Made a journey today I've thought about doing countless times over the years. Every time I cross the Myakka River on I-75, I tell myself I'm going to make the journey by boat someday. The trip was even more beautiful than I imagined.
I launched from the El Jobean ramp at the Myakka and 776. Once you get north of US 41 there are signs identifying the area as Myakka Wild Scenic River, low speed only. Many areas are marked idle speed, no wake zones.
As you approach Snook Haven restaurant and campground you begin seeing gators on both shores, one was absolutely enormous. Had to be a 12'er...biggest I've even seen with my own eyes.
I trolled a Rapala XR8 (green/chartreuse) the entire 3 hours heading north and only caught 2 Ladyfish. Once I reached I-75 I changed out to a white Storm twitch stick for the ride back. I had my first snook on in 2 minutes. It was a small one that I failed to land. 10 minutes later the fight was really on. When this snook jumped the first time, I feared it would be over slot. It had some real girth. Over and over it breached the river and I kept driving it down with my rod tip, hoping my leader knot would hold. It did. Having to deploy my net from the closed position is always a challenge when fishing solo but I managed. Mr snook broke two of the treble hooks in the twitch stick during removal. That's my only complaint about those lures...the hooks are awfully frail.
He measure out barely at the bottom of the slot (28") but wow he was a stout one. I kept him alive in the live well, in hopes of an even bigger score but it wasn't going to happen. I'd come a long way to find this one fish. And it was worth every second.
This place has foreclosure notices on the Windows. I bet the boat is included.
This may be the biggest gator I've ever seen. He started to submerge when I approached but look at the size of his tail!
Home sweet home.
I filleted 3.5 pounds of meat off of him.
Almost forgot to share info most of you are wanting....what were the depths like?
I had launched about an hour into a long incoming tide. There were a few areas with less than a foot but no threat to my flats boat. For the most part the whole trip has 4-6' of depth but those few flats will prevent all deeper draft boats from going past. I was real shocked at how many 12-13' areas I came through. Even the final approach to 75 had 4-5' I passed more than a few kayaks, deck boats and even a few pontoons. Most were likely locals from upriver. Can't imagine many make the journey from 776 like I did.
There are two restaurants you could stop at along the way, Myakka River Oyster bar on US41 and Snook Haven. Not positive if snook haven will let you tie up there for lunch. I didn't ask.
Now that I've made this journey, I'm sure to do again and share with friends. I've also done the Peace River all the way to the Navagator in Desoto. That's another fun one but I will say the Myakka is smaller, more intimate of a journey.