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Discussion Starter #1
Im gonna be headed to the gulf for the first time to fish. Will be out of Horseshoe Beach, and taking along my 1548VBW.

How can I judge the overall sea conditions when I am there? Or even beforehand? I know my little skiff doesn’t take chop to well, and would hate to get out there and start getting beat up or put into a bad situation.
 

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Horseshoe is surrounded by shallow flats in about every direction. Stay close to shore and you will be fine unless you head out in a gale or something stupid. Alternatively, launch at some of the other shallow water creek ramps if its really rough out. You can launch at Rocky Creek, Dallus Creek, Shired Island, or even at Suwannee if you wanted.
 

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I've learned to put very little trust in Windfinder.
 

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The best way to do it is to find a real weather station in the NOAA database. There's one that will tell you the real time wind direction, tide, water temperature, and even barometric pressure. It's literally measuring the conditions at that moment at the end of the Cedar Key pier amongst other places. Conditions change rapidly and forecasts were made hours ago.
 

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For the wind forecast? I have the opposite experience, mostly on the west coast of Florida.
The standard joke here on my skiff here in Tampa is "Winderfinder +10".

The wind is always worse than Windfinder says...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the info so far everyone.

As of right now it looks like there are calling for winds out of the S/SE at 10 knots with seas 1-2 and protected water a “light chop”

Is this do-able in a 15 foot Jon? I am hoping to make the run north to Pepperfish and don’t want to get beat by the waves.
 

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Thanks for the info so far everyone.

As of right now it looks like there are calling for winds out of the S/SE at 10 knots with seas 1-2 and protected water a “light chop”

Is this do-able in a 15 foot Jon? I am hoping to make the run north to Pepperfish and don’t want to get beat by the waves.
On a skiff if the wind forecast is in the double digits and the seas forecast is above 1, I generally don't hit the open water. I say generally because sometimes you can hide close to the beach or an island.
 
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