Meet Captain John Smith, owner and operator of Stumpknocker Tours.
Captain John is truly a Florida Native and grew up in St. Lucie Village, Fort Pierce, Florida, along the water’s edge.He is passionate about the Florida flora and fauna and is always excited to share it with anyone who will listen.He is a naturalist and can answer just about any question you may have.Just ask him! So a little about Captain John...
Around 1962 or 1963, when he was just 2 or 3 years old, Captain John would accompany his Grandfather on his airboat which was a 4 cylinder aircraft, 90 horsepower, single seat boat with a partial cage and a wooden prop.The two of them would go frog gigging, fishing and just enjoying what the Florida marshlands had to offer.
As the years went on, Captain John would spent time on many different boats eventually owning his own airboat for recreational purposes, fishing, frog gigging, gator hunting, etc.
At age 12, Captain John started commercial fishing the Indian River Lagoon. He went on to work on a 50 foot marine management, commercial gill net boat and a long line boat, commercial fishing for mackerel, kingfish and swordfish.Also, in the 1970’s Captain John lobster fished with his Father using commercial lobster pots.Captain John continually fished up and down the eastern shore of Florida and then moved to Alaska to try his hand at commercial fishing for salmon in Bristol Bay.
All of his fishing and boating experience then led Captain John to a successful career with Four Seasons Marine running passenger carrying ferries that ranged in size from 65 to 80 feet.These ferries carried as many as 150 passengers per trip plus crew.Captain John continued to run these ferries with an unprecedented safety rating, in all types of conditions and types of weather.Captain John certainly believes in safety first and I’m sure you’ll hear him speak about it personally during your airboat tour.
After spending a number of years back and forth between Alaska and Florida, Captain John decided to continue to do what he loves, and in 2011 made the decision to open up Florida Airboat Excursions and run airboat tours so others could see the real beauty of inland Florida.During this time, he became close friends with Steve Hayes, the owner/operation of Stumpknocker Tours.Steve owned and operated Stumpknocker Tours from 1988 until he made the decision to retire at which time he chose Captain John to take over his business, and he did so in 2015.
There is nothing more that Captain John enjoys but being able to share with his customers a fun, educational ride with a local Florida native who has been on these waters his entire life!Feel free to ask him about how this area has changed, the people he has known (Beanie Backus, Mel Fisher - just to name a few), and his experiences in Alaska.But be careful, he may not stop talking!