Kayak Fishing Out of Oyster Creek
This is one of our favorite launches when the NE winter wind blows whitecaps on Lemon Bay. Launching here is easy with adequate parking and you can back down to the water to unload on the shell beach. Oyster Creek launch is off Placida Road south of 776 in Englewood. The launch is across the road from Cedar Point Environmental Park, between Lemon Bay High School and the bridge over Oyster Creek. Launching here gives you access to an area of Lemon Bay across from Stump Pass that can be very productive because the tidal flows move a lot of water through the pass.
You should time the tidal flow to float with the current or resolve to paddle into it coming and going. Straight out from the launch, go left [east] around the mangrove island to find the main channel. The current and boat traffic under the bridge can be challenging but stay to either the center or the south channel and avoid the shallow oysters under the northern channel.
As you paddle west out of Oyster Creek and before heading into the bay, fish along the mangrove shorelines. Large sheephead and snapper often hang out along there. Once into the bay, about 400 yards from the launch, be aware of the oyster bars to the north and go around them nearer to the ICW. This Oyster Creek area is well named, the shallow flats to the north keep boaters at bay and that leaves it all to kayakers. These oyster fields, bordered by mangroves, attract redfish, snook, trout, sheepshead, snapper and others that enjoy the abundant baitfish, crabs and shrimp they provide. Careful exploration on a low tide will orient a kayak angler to the deeper channels between the oyster bars. These channels are highways for fish moving onto and around the flat during a rising tide and make great places to anchoring or stake out on their eastern ends. We often see dolphin feeding here at full throttle; exciting to watch and a sure sign there are plenty of fish.
High tide is when this area really works for the kayak angler. The 2-3 hours before high tide and the first hour of the falling tide can be really productive. Note: this timing requires you to paddle into the current to and from the launch. When the tide is lower we have found ourselves floating in 5” of water and casting to fish feeding in 2-3” along the shore. This is sight fishing and casting in front of waking fish. The grass flats further out are sprinkled with sand holes and vary from 12” to 6’ deep as you approach the ICW. Watch for wakes from passing boats when you’re fishing out toward the ICW shoals. As the tide rises, start in the 2’-3’ depths and work towards the shoreline looking for feeding fish.
On a high tide there are numerous hard sand beaches along the shore of the Cedar Point Environmental Park that you can use to get out and stretch. On a low tide there will be a hundred feet of soft bottom between you and the beach.
Kimball recently caught and released 4 snook with her flyrod using a shrimp fly along the mangroves and one really nice 24” redfish on a jig and shad tail lure. Les hooked up with another big redfish that ripped out 100 yds. of 10 lb. braid then turned into the mangroves and broke off. He did, however, release a smaller redfish and a bunch of nice snook. The day also produced jacks, mangrove snapper, trout, gafftopsail catfish and ladyfish.
Because of the excellent launch, protection from the northeast winter winds, great water quality from Stump Pass, productive grass flats, oyster bars, mangroves and quality fish, we highly recommend Oyster Creek and the flats south of Cedar Point Environmental Park. We enjoyed Kim’s redfish grilled on the half shell last week and the one she caught on our most recent trip fried. Both were delicious. GPS=26.923812, -82.330728