This tribute is a journey through the life of “Bonefish Bob” (Robert E. Berger) from his tour of duty in Korea to York, Maine, to Islamorada, Florida, and to Ennis, Montana. His childhood, full of hunting and the sea, did not prepare him for the Korean War. A traumatic battle near the end of the war leaves him with unspoken memories.
From the oral accounts of friends and family, Bob’s exploits become legendary in Maine. His practical jokes, fishing expertise, and friendships lead him to danger and good fortune.
His persona grows in Islamorada, Florida, where he opens Bonefish Bob’s “Ye Old Tackle Shop” with Jan Wood, his companion of many years. Bonefish Bob tantalizes, cajoles, and mesmerizes clients, family, and friends with hilarious pranks, folklore, and thrilling fishing expeditions stalking bonefish and tarpon. Jimmy Buffett once described Bob as “Santa Claus with big feet.”
The Florida summers eventually drive Bob and Jan to a little cabin in Ennis, Montana. A miraculous happenstance on the Upper Missouri River brings Bob’s past into clear focus on one of his solitary fishing ventures. This act of Providence was the inspiration for this book.
Bernard F. Blanche of Souderton, Pennsylvania, taught high school English for thirty years. He served in the Peace Corps in Brazil, has written articles, and has given motivational speeches. His son, Stephen, introduced the intriguing Robert E. Berger to him. Blanche’s first book was Iracema’s Footprint (Eloquent Books, 2010). He is currently working on Black Dad/White Dad.