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East Florida Inlets

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  • East Florida Inlets

    Wanted to maybe get a thread going so that folks could share some local knowledge regarding Florida's east coast inlets. I live in Cocoa, FL so Canaveral is the closest for me. With the locks, it's a cakewalk but as you go further south, a little more skill and a lot more knowledge is required.

    I'd like to see the following criteria if those who do know would be kind enough to share it:

    Going Out:

    Wind Directions of Concern

    Swell or Current Directions of Concern

    Any obstructions to avoid or "slots" to run

    Tidal Phases of concern

    Any Special Notes (Full/New Moon, Seasonal Meteorology, Seasonal Traffic)

    Coming In:

    Going Out:

    Wind Directions of Concern

    Swell or Current Directions of Concern

    Any obstructions to avoid or "slots" to run

    Tidal Phases of concern

    Any Special Notes (Full/New Moon, Seasonal Meteorology, Seasonal Traffic)

    If there's anything I'm overlooking please feel free to make suggestions. There are a LOT of great fishing & diving opportunities a very short distance from our coastline but without some good intel up front, any trip could be a disaster. Hoping this resource can be as valuable to CM'ers as the wealth of knowledge in the rebuild section.

    Be safe out there!
    1987 Mako 20C[br]2007 Yamaha 150TXR[br]1973 Mako 17 Angler - SOLD[br]

  • #2
    Canaveral is a piece of cake with the locks and deep commercial dredging, but Sebastian and Ft Pierce can be tough when there is an east wind and a hard outgoing tide, especially at 5am in the dark. Sebastian is usually the toughest cause it is shallower and faster. It's usually best to run the inlets off to the side (to avoid the major wind wave vs tide interaction), favoring a slight jetty protection (especially on the N side at Sebastian), if the wind is a little more from the N than due east. Additionally, know the right motor/trim tab bow angle vs rpm's of your boat to run the inlets to avoid taking an unseen wave over the bow. My dad always called it a sloppy plane, just barely enough speed to get on a sloppy plane before the bow starts to drop all the way. Its also best to run them in the daylight first and mark a route to follow on the GPS or verify the exact depth vs gps chart, never trust the gps chart for exact accuracy in an inlet at night. I also now use radar to run the inlets at night for better safety, need to update my signature picture.

    Hope this helps someone.

    Paul
    [br]Mako 241[br]Winter Garden, FL

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    • #3
      Hillsboro Inlet, Lighthouse Point:

      Generally this is a pretty easy inlet, however on an east to south-east wind >10-15 knots with an outgoing tide, it can get pretty nasty with 6' standing waves. This is a condition where the wind is directly opposed to the outgoing water. North to north-east winds will bring rollers into the channel, but maintaining a course thru the markers (which is SE-ish) will keep you quartering the waves, so is manageable.

      There is a shallow reef from the south jetty out to the second channel marker; If going south, I always play it safe and do not leave the channel until almost to the sea-buoy (HI). There is a "back door"..if you turn south at the tip of the jetty, you can run parallel to the beach, and turn seaward >1/4 nautical mile south...however it is really shallow to seaward and a marked swimming area landward so you have to stay in the slot. I would not run this with a deep draft boat, and would definitely not run it before trying it on a calm day to gain 'local knowledge'.

      To the north, there is enough water to turn north after the first marker, but in a heavier surf, that would mean turning in the trough which always has a high 'pucker factor'.

      Coming in on an outgoing tide and incoming wind can be a white knuckle experience. Best to pick a good wave set, trim bow up, then get on the back side of a wave and stay there riding it in. Going over the crest means you risk getting broached; too slow and you risk getting swamped and broached from the following wave. The angle of the north jetty means you have to turn off the wave to starboard once you clear the jetty. That is where having some extra throttle in reserve comes in handy...gotta fall back off the wave you are on, then hammer it and make the turn from the trough. Once you turn inside the jetty, you are in calm water.

      Watch out for the submerged dredge pipe which is suspended by drums in the water along the north side.

      The Hillsboro Inlet bridge has plenty of depth for smaller boats under the northern fixed span, one over from the draw span; and it has higher clearance.
      [br]DonK[br]Boca Raton, FL[br]1979 236IB: \'The Fish Tank\'[br]1979 Backcountry 18 \'Boner\'[br]<>< <>< <>< <>< ><> J[br]Redneck Troubleshooting:[br]1) If it moves, but ain\'t supposed to, use Duct Tape[br]2) If it don\'t move, but supposed to, use WD40[br]3) If that don\'t fix it, it\'s electrical![br]

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      • #4
        Great info. Thanks for contributing!
        1987 Mako 20C[br]2007 Yamaha 150TXR[br]1973 Mako 17 Angler - SOLD[br]

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