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Hello all. I plan on taking my boat (16' Actioncraft) out to Shell Key in early April for an overnight camping trip. What do I need to know? I've been scouring the net for helpful information on the best way/place to anchor. Any tips on that would be VERY helpful!

Thanks
 

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I have been out there in kayaks before. Have not camped with a boat there. From what I gathered, in a boat, you definitely want to try to get a spot more towards the pass/inshore side not near the beach side. May want to factor in getting an earlier start to get a good spot; it was pretty full when I went. The beach side, obviously, gets more wave action. We camped on the beach side--with kayaks, we didn't have anything to worry about. I saw some boats closer to the beach side that looked like they got pushed up on shore, in combination with an outgoing tide. Would suck to wake up the next morning to go fishing, only to finds you need to wait for the tide to come in..

It's a beautiful area. Have caught some nice snook on the inshore side of the island (though there is a big no-motor area and also a restricted access area- watch out for that). Wife caught a big pompano off the point where the beach and the pass meet. I think in April you might have a good shot at snook off that beach point too. Also have come across redfish schools roaming the grass flats farther inshore of Shell Key.
 

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bring two anchors - a good anchor with chain to throw into the pass and one for shore to keep the boat from swinging around. there's a couple good spots that have less current ripping through that are more ideal for anchoring. People also camp on the big sandbar across the pass. Another decent option if it's not howling.
 

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Guys thanks for the advice. Sounds like the best place to Anchor is in the pass. Is it possible to anchor up behind the island? There is a small amount of land behind the island on the south side that is not in the no-go or NMZ area.
 

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There might be a small strip of shoreline at the tip of the southern point where you can anchor. But that's also basically the channel to access the backside of the island; I can't remember how narrow the channel is. Most of the backside of the island is pretty thick with mangroves.
 

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Ok thanks. Sounds like the backside will be very difficult and I should plan on anchoring in Bunces Pass.
 
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Hello all. I plan on taking my boat (16' Actioncraft) out to Shell Key in early April for an overnight camping trip. What do I need to know? I've been scouring the net for helpful information on the best way/place to anchor. Any tips on that would be VERY helpful!

Thanks
Anchor in the pass with 2 anchors. Be mindful of the tide and wind. I’ve woken up there and seen plenty of boats high and dry

also be weary of thieves. Hasn’t happened to me personally, but I know people who has their whole camp stolen

also, there are coyotes on the island and big azz rattlers
 

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Anchor in the pass with 2 anchors. Be mindful of the tide and wind. I’ve woken up there and seen plenty of boats high and dry

also be weary of thieves. Hasn’t happened to me personally, but I know people who has their whole camp stolen

also, there are coyotes on the island and big azz rattlers
Thanks for the tips! Especially with regards to the thieves. Sounds like you cant leave your camp unattended. Also as far as anchoring in the pass, I'm guessing one anchor out front and another in the back? (As opposed to both out front.)
 

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Done it several times. Like they said, bring 2 anchors. One with a good chain to toss into the channel, and one to run a rope off the rear cleat and onto the beach. The beach anchor I bury about a foot or 2 in the sand.

Bring fire wood. You can't chop down any trees, but you can burn driftwood if it's on the beach. I usually dig a hole about 1 foot deep and 3 ft wide as a fire pit. When you are done you cover up your hole.

If you get there early enough you might be able to get the furthest campsite to the east. If so you can anchor to the north of it and stay out of the channel.
Screenshot_20200220-221822_Maps.jpg


Don't forget a potty bucket. I've never seen any wild life on the islands besides birds. The raccoons won't swim out there because there is way more food at the campgrounds. Bring extra sand stakes and rope for your tent, some days are windy.
 

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Oh and bring some kites. Once they are up you can just tie them off as the breeze is usually pretty steady.
 
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Done it several times. Like they said, bring 2 anchors. One with a good chain to toss into the channel, and one to run a rope off the rear cleat and onto the beach. The beach anchor I bury about a foot or 2 in the sand.

Bring fire wood. You can't chop down any trees, but you can burn driftwood if it's on the beach. I usually dig a hole about 1 foot deep and 3 ft wide as a fire pit. When you are done you cover up your hole.

If you get there early enough you might be able to get the furthest campsite to the east. If so you can anchor to the north of it and stay out of the channel.
View attachment 119076

Don't forget a potty bucket. I've never seen any wild life on the islands besides birds. The raccoons won't swim out there because there is way more food at the campgrounds. Bring extra sand stakes and rope for your tent, some days are windy.
coyotes are definitely there. Unless the county came out and trapped them within last year

they dig up turtle nests and eat bird eggs

Ever since the north pass closed in coyotes, cats, coons etc have wrecked havoc on the island
 

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coyotes are definitely there. Unless the county came out and trapped them within last year

they dig up turtle nests and eat bird eggs

Ever since the north pass closed in coyotes, cats, coons etc have wrecked havoc on the island
I didn't know that, but it's been a few years since I last camped there. That said I was just reading about the new pass that Hurricane Irma opened up. It looks like it cut off the camping area from the rest of the preserve. Maybe this will keep the coyotes away from campsites?

Screenshot_20200221-135248_Maps.jpg
 

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I didn't know that, but it's been a few years since I last camped there. That said I was just reading about the new pass that Hurricane Irma opened up. It looks like it cut off the camping area from the rest of the preserve. Maybe this will keep the coyotes away from campsites?

View attachment 119174
yeah hasn't been connected to land for a while. I haven't seen or heard any coyotes - hopefully they've been taken out.
 
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yeah hasn't been connected to land for a while. I haven't seen or heard any coyotes - hopefully they've been taken out.
It's connected. My wife and I often park the car or jeep on Terra Ceia and walk the beaches on the north side of Shell Key.
 
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