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Where to drop in?

Im new to boating i have a keywest 1520 and would like to go out in the big bend area to fish. I live in ocala so not really close to anywhere over there, i have been shore fishing in ozello and yankee town but those look pretty shallow right now. My question is i dont really know of many rivers or areas to go with a boat yet so any advise would be good including a boat ramp to launch out of. thanks for any help


  • Oldfox1939Oldfox1939 Posts: 521 Officer
    Most (If not All) areas in the Big Bend are shallow and have rocks (That seem to move.)

    Pick an area, go slow and learn the water.....go at low tide and you can get a good idea of the lay of the land.

    If you can, hire a guide a couple times and tell them you want to learn the area, most will help you and provide some good spots.

    Good luck.
  • APEAPE Posts: 973 Officer
    I would suggest that you take your boat down to Yankeetown and put in at the marina and then slowly make your way down river and watching your depth finder and make mental notes of where the channel is at. The river should be holding some trout, reds, mangrove snapper and other fish, the mouth of the river and the area creeks should be approached very slowly and maybe even with a trolling motor to avoid the rocks but I would take OldFox's idea of hiring a guide to show you the back waters and creeks to avoid any issues and to increase your knowledge with out having to mess up your boat. The winter time is the best time to find all of the hidden treasures that the low tides reveal and the summer time higher tides hide.
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,481 Officer
    Go to the Fort Island Park ramp on the Crystal River. It's lots of lanes wide and used all the time. It gets very crowded on weekends and holidays. There's a marked channel in the Crystal River. If you're not in the channel the speed limit is no wake speed. There are lots of places to go from there. Google Earth and Bing Maps are your friends.
  • SlackerSlacker Posts: 1,612 Captain
    As a beginner, Keaton Beach is a good place to start since the area has fewer hazards and lots of trout.

    If you want to try the more southern area, Crystal River is much more user friendly. If you are going in the gulf ask where to turn out of the marked channel safely. Use a chart of the area to help watch for shallow rocks. I like to learn safe routes where I can run and then slow down when I venture out.
  • Wishin i was fishinWishin i was fishin Dunnellon FlPosts: 943 Officer
    You have to be somewhat cautious but on the other hand, I probably waisted the first six or so years when I started fishing saltwater hanging close to the channel not catching much. You have to fish where the fish are. Study the maps closely, offer to take some locals, hire a guide. Focusing on one area will probably help. I would go to cedar key one weekend, homosassa the next, then Yankeetown etc... I think I'd have been ahead to zone in a particular area and learn it before bouncing around. You will hit bottom occasionally it's a given, if you're lucky no major damage occurs. All the areas mentioned are good ports but again I would choose one and stick with it.
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