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Camping Elliot Key

2889 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  lemaymiami
So who’s done it before? I’ve walked the island during the day and the bugs were pretty bad, can’t imagine at night. I’ve heard from several people that the bugs are worse than flamingo. Wondering if it’s worth it. Thinking of planning a trip around November - December
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It's been 10 years since I visited Elliot Key, although I fish the area weekly. The one time I set foot on the key at mid-day, I was swarmed by mosquitos so hungry that they made Flamingo at dusk seem like a picnic. I haven't been back since. I may have been there on a very bad day. If I was planning to camp out, I think I'd try the campground at Boca Chita which is about 2 miles north of Elliot. The mosquitos there will have less foliage to hide in and greater difficulty landing on you because the ocean breezes are not blocked as much by the trees.
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So who’s done it before? I’ve walked the island during the day and the bugs were pretty bad, can’t imagine at night. I’ve heard from several people that the bugs are worse than flamingo. Wondering if it’s worth it. Thinking of planning a trip around November - December
My brother and I stayed there about 5-7 years ago in February and it was quite nice from a bug standpoint. That said, it filled with multiple groups looking for a party spot. If that doesn't bother you, then it was quite nice if you pick the cool weather.
We camped there regularly in the sixties. We always slept on the end of the old University Yacht Club dock where the mosquitos were SLIGHTLY less numerous. On calm nights we slept in the boats, anchored well offshore. I sure do miss those days.......
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Thinking about those days brought back memories. Back then there was nothing on the island. The water was always gin clear, and the grass bore no prop scars. It was pristine. Great flats all around. Spearfishing at Channel Marker 2 through the Featherbeds, or any of the cuts just north of us. One weekend an elderly couple on a huge old Matthews yacht tied up next to us on that old rickety dock. They has a couple of manicured little poodles. One of them, running on the dock, fell through one of the many gaps from missing planks. Instantly, a huge cuda nailed it. The old lady freaked out. We would catch 20, 30, and 40 pound cudas there any time, just throwing a Zaragossa (the wooden daddy of the Zara Spook) as far as you could and skipping it back as fast as you could. They’d make a Mitchell 300 or an Ambassadeur 5000 sing....

After I lost my wife the PD sent me down to see the department shrink in Houston. As we spoke we found out that he’s two years my junior, grew up in Coral Gables, and he and I knew some of the same folks down there. Both of us camped and fished Elliott Key regularly; we just never met. Small world.......
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Speaking of those cudas, I remember one weekend down there Larry, Tommy, and I were wading the flat near where we were camped. Fishing for those big cudas. Tommy was just to my right, chest deep, and burning a Zaragossa in. About 20 or 25 feet in front of him a 4 to 4 1/2 foot cuda launched in the air. It flew a good way and landed on Tommy’s plug, right in front of him. Right about then Tommy had a pretty interesting expression on his face. The cuda divebombed the plug and continued straight ahead. It shot between Tommy’s legs at warp speed. Tommy never missed a beat; he dropped his rod tip and rolled over. He came up with the cuda still hooked and landed that fish after a really long, drag screeching run and a long fight. Priceless memory........
I first fished Elliott Key as a club member (the old Tropical Anglers Club) in the mid seventies and it was still a great place... An average bonefish back then was easily 8lbs... I quit guiding for bones about ten years ago now and haven't been back. I spend my days fishing anglers in the 'glades instead.

As far as bugs go everyone I've ever talked to about camping on Elliott all said that the bugs there were just awful... Boca Chita might be a bit better - but only because there's less trees...

Good luck with whatever you choose - and if you do choose to camp there - be inside your tent with a good solid mosquito barrier - well before the sun goes down. That's the same advice I'd give for Flamingo or Chokoloskee...
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