Our thanks to Captain Jay Wheeler for the welcome, in-depth account of the Redfish Pass channel below. Captain Jay also sent us notes on the channel from Redfish Pass to South Seas Resort Marina, which we have posted separately (see http://cruisersnet.net/?p=84905)
I wanted to shorten my passage from Naples to Useppa and decided to use Captiva Pass. After speaking with Tween Waters and South Seas Resort Marina, they pointed out that Captiva Pass was the only unmarked Passage into Pine Island Sound. Neither of them was familiar with Captiva Pass but they were both familiar with Refish Pass and recommended it over Captiva Pass.
Unfortunately, my North Star and Garmen Chart Plotter as well as my old NOAA charts are not as up to date as the Chart that you have here on Cruisers Net has online. And, if I had inquired online before i made this voyage, i would have had a much better idea as to what i was facing.
Coming into Refish pass from the Gulf involves following the correct marker confirguration, which requires red right returning. Even as the bottom [soundings - editor] shown on ALL the charts has not changed in years, AND IS TOTALLY INACCURATE AT THIS TIME, this is after all an inlet and subject to radical changes. The marks to Redfish Pass are marked “private’ but now that South Seas Resort has adopted the traditional Port and Starboard marking configuration, you need to follow that routine when approaching Redfish pass from the Gulf.
On all the charts there is an outside green marker G 1, which is a good starting place for coming in through the Pass. After you pass G 1, line your self up between the Red N 4 and Green Can 5 and proceed with caution. The locals follow this route and the channel is deep enough to get you past Red Nun 4 and into some very deep water in the center of the Pass. From here you want to look for the first Green marker just off the the NE tip on Captiva and stay inside of it, running in along the shore of the island until you are able to pick up the South Seas Resort channel running from their Marina out to deeper water in a SE direction. Remember to leave the reds, going into Pine Island Sound, in this direction to Starboard, Red- Right- Returning from the Gulf. I did this at almost high tide drawingh 5.5 ft. and had not trouble, once I got the buoys straightened out..
Coming in through Refish Pass from the Gulf saved me a lot of time heading North to Useppa and Cabbage Key.