He's not sick, retired or even dead — Destin's Capt. Bud Miller is alive and fishing out of Adventure Marina on Okaloosa Island.
Miller, 48, who manned the helm of the charter boat Melanie Dawn for 13 years at HarborWalk Marina, now has his own boat "Miller Time," named by his 10-year-old son Jacob.
"It's cool … how many people do you meet that's named Bud Miller and have a boat named Miller Time," Miller said. "And I don't even drink — anything, especially beer."
This is Miller's second season at Adventure Marina at the foot of the Brooks Bridge.
"Last year was slow, but this year is much, much better," he said. "People are finding us now," noting they now have signage up on the highway as well as rack cards around town promoting the fishing charter. "People are finding us and we are fishing every day just like in Destin, just without all the hustle and bustle."
Since making the move to Adventure Marina, Miller said he's heard crazy rumors that his boat had burned; he had retired or gotten cancer; or that he had died. But now in his 15th year, he's still fishing and entering the Gulf of Mexico through East Pass in Destin — just like always.
"From here to the Destin bridge it takes me 18 minutes on this boat," said Miller, who is still a member of the Destin Charter Boat Association. "It's not bad. It's a nice ride and gives us a chance to meet the customers and talk to them before we get out there and get our butts beat up," he chuckled.
In the spring, the ride back to the marina gives them a chance to troll for Spanish mackerel.
"There have been times when it's too rough to go into the Gulf of Mexico, so we've gone and caught redfish under the Destin bridge. We have more options with this boat than we did with the other."
Miller Time is a 36-foot Tiara yacht, an open charter boat that can accommodate up to six passengers.
"We get to meet and talk with our customers a lot more now, being downstairs," the former Destin Fishing Rodeo chairman said. "I still like the customers."
His former charter boat, the Melanie Dawn, held 32 people, and he spent most of his time at the helm.
"This boat has everything that the other one had except large passenger capacity," Miller said.
The cabin on the Miller Time has air conditioning, two restrooms equipped with one freshwater shower, and a coffeemaker and microwave in the kitchen area.
Miller offers four, six, eight, 10 and 12-hour trips aboard the Miller Time.
"We don't do anything longer than 12. No more overnighters, we're out of that business. Just all day trips.
"We are opportunity fisherman," Miller continues. "Whatever bites, we'll bring home, if it's legal."
Miller said they have even taken a few back-bay fishing trips plus short trips catching Spanish mackerel and redfish inside the bridge.
"This boat is faster," he said. "We can go trolling, bottom fishing, wahoo fishing — whatever they want to do we can do."
Miller likes owning his own boat and his new home on the island.
"It's nice being my own boss," he said. "Our customers like it. They can park within six feet of the boat again. They don't have to walk the cooler down the hill … can back up and load it from the truck to the boat without even getting your feet in the grass."
And even after more than a decade at the helm, Miller still enjoys fishing.
"It's different every day. I wish the seasons were better for us, but you meet new people every day. You get to do what you love to do. And I like to fish.”
Want to go
To book a charter fishing trip aboard the Miller Time with Capt. Bud Miller call 850-837-6620, or visit his website at millertimefishin.com.