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Chokoloskee / Everglades Day Trips

I have fished Chokoloskee a hand full of times but on other boats. I have a 16' technical skiff and want to start making some day trips down for some backcountry snook on fly day trips. Are the areas out of Chokoloskee ok to set out with no real local knowledge? I have a handheld GPS with charts. The idea is to start leaning the area and venture further out as time goes on. Just looking for any blaring things that would tell me to go at with someone with local knowledge for a while beforehand. My question is geared towards that of safety more than anything else.

I guess with that being said, if you are a proficient fly fisherman and want to start making some day trips, let me know. My boat is a Dragonfly 16 Emerger

Replies

  • nightflynightfly Posts: 504 Officer
    As far as navigation goes it's a nightmare. When I was first learning the area I ran aground several times. Best advice I can give is idle around until you have a good track. Lots of oyster bars and shallow areas.
  • Joe SnookJoe Snook Posts: 468 Deckhand
    I go to new areas on low tides its easier to see bars sand or oyster. Obviously dont go flying around but if your pretty good at reading water its a doable excursion. I always keep an eye on my depth finder and store the info in my head

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I547 using Tapatalk
    southwest florida fishing guide in the beautiful 10k islands, everglades and more www.Joesnook.com
  • MegalopsAtlanticusMegalopsAtlanticus Port of the Islands, FLPosts: 91 Greenhorn
    Great advice all around in here so far. With such a shallow-draft skiff you will be in good shape on all but the lowest tides.

    Maybe start out with Chokoloskee Pass, it's your easiest bet as long as you can read the water alright.

    Rabbit Key Pass is a bit trickier. Maybe you can follow someone through there if you are headed that direction.

    Depending on where you launch, Chokoloskee Bay itself can be a little bit of a ballbuster on low tides, but if you are leaving ORA and headed to the Lopez River you will be alright. Just hug the northern shoreline near the mouth of the river, it's filled in a lot there.

    Your GPS may (or may very well NOT) show the flats and oysters accurately. Especially on the southern Lopez.

    At the end of Crooked Creek, stay hard right by the marker. That mud to the left (leading to the Chickee) is soft as hell and will keep you there for awhile.
    "Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right"
  • Moody BluesMoody Blues Posts: 33 Greenhorn
    Great info. Thanks!

    Over the past year, I have been using Navionics Charts on my iPhone. Is the cell coverage good for this service in the area?/
  • MegalopsAtlanticusMegalopsAtlanticus Port of the Islands, FLPosts: 91 Greenhorn
    Great info. Thanks!

    Over the past year, I have been using Navionics Charts on my iPhone. Is the cell coverage good for this service in the area?/

    Lol. Probably the weakest cell coverage in the State of Florida. When I lived on Chokoloskee, I used to have to drive to the Circle K in Everglades City just to check phone messages. You might get some reception at the ramps, but will lose it very quickly.

    Then you will get a little reception, for a few minutes, out by Alligator Creek/Plate Creek/Lostmans Five. I think that cell coverage is coming from the Big Cypress National Preserve Visitor Center tower. Once you veer south from Loop Road, the cell will cut out again.

    If there is one peice of advice I haven't forgotten, its "Don't ever rely on your cell phone in Everglades National Park".

    On the outer islands, you may or may not get reception as far south as Pavillion Key.

    But often times I can't even get any coverage at Panther Key and that's within line-of-sight of Marco Island, and like ten miles from my house. (Port of the Islands has a tower out back by the gun club/water plant, but it only covers the community pretty much)
    "Once in awhile you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right"
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 7,882 Admiral
    Best thing is a pair of good Sunglasses and run it like you stold it....:driver:
    I lived in Chok for 9 years and I'm pretty sharp, Still nicked it every now and then. Ain't no big deal , just hop overboad and slide it back off...or punch the throttle and turn Hard right.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,906 Captain
    Here's another possibility for someone wanting to get started fishing the 10K (and I'm not going to do the usual "hire a guide" -although if you can afford it that's a great way to shortcut the learning process). Look around where you are for a fishing club whose members fish that area (along with everywhere else...). Years ago I belonged to the Tropical Anglers Club (Miami) and learned a bunch fishing with as many different members as possible (sometimes on their boats, sometimes on mine...). In Broward I'd hook up with the SOB's (Sportsman of Broward) -in Palm Beach it would be the big club there. Most fishing clubs are open to all since they're always looking for new members - joining might cost a bit, but you'll gain access to folks with every skill under the sun (and a world of knowledge...). Hope this helps, the clubs I've listed aren't the only ones around and sometimes a fly shop will know a guy or two who won't mind sharing a bit of time on their skiff - or yours...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • blewitupsirblewitupsir Posts: 774 Officer
    Moody, lots of great and good info in this thread. You will find that the Everglades region is full of some really great folks.

    As stated before cell phone service is dismal at best (I have at and t, worthless past glades Haven) but navionics on the phone as an app still will work service or no service. I use it as a backup and show my guest just incase. Now that being said, it's general at best, depths are usually not even close, but just take your time and you will be fine.

    That's how I started when I first moved to EC, leaving OR, hitting stuff and remembering where that was so I could dodge those obstructions and hit totally new ones the next day!!! Haha just keep pushing a little further each trip and soon you will have a good knowledge to make day trips very productive.

    Google Earth is your friend, and as Capt Bob said, take your time till you learn your routes.

    Have fun


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    http://hopefishing.comFishing the Florida Everglades National Park with Hope Fishing Adventures.
  • mikenavmikenav Posts: 857 Officer
    You shouldn't need any cell service for the GPS on your phone (or your Navionics app) to work. I was deep in the Everglades and the app worked fine on my phone and my ipad. But like everyone else has said, go slow until you figure out where the channels are and where the bars pop up.
  • charlemagnecharlemagne Posts: 191 Officer
    You will have no problem using the App on your phone.. will it be accurate.. well, I have been fishing choko since about three or four years ago, renting boats there locally.. starting by hugging the channel markers then slowly venturing out and getting a pretty good feel for the area, I use my navionics app for my phone because the boats never had a depthfinder, but man o man those charts are not that accurate, just more like a "suggested depth" lol Follow the advise on this thread.. the people who have chimed in here know the area very well and are some of the most respected people in this area! (excluding me.. lol)

    Charles
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 7,882 Admiral
    Why do you guys depend on all this Elec. stuff ?
    Good glasses a set of Cajones and a Stick drawing map will work.
    No Chart in the world is gonna show how far a 3 ft. trough of water runs on a Negative Tide outgoing with a hard North wind.
    It's Show time boys. Turn off that stuff and Man up.
    You think Totch Brown waited for a WiFi signal......
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • BobberBobber Posts: 943 Officer
    Why do you guys depend on all this Elec. stuff ?
    Good glasses a set of Cajones and a Stick drawing map will work.
    No Chart in the world is gonna show how far a 3 ft. trough of water runs on a Negative Tide outgoing with a hard North wind.
    It's Show time boys. Turn off that stuff and Man up.
    You think Totch Brown waited for a WiFi signal......

    Totch wasn't running 40mph through waters he didn't know while staring at a 7" TV screen instead of the surface tell tales in front of him.....
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 7,882 Admiral
    WELL , There's That...
    I think we need a 4 G Tower at the mouth of Lostman's so I can Facebook...:rolleyes
    What ever happened to exploring the last Frontier...??:banghead
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • tailchaser16tailchaser16 Posts: 655 Officer
    If you are worried about losing paint on your skeg or scratching the bottom of your boat. Don't go out of Outdoor Resorts. Go to the Rod & Gun and follow the markers out. Long idle out, but not problems getting out. Then you can start venturing North or South from Indian Key.

    I used to always tell people wanting to learn their way out to follow someone else as well until this winter. Let me add, that you should follow someone else that has a bigger boat than you. I saw two boats similar in length, one following the other. First one got stuck and the second went right by. Only reason is, the second one had a jack plate.
  • Blue ZoneBlue Zone Posts: 414 Officer
    If you are worried about losing paint on your skeg or scratching the bottom of your boat. Don't go out of Outdoor Resorts. Go to the Rod & Gun and follow the markers out. Long idle out, but not problems getting out. Then you can start venturing North or South from Indian Key.

    I used to always tell people wanting to learn their way out to follow someone else as well until this winter. Let me add, that you should follow someone else that has a bigger boat than you. I saw two boats similar in length, one following the other. First one got stuck and the second went right by. Only reason is, the second one had a jack plate.

    That's very good advice. I've rented boats from Outdoor and it's tough getting past the oyster bar before the bridge if you don't know exactly where it is. Then it's dodgy getting to the main channel past the airstrip if the wind isn't right (mostly mud). Rod & Gun will save you time and hassle.

    The other option is launch from Port of the Islands. Cap LeMay who launches from there on occasion says it's a good clean shot out to 10k with a no wake zone out the cut you see on the chart. I stopped in there recently to put my name on the waiting list for my skiff storage; it seems like a pretty good operation. I'm on a 'waiting list' for my skiff to be finished as well so hopefully the two events will collide. Like the OP I'm very new to that area and Port of the Islands looks the best starting point from which to learn the area.
  • TylerTheTrout2TylerTheTrout2 Posts: 7 Greenhorn
    Moody, I know im a tad behind on this thread but let me know if you want someone to join you on those Choko scouting missions...im located in Bonita Springs. I have fly gear and knowledge of poling a skiff!! Cheers!
  • Split ShotSplit Shot Posts: 6,186 Admiral
    Man up.
    You think Totch Brown waited for a WiFi signal......

    Totch would wait for me to drag his silly a** home. :rotflmao
  • Knot LeftKnot Left Posts: 72 Greenhorn
    We are headed down that way to try our luck there too this year after it cools down some and hope to not run into anything. I'll have to get some local charts. If navionics works there with no cell service but you can't see the channels and the bars on it it sounds like it it is about as helpful there as it is up in North FL. And that is not saying too much. No navigation help and little detail where you really need it. A general location guide at best.
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