February Camping and Fishing South recommendations

Happy New Year everyone,
I am still learning the south areas from Choko and have started fishing Chatham and Huston Rivers with some success.  I fish from a 16' Action Craft with a poling platform.  In February, I am planning a camping/fishing trip near those areas with my son-in-law (3 days-2 nights).  This will be my first time camping by way of a boat.  I will be organizing what I think I should need and planning on what areas to fish, given weather conditions.  I am looking for any input re: must have's and fishing areas.

Camping:
I wasn't sure if Watson's Place is a good pick, or would the Turkey Keys would be better; either way I know I have to have first and second choices figured out before I check in.
I have a couple of regular coolers and was thinking of using dry ice (not sure if it's a good idea).
Of course a tent, lights, water, food, bug stuff, some extra fuel (my boat is pretty economical to run).
I am looking into a "slide anchor" or something that would keep my boat from grounding during tide changes.

Fishing
Would love to have live shrimp, but even with 3 batteries, not sure if the system could keep up the charge.  I also run a trolling motor.  I will have a good supply of gulp and other artificials (color suggestions are welcome).
I would like to target redfish, trout, sheepshead, and black drum.  I have had no success so far with finding larger redfish.  I was hoping for some input on exploring the bays that are up river; or, should I stay in the river and keep exploring the outside.   

I appreciate any input, Tracy.

Replies

  • 10kman10kman Posts: 454 Deckhand
       Yes,regarding shrimp.Bring along fresh shrimp but also
    whole shrimp and small pieces salted down with Morton's
    coarse kosher salt.I find the salted shrimp pieces with 
    bucktail jigs will frequently out fish fresh,live shrimp and 
    stays good as long as in salt and cooled.No bucktails,
    works well with Gulp and/or 3"tails.
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    thanks 10k, I will definitely add the salted shrimp to the list!
  • LostconchLostconch Posts: 246 Deckhand
    Shrimp will stay alive for a surprising amount of time if layered between sherys of wet newspaper and kept in a cooler 
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Thanks Lostconch, I would have never thought!  I will put it to the test.
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Does anyone have any input on the campsites?  I was thinking the bugs would not be a problem...but I was fishing last week and I got bit pretty regular when fishing near the mangroves.  
  • 10kman10kman Posts: 454 Deckhand
      There is a insect repellent/sun lotion combination BassPro sells in there camping
    area in Ft.Myers.It is very effective against noseeums.You want to have this on
    camping/fishing trips.
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Thanks again 10kman, I've seen the stuff but never used it; I will add it to the list.  Do you have any recommendations between Turkey or Watsons?  I'm thinking of fishing the rivers...first time camping trip.  Thanks for the help.
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 6,139 Admiral
    Forget the Shrimp , Not worth the hassle.
    Bring a bag of Gulp , Tip your Jigs , first Ladyfish you catch cut into strips beats Shrimp all day long , and it's sitting on ice with no special care for a day or so till you catch another one.

    Most of the Action will be Out Front as far as a variety of fish.
    Back Country is good for frozen Snook. Land of a Thousand casts..but the big Sows are there , laid up basking in the mud bottoms. I've got a few 18 to 22 pounders thru the years , but it's a lot of Bomber Long A's twitching. 
    No secret to anchoring , set your anchor and walk into the Beach.
    Tide goes' out...Tide comes in...
    Anchor off the bow , Push pole off the Stern...3 ft. of high water tide offshore is usually good.

    Bugs not really a problem this time of year , But my boat Safety gear has 2 No See Um's head nets in it...just in case.
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • BobberBobber Posts: 898 Officer
    Between the 2 sites listed in early/mid February I'd choose Watson, if only because its closer to go the back bays where more fish will be. Better protection from the winds too, Feb can be a windy month.
    Winter fishing look for shallow dark mud back baylets and coves without much current flow and good sun exposure. These will warm up fast and hold laid up snook and reds trying to keep warm.Baits/lures should match the hatch, Brown crab imitators or root beer shrimp- move them slow and then cut their speed in half.
    Watson's is cool, the Calusa called it Pavioni, considered a place of evil spirits and wouldn't be caught dead there after dark. You might see Watson's ghost there but more likely the ghosts of the workers he killed there. 
    Dry ice is good in coolers,but I use frozen water bottles, as it thaws you have extra fresh water.
    Bring a machete and a can of Camp Fogger, can't use the fogger in the camp site in the park but it will ensure that you aren't zipping in any bloodsuckers in the tent when you call it a night.
    Make certain you racoon proof your coolers and food storage, the bastids are clever and experienced. They will suck dry a gallon jug of water if you leave it out.
    Look at Lostmans 5 too,bit further south but it will put in the heart of the productive  back bays.
    Avoid Willy Willy as rumour has it that a  cabal of gay predators will be there in February.....



  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Hey bobber, Probably will make the first choice for Watsons; I will give the bays a shot and see what happens.  I will give a fishing report later next month and keep my eyes open for the ghost!  thanks for the pointers!
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 6,139 Admiral
    Something to think about...
    Your Crew , Are they 2 growing boys and the Bride or 3 Fishing Studs that will rip lips and cast all day.
    Bride and the Kids , Fish out front along the Islands.
    Fishin Fools , Fish the shallow North wall of the Bays.
    It's the Land of a Thousand Casts , The fish are there but you gotta work for them.
    Out front a dead chunk of anything will catch about anything , All day...
    Know your Clients goals and ability's..
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan. 

    I always catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan. 

    I always catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan. 

    I usually catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan. 

    I usually atch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!

  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan!

    I usually catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan!

    I usually catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips.  

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan. 

    I always catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan. 

    I always catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan. 

    I usually catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan. 

    I usually atch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!

  • um#1um#1 Posts: 30 Greenhorn
    Turner River Terror, I like the keep it simple plan!

    I usually catch a Ladyfish or two and have used it for bait but not exclusively.  I always have gulp, but I've been relying on shrimp the past few trips. 

    I may steer away from the bays, snook season will be closed, although I would spend the time to find a couple of slot reds.  All the reds I've caught lately are just undersized. 

    I never thought about a head net for No See Ums; it sounds like a worthwhile piece of gear.

    Thank you for the info!
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