Home Panhandle General Fishing & The Outdoors

How far would you go in a Skiff?

Just bought a brand new Mako Pro Skiff 17ft.

Planning to take it to Destin in early June mainly to try some inshore stuff but wondering if on a calm day I could make it out to some of the public numbers inside three miles from shore. Could you push it even further? Tempted to bump the trip back a bit to catch the ARS opener in case there's a chance at getting out to 60ish FOW. 

Thoughts? Am I a lunatic? 


  • Split ShotSplit Shot Posts: 6,193 Admiral
    Your worst dealings will be the pass itself. You may have the perfect conditions to make it out but most likely the return trip through the pass will finish you off. I would not advise it to anyone in a skiff like that! It's not worth it.
  • mikegoblue2002mikegoblue2002 Posts: 59 Deckhand
    Yeah I'm reading some reports that say the Destin pass is notoriously wavy... is Pensacola better? Looks a bit wider.
  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,629 Captain
    edited April 2019 #4

    Many years ago I started taking out my 16 ft Jon boat offshore to the reef and sometimes a bit further out. I had a 24 ft boat but due to circumstances I could not afford to maintain that beast. In a 10 year period I must have taken the alum Jon boat out (with a 25 hp Rude) offshore over 100 times. I never took it out in summer due to the violent storms that can come up very quickly. I also never took it out through a pass.

     Some of my rules for survival were:

    Never take another person offshore due to the weight factor.

    Never anchor in deep water.

     Occasionally I would anchor in shallow water (20-25 ft) using 80 lb test with a weighted treble hook, so I could put the engine or electric motor in reverse and pull out or break off the treble from the bottom.

     When drifting I always had the transom mounted electric motor ready to turn the boat properly into a super large wake from a passing super yacht, or to move the boat out of the path of a large yacht that seemed to be on auto pilot with no lookout.

     I never went out except in light winds from the NE to the SE quadrant, so I would be blown towards the shore if I broke down.

     I always carried a PLB, a wet suit, mask/snorkel and fins so I could swim to another boat or all the way in. (i was in shape back then and a long swim seemed no big deal, since i once swam 12 miles (6 mile round trip with a short rest in-between) with snorkel gear in cold water.)

     The dark olive green jon boat attracted the Coast Guard often, They would sometimes ask me questions on a loud speaker to see if I had come in from Cuba, the Bahamas, or if i was in trouble. I would answer them on a handheld VHF and that seemed to satisfy them.


  • mikegoblue2002mikegoblue2002 Posts: 59 Deckhand
    Thanks for the reply... this may be a dumb question but where would you launch if you weren't going through a pass? Would you drag it off a beach? 
  • The Cat's EyeThe Cat's Eye Posts: 1,629 Captain
    edited April 2019 #6

    On the north end of Key Biscayne is a bridge on the bay side that allows you to access a route offshore that is adjacent to a beach of another island. The waves off this beach do not build up except in very strong easterly winds.  The same conditions can also be found on the south end of Key Biscayne. i would also tack out to the reef at 45 degrees to the incoming waves. The distance from the ramp on the bay side of Key Biscayne to the reef was only five miles. Only once did i get caught out in strong winds coming in, and basically surfed the flat bottom boat in like a surf board on the front of a fast moving wave. The name of that boat at the time was the "Expendable".

    After the initial terror wore off i became addicted to the adrenalin rush of cheating the elements in a boat designed for small lakes. I actually never thought it would survive. When i financially recovered and bought a larger boat i found myself fighting boredom heading offshore in the safer boat. LOL

  • ResinheadResinhead Posts: 10,987 AG
    Took an 18' Whaler from Lauderdale to Bimini dozens of times in my 20's.

    Spent a lot of days stuck waiting for a clear window to return but Bimini was a great place to be stuck.
  • petedoggiedogpetedoggiedog Posts: 206 Deckhand
    you can get in and out of destin pass in that boat, but be really careful on outgoing tide, as it rips out pretty fast. if you wait till snapper season opens you can go to pensacola bay and catch nice ars in the bay. the nearshore spots will get picked over fast once the season opens, so a good bottom machine and attention to the other boats inside the bay will tell you where the snappers are, or just go to the three mile bridge and  move along the east side of the bridge and you will find the fish. 
  • dcgozdcgoz Posts: 9 Greenhorn
    I fish a kayak 2 miles out.  Same as you, I mostly fish inshore but go nearshore on flat days during ARS season.  You'll be fine, although as many have stated, be careful in the pass.  I launch from the shore so it's not an issue, but i'd definitely check the buoy/swell info.  
  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 10,461 AG
    I would feel better in a kayak than a jon boat nearshore.
    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
  • killswitchkillswitch Posts: 112 Deckhand
    Took a Carolina Skiff 198V  to Bimini and back bout 20 years ago. Had to stay some extra days, but like Resin said, not a bad place "to be stuck".  On a more regular basis, we use to run it about 20 miles off Ga coast on those very good days. Leave early,,,,,,,,,,get back early. Probably one of the funnest boats we ever had , just finally got tired of the beat downs.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.


Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now