Many locals who have shopped for ladies’ clothing on the island for the past two decades may be familiar with this week’s profile candidate.
Seasonal resident Carol Miller first started working in Boca Grande 20 years ago at Miller’s Marina, where she managed the Osprey Boutique for eight years.
“We stayed really busy – we did eight tarpon tournaments every year at that time. It seemed like there was one every other weekend during tarpon season, from the end of April through early July,” Carol said.
She later found a position on the island working at Fugate’s.
“I started out managing the ladies’ department, but now I only work two days a week there, so I consider myself to be semi-retired,” Carol said.
She’s been working in sales at Fugate’s for the past 13 years.
Miller was born and raised in Avon Park. She moved from Avon Park to Englewood in 1991 and opened a ladies’ clothing store there, but the town was nearly empty during the summer months, she recalled, and sales were extremely slow. She closed that store after four years in business, because she found it was too difficult to maintain a successful, thriving store in that location.
Carol met her husband, Fred, seven years ago. Fred is from Rhode Island, and the couple have a home there as well as one in Englewood, where they spend the winter months.
Carol and Fred run a fishing charter business in Rhode Island during the summer months. The business is called “Miller Time Rhode Island Sport Fishing Charters.” Fred has had the business for 13 years. Carol is the first mate.
“A lot of seasonal people who stay down here in the winter are from New England. There are several people we’ve met down here who we run into up north in the summer,” she said.
Carol said that last summer they met professional golfer Jordan Spieth when he approached Fred about going fishing.
“We took his whole family out on a fishing charter trip,” she said. “I think they had a lot of fun.”
Miller Time is a 31-foot Bertram fiberglass powerboat.
The captain and first mate are able to take out six people at a time on half- and full-day charters.
Carol said that, like Florida, Rhode Island is a great state for sport fishing. The Miller Time Rhode Island boat is docked only 20 minutes from the Block Island fishing grounds, which are the most productive bass waters in the state. Block Island is where they usually fish on all of their bass and blues trips, according to Carol.
“There is just so much structure to hold fish, and the waters stay cooler, keeping the bass around,” she said.
She said she and Fred know the hot spots and where to find the fish due to years of experience.
“When we go to the north ‘Rip’ it’s like seven miles out, and if we go to the other end of the island it’s about 17 or 18 miles out. That’s where we see the most fish.”
Carol said they call it the “Rip” in Rhode Island because it’s where two currents meet.
She said the striped bass they catch up north must be 28” to 52” in size to able to keep them.
“Those are the main fish that everybody likes to catch, and they have a one-per-person limit,” she said.
Carol said she had plenty of boating experience before meeting Fred, but not a lot of fishing experience at that time. She said she has gone tarpon fishing several times in Boca Grande Pass.
She had never been to New England until she met Fred.
Fred is also a musician who plays in a local band called the “Rhode Hawgs” a couple of nights each week in the area.
“So, I get to be a roadie on the weekends,” she said. “He used to be in a country band, and now he plays more classic rock.” Check Facebook for the most recent schedule of events.
When she is not working, Carol enjoys tennis, going to the beach and just being near the water.
Carol has a stepdaughter, Stephanie, who is 26 and lives in Rhode Island.
“She usually comes down to visit us once a year, and then we get to see her all summer,” Carol said.
Carol and Fred have two cats: Smoke and Lily.
Her favorite movie is “Monty Python and The Holy Grail.”
She said she enjoys watching The Discovery Channel in her spare time.
“I can watch almost anything on The Discovery Channel, the shows are always so interesting,” she said.
She also likes the Home & Garden network.
“You get to see what’s trending and learn about new decorating ideas. Anything that has to do with redecorating I find very interesting. It gives me some good ideas to try some projects at home,” she said.
Her favorite book is “Gone With the Wind,” and her favorite kind of music is country.
She said the two people she admires the most are her parents.
“They were just very devoted to family, which is getting kind of rare these days,” she said. “I was always daddy’s little girl – I have a brother, Lance, and he is 20 years older than me. He lives in Avon Park.”
She said that after working in Boca Grande for so many years, she knows most of the customers who come into the store.
“There are so many people who shop there regularly all the time,” she said. “And it’s nice to see them return to the island every winter.”
Carol said she enjoys working on the island because of how friendly many of the people are in town.
She said one of the biggest changes she has noticed on the island over the years is the way the houses have changed and grown.
“There are so many large homes here now. When I first came here, there were much more older, historic, smaller ones still around,” she said. “But other than that, the feel of the island has remained pretty much the same.”
The couple will be heading out of Florida to work the fishing charter business in May, and they will stay up north until after Labor Day weekend.
“It’s just gorgeous during the summer up there,” Carol said. “We catch a good variety of fish. We also go shark fishing. We do one shark tournament every summer.”
Carol said she would eventually like to live in Florida year-round.
“I’d like to sell the house up north and buy a place somewhere down in the keys, but still keep our house in Englewood,” she said.
If you’d like more information on chartering Carol and Fred’s fishing boat in Rhode Island over the summer, visit millertimecharters.com.