Watch for Crab Pots in Florida Bay, Marathon to Cape Sable
The passage from East Cape on Cape Sable eastward across Florida Bay to Marathon in the Florida Keys requires a sharp lookout at best and the presence of crab pot floats only adds to that necessity.
Florida Bay from Cape Sable to within 2-3 miles of Marathon is carpeted with crab pot markers. While we dodged them all, I heard that 2 boats got their props wrapped during their crossings.
Bob & Loretta McKane.
Florida rule 68B-13.008: Gear, Trap Construction and so forth states in part:No more than 5 feet of any buoy line attached to a buoy used to mark a stone crab trap or attached to a trotline shall float on the surface of the water.
I have personally wrapped up in traps with 50′ of floating line.
FWC doesn’t seem to enforce this rule or the other one about dropping pots in channels. I’ve had problems with them crossing under the 7 mile bridge as well. It’s a mine field in the channel.
Once you leave Little Shark, travel down the shoreline to Cape Sable and then take a course for John Sawyer Bank just on the north side of Marathon. From their you can easily follow the ICW to 7 Mile Bridge and then head back in Boot Key Harbor. There really isn’t an exact route. Plan on water depths of 8 to 14 feet and LOTS of crab and lobster traps to dodge. We look for an wind out of the eastern quadrant to run down the coast and then leave Little Shark early to get calm seas. We watch for a time when there are 2 footers or less. Dodging pots in seas is a real pain.
Marty and Jerry Richardson onboard M/V Monarch
If you run inside the Everglades Park limits you will have no Crab Pots, but once you get south of the Everglades Park watch out for them.
Mitch & Carole On Serendipity in FT. Myers