ward the Azores, eventually encountering the trade winds which, on
both sides of the equator, induce currents on the ocean's surface.
These currents are called respectively the North and South Equatorial
Any perceptible continuous horizontal movement in a body of
water is called a current. In channels and estuaries near the coast,
currents are caused chiefly by tides, but in the open sea they are due
primarily to winds. A continuous wind blowing over a wide ex-
panse of water induces motion on its surface. This surface motion,
because of the viscosity of water, is transmitted, in part, to the water
beneath. If these winds are not interrupted the entire body of water,
to a greater or lesser depth is set in motion. The equatorial currents
rise from such a natural cause.
Between latitudes about 30 N. and 10 N. in the Northern
Hemisphere, the trade winds of the Atlantic blow with great regu-
larity from the northeast. In the Southern Hemisphere the trades
blow from the southeast to a point north of the equator. Thus, these
trade winds create two great currents which converge near the
equator and flow westward in one gigantic stream.
Some of the waters of the South Equatorial current, at about
20 W. pass north of the equator and are divided by the projecting
point of Brazil. While a small part flows southward, the main body
is compelled by the contour of the coast, to take a northwesterly
course and finally enters the Caribbean Sea through the Lesser An-
The North Equatorial Current is likewise divided. The greater
part pushes into the Caribbean to join the waters of the South
THE GULF STREAM 111
Equatorial; the other part, split on the islands, moves to the north-
west along the Bahamas and is called the Antilles Current.
This great mass of water pouring into the Caribbean raises its
level above that of the Gulf of Mexico. In consequence a current
with a velocity of 60 to 100 miles per day, one of the strongest on
record, passes through the Channel of Yucatan. As a result, the level
of the Gulf of Mexico is raised above that of the Atlantic, and these
waters, forced through the Straits of Florida, enter the Atlantic as
the celebrated Gulf Stream.
Direct leveling across the Florida Peninsula shows that the
elevation -of the Gulf over the Atlantic approximates 0.7 feet, which,
calculation has shown, is required to give the current of the Gulf
Stream its present velocity.
After passing between Fowey Rocks and Little Bahama Bank it
continues in a northeastward course, following the general direction
of the 100 fathom curve, a more or less distinct line, closely parallel-
ing the shore line, where the water reaches a depth of 100 fathoms
or 600 feet. This curve, from Miami to Fort Pierce, is about four or
five miles off the coast, and gradually bears away. At Jacksonville
it is about 85 miles east of the shore line. As the Gulf Stream
follows this curve it broadens out, fan-wise, its velocity slowly dimin-
In the Straits of Florida the stream is about 42 miles wide and
has a mean surface velocity of about 4 miles per hour on its axis.
It broadens to a width of about 200 miles at its junction with the
Antilles Current, that portion of the North Equatorial Current
which flows northwestward along the Bahamas. North of this point
its velocity diminishes to about one mile per hour.
In moderate weather the edges of the stream are marked by
ripples; in cool weather the evaporation, due to the difference in tem-
peratures between the air and water, is apparent to the eye. The
stream carries with it a quantity of weed known as "gulfweed," fa-
miliar to all who navigate its waters.
Gulfweed, so named from its abundance in long, yellow lines
in the Gulf Stream, is a genus (Sargassum) of seaweeds of the family
Fucaceae. The North Atlantic species (S. bacciferum) takes its name
from the berry-like appearance of its air vessels. These seaweeds are
likewise found in all warm coastal waters, and are easily detached