Group: Super Administrators
Joined: Jan. 2004
||Posted: April 26 2004,06:17
Sue Sea and I were in this area Sunday just for fun (altho I sure was interested in catchin a few reds). Here's the deal, at least the little I know or have seen.
Everglades City is really tide dependent, especially if you want to explore south following the channel. Ideally you leave on an outgoing so as to be to return on an incoming. I highly recommend you get a Top Spots map if you can. But here's the layout:
Option 1: you have a couple of hours til low tide.
The Barron River is a tad west of the launch. Follow the channel markers being cognizant of some very large wakes that get thrown.
It's a good mile til you hit the islands. Here you have a choice. If you planned the tides right you can paddle easily south down the channel about another mile and a half or two where the channel curves westerly along what is called Indian Key Pass.
Indian Key is a very long key on the west bank. Along the way you'll pass a couple of bays, both east and west of the channel know to hold snook and snapper.
But the real action is in the pass and around the southern point of Indian Key where the channel broadens greatly. You can now turn northwest and follow the west bank of Indian. This area is known for Tarpon. Now although you can circumnavigate Indian and make your way back this way it's tricky and not recommended as there are dead ends.
Bottom line. Make sure you are at the southern point of Indian before the tide turns and carries you north. The tides here are awesome and you do NOT want to get caught on the wrong set.
Fine. Now you're at the southern point, the tide is comin in, and you have a nice easy paddle north through the pass following the channel.
Option 2: you are fishing a rising tide (or have just returned from Indian Key)
In this case you will be unable to head south out the channel against the incoming tide. Stay west of the channel to minimize tide effects and head to the islands just west of the channel. This will be roughly southwest. Beginning at the channel and going west you will enter a large open bightlike area peppered with tiny mangrove mounds. This area is covered with oyster bars.
Be careful and watch the water color (it darkens over the oysters) as it's easy to run aground and gouge your hull. This area runs about a mile at least. If you arrive around low tide you'll see all the oyster bars and be able to fish the incoming, look for tailing reds. This area is well known for reds.
Once you have reached the western end of this wonderful area, you can head west of northwest toward the shore to Lane Cove, whose shoreline is another mile of so oyster bars. Lane Cove is about 2-1/2 miles west of the launch. A bit farther west is the Ferguson River.
Roger I've also heard the mouth of the Turner is good for reds, snook and tarpon. Here you have to head northeast from Choko which forces you to pay a ramp fee (perhaps they give yakkers a break?). You can launch from the west side of Choko across from the ramps for free it appears, and the islands are quite close, probably lightly fished compared to Glades City.
Best Bet: Arrive and launch early with say three hours to low tide, head out the channel from the Barron River. When you hit the islands, drift the channel and fish for reds and snook along the sides, perhaps check out a couple of the small bays on the way out. But don't tarry. Get to Indian Key Pass and fish the pass, the point and the west side of Indian for the next two hours. Be AT the point at slack and head back and take another shot.
When you approach the Bay there are some nice oyster bars on the west side where you can pull up and have a Guinness and a snack. You now should have bout 5 hours of rising tide left to head west of the channel to the first mile of oyster bars which you'll be able to see (and avoid). Work west over the next hour or two, then west northwest to Lane Cove for the final hours of high tide (an ideal time for shoreline bars).
That's it. An 8 hour trip with one nice break, and all the hotspots in one trip. Not bad...
Hope that helps. I too have been disappointed in the area, by not finding and focusing on these hotspots. But it's a super place and the lodge there has really beautiful accomodations plus a nice free breakfast for about $70.
Only complaints: bugs and we sure miss the keys water color and clarity.
Edited by Capn Jimbo on April 26 2004,06:31
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