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Old 22-12-2018, 13:30   #1
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Fort Myers to Key West - how far out to avoid lobster pots?

We are doing our first overnight sail next week, from Fort Myers to Key West.

Lobster pot density is legendary, and I donít feel like diving in the middle of the night if possible.

Right now, plan is to head southwest to about 30 nm offshore first during daylight.

How far out do those lobster pot fields extend? In other words, how far west do I need to go before turning south to miss most pots?

Thanks for your advice -
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Old 22-12-2018, 13:56   #2
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Re: Fort Myers to Key West - how far out to avoid lobster pots?

I did this a few years ago in March. From Fort Myers, I went 10 miles west then turned south. I don't recall any crab pots until the last 10-15 miles.
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Old 22-12-2018, 17:22   #3
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Re: Fort Myers to Key West - how far out to avoid lobster pots?

Assuming you're leaving from Sanibel, generally once you're out 10 miles or so you won't see any floats for fish traps. If so, tey are layed in "strings" about 50 to 75 yards apart so once you've seen two or so you can get a fair sense of the orientation of the string and avoid it. Once you're off-shoire you're not liekly to see any again until you pass Smith Shoal and are headed into the northeast Channel at KW and there thaey are easily avoided. BTDT...



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Old 25-12-2018, 06:57   #4
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Re: Fort Myers to Key West - how far out to avoid lobster pots?

I leave Cape Coral fl head to the Dry Tortugas and than to key west and than back home. Never have picked one up coming or going Just point and go. Love the night sail.
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Old 25-12-2018, 16:09   #5
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Re: Fort Myers to Key West - how far out to avoid lobster pots?

Short answeró- rule of thumb is 10 fathoms.

When I do deliveries from Tampa and need to go around Key West, I get into 10 fathoms and then lay for KW. This works until well south of Cape Sable when the course brings you back close again.

Unfortunately, leaving Ft Meyers, you will waste significant time westing to avoid pots for a relatively short period.
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Old 26-12-2018, 07:17   #6
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Re: Fort Myers to Key West - how far out to avoid lobster pots?

They were very thick north of KW last month. And don't get complacent once you're in NW channel either. There were a few scattered in the channel.
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Old 26-12-2018, 16:37   #7
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Re: Fort Myers to Key West - how far out to avoid lobster pots?

We took this route, mid October and they were not too bad once you got into over 50' of water, but they got thick again when we got close to Key West. We actually hit one right before the sun came up before we hit the N.W. channel. It's doable, but they're a pain.

Good luck
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