Behind the Scenes: Mack's Fish Camp, Pembroke Pines, Florida | 12.29.11, 3:10 p.m.
Nell and Mack Jones Jr. opened Mack's Fish Camp in the Florida Everglades in 1954. Now run by their twin grandsons, Keith and Marshall Jones, the camp hosts about 1,000 visitors a year. It offers a variety of activities, including bass fishing, alligator hunting, and rides on airboats equipped with propellers made by Whirl Wind Propellers of San Diego. Aerospace engineer Jim Rust founded Whirl Wind in 1995. Today, the 10-person company sells carbon-composite airboat and aircraft propellers worldwide.
The camp has two stores stocked with fishing supplies, including professional-grade lures made by Tuscaroran Pro Lures of Margate, Florida. Fishing buddies Earl Carswell and Jack Huggins co-founded Tuscaroran in 2009 after designing lures as a hobby. Today, the company sells a variety of plastic lures online and in retail shops in the U.S., Canada, China, Japan, and Australia. Its top seller, the lifelike Rude Frog, emits a buzzing sound to attract large fish. It's a staple among professional bass fishermen.
Campers can spend the night in one of four cabins made by Weather King Portable Buildings of Hickory, Kentucky. The six-person wooden cabins, which measure 10 feet by 20 feet, feature two small lofts with cots and a ground floor with a queen-size bed, mini fridge, table, and chairs. Founded by a group of investors in 2007, Weather King has 50 employees and sells preassembled cabins, garages, and playhouses through 300 dealers in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida.
Mack's Fish Camp has served as a backdrop for several movies and TV shows, including Bones and the 1991 version of Cape Fear. In real life, visitors can tour the waterways on this 10-passenger airboat, the Black Pearl, which Keith Jones built using a Chevy motor remanufactured by Abana Engine Rebuilders of Hialeah, Florida. Founded by Cuban immigrant Alfredo Gandia in 1989, the 10-person business rebuilds engines for boats and land-based vehicles, serving more than 500 customers a year.