Peace River Kayaking

Previous Newsletters

Summer
June 2008

With summer coming on and the days heating up, we are now offering morning and evening 2 hour Therapy sessions on Saturdays and Sundays. The two hour paddle from 8-10 AM or 6-8 PM will cost only $20. Reservations are required.

The weather has been beautiful and a good level of water in the river is now giving us really nice paddling conditions and allows us to do some routes we're unable to do in low water.

The fishing has been good. There are still some Tarpon around. Although this time of year the best place for Tarpon is the Boca Grande Pass. We had a fellow that brought his grandson down to go kayaking and do a little fishing on the river. They fought a tarpon for 40 minutes in one of our kayaks. Lots of memories made there I bet. The Mullet are plentiful plus there are Redfish and Snook around, although the Snook are out of season, still good catch and release fishing. You need a Florida fishing license if you fish from a boat. Since we are in brackish water, the type of license depends on which fish you wish to keep, freshwater or saltwater.

You'll need to call us at (941)-876-6405 to set up your trip. Hope to see you on the river.

Arcadia Trip

I am also in the process of setting up a trip from Arcadia down to the Nav-a-gator this month. I'll be doing a dry run from the 760 bridge close to Nocatee this week and scouting things out. That will be about a 13 mile run making it a frisky half day or leisurely day trip.

From Arcadia we're talkin' about a 20 mile paddle with lunch and snacks. If interested in either one of these runs, send an email or give me a call at (941) 876-6405 for more info.

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Cayo Costa
July 2008

Hey Guys,

This week we decided to kayak over to Cayo Costa State Park for our weekly outing. For those not familiar with Cayo Costa, it is a barrier island just south of Boca Grande. In fact, we decided to go over to Cayo Costa by crossing the Boca Grande Pass (the channel between Boca Grande and Cayo Costa) . This channel is not very wide but she 's got a current to be respected especially at, or near, a full or new moon.

The morning crossing was uneventfull and went well on the incoming tide. We decided to go around the back side of the island, mainly to find the ranger station. We did this and were pleased to find some very friendly and helpful rangers there, ready and willing to answer all of our questions. We hiked across the .9 mile width of the island to the Gulf beaches and had a wonderful time swimming, kayaking and fishing the coastline.

The State Park offers "Primitive Cabins" for just $30 a night. These are not much more than a room with 6 bunks. The facilities and showers are in a separate building not far away. Tent sites are offered at $18 a night and more comfortable cabins are offered for $75 and up. For me, the weather would determine my choice.

We decided to get an earlier start on the trip back across the Boca Grande Pass because of the afternoon storms predicted. The Pass can get very unpleasant when storms are near. As the skies started to darken, we weren't sure whether to get one of the cabins and stay the night or shoot the pass. We decided the latter. We were never in any danger but I have to say, the current was rippin' out and it took a lot of energy and time to crab our way across. By the time we got across, Audrey had had all the kayaking she wanted for one day and I did not argue.

While we were there, we found out that the ferry to the island out of Bokeelia, on Pine Island, will transport you and your kayak to the island and unless you are in great shape or in the mood to suffer, I recommend this route. The bugs are bad this time of year so go prepared.

Over all we had a great day kayaking and the people, as always, made the day.

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Fall is on the way
September 2008

Hope everyone had a great summer. It's still hot in Southwest Florida but fall will soon cool things off a bit and make kayaking even more pleasent. Most of our summer trips are in the mornings and evenings this time of year mainly because of the temp and the every day showers of the late afternoons.

We had little damage from hurricane Fay but Ike could cause some problems I afraid. It's certainly worth keeping an eye on.

The water level on the Peace River has been high since the rains of Fay went through Florida. Creating areas that are normally not navigational even for kayaks. Lots of water means more current than usual but not enough to cause a problem. That's one of the nice things about the lower Peace River. The river basin, Charlotte Harbor Estuary, opens up here before in empties into the Charlotte Harbor and flooding is kept to a minimum unlike the upper areas of the Peace River. Here we can kayak or canoe all year.

Hope to see ya on the river some time soon. It's a great place to paddle.

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Kayaking the Peace River,
Nocatee to the Nav-a-gator

October 2008

Last Tuesday the 30th of September, my friend Terry and I spent a beautiful day kayaking the Peace River from Nocatee,FL - located a little south of Arcadia on route 17 - to our dock located at the Nav-a-gator Grill and Desoto Marina. We started our journey a little later than planned, getting to the drop-off about 10AM. We used the county ramp on route 760 just west of the small town of Nocatee. The ramp area is well maintained and has plenty of parking. The ramp itself is cement and, although long, most should find it easy to use.

For the novice using a recreational kayak, the trip is a little long - about 13 miles. However, this would be a great a one day trip for an experienced paddler using a touring kayak. That said, I do believe this would be an excellent overnight trip for anyone with recreational kayaks - novice or seasoned veteran. There are plenty of nice areas for a campsite. And breaking up the trip would allow for a more leisurely paddle with time to explore the area and maybe do a little fishing too. That, I believe, will be my next trip.

I'd say we saw 14 or 15 small to medium alligators along the way, mostly in the northern stretches of the trip and thankfully, the birds are returning to the river as summer gives way to autumn. We even saw a couple of Roseate Spoonbills(Yay!) as well as Blue Herons, Great White Egrets, Ibis and Kingfishers to name a few. This was a welcomed sight for me, as it means the wildlife along the river is returning and winter season is on the way. Yea boy!

We didn't take out until around 6PM which adds up to about 8 hours on the river. We stopped 3 or 4 times for breaks and lunch and paddled leisurely but rather consistently. I'd like more time to explore and that's why, recreationally, I think this trip belongs in the "overnight" category.



Next Trip: Arcadia down to our dock at the Nav-a-gator Grill.

If you would be interested in one of our overnight trips on the Peace River or just need some info on this part of the river, drop me an email from our "contact us" page.

Happy Paddling!
It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


January
January 2009

Well it's the middle of January and we just had a night temp in the upper 20s. Some of the river's plants did suffer from the frost but its too soon to tell if there will be any permanent damage. The North winds associated with the front blew a lot of water out of the river making low tide very low compared to normal but still, there's plenty of water for kayaking and careful boating.

Thankfully, it has warmed up considerably and we are having some of the best kayaking weather I've seen in quite a while. So grab a friend and come on out.

A family of otters were spotted this week and provided much entertainment for the tour group. These creatures are not usually so "outgoing" and this sighting was a pleasant addition to the wildlife we saw.

I'm going to be fishing this coming week and I'll keep you posted. Also, I started a blog this week on blogspot. The address is itstimekayakandcanoe.blogspot.com We welcome your comments and postings of your experiences while kayaking or canoeing the Peace River, southwest Florida or anywhere for that matter.

We'll be expanding our services soon to include tours on Shell Creek, the Stump Pass area and Matlacha. I hope to have more info about the times and cost for these tours on the website soon.

I should mention, I completed the "Coastal" module of the "Florida Master Naturalist Program" in November, supplementing the "Freshwater Wetlands" certificate I earned the previous spring. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the program and our instructor, Debbie Dixon. She is a gem.

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Summer is Here
May 2009

Summer seems to have arrived. Things are warming up a bit and the days are getting longer. We have been working hard getting ready for the summer by adding more kayak destinations in the Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda and Englewood area. We love the Peace River but with summer fast approaching, we thought it would be good to do some paddling down by the Gulf. So, we now have kayak trips from Englewood and Placida.

One destination is the Don Pedro State Park in Englewood. Don Pedro Island is only accessible by boat. There is a parking area on the mainland off Placida Rd. where we will depart by kayak to the inland. For more info check out theDon Pedro Paddle page.

We also are doing trips from Eldred's Marina located just before the bridge to Boca Grande. From there we paddle to and through the Wolverton Mangrove Tunnels and Catfish Creek. This paddle is an intermediate paddle lasting from 3 to 4 hours and should not be attempted by the novice.

That's it for now. Be save out there.
Thanks

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
MIke


Lower Shell Creek Paddle
July 2009

I did a nice paddle this past Saturday morning on the lower Shell Creek (below the dam). The Punta Gorda Boat Club rented five kayaks put in at the easy to miss small ramp on Riverside Dr. off route 17 just north of Punta Gorda and the club did a two hour tour organized and led by Ron Norvelle.

I took off on my own to do a little exploring and was pleased to find some very nice paddling where Shell Creek meets the lower Peace River. An area referred to as Pelican Harbor.

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Fall Newletter
September 2009

I would like to start by thanking the Sarasota Adventure Group for their business. They held a trip on the Peace River this month and by all reports a good time was had by all.

We also would like to thank the paddlers from Kings Gate for taking a tour with us on Shell Creek this past week. We were happy to provide 16 kayaks and myself as guide on a nice paddle up Shell Creek. Both first-timers and experienced paddlers were involved and everyone seems to have a good time.

The weather is beginning to cool a bit and that is a welcomed change to the dog days of summer in southwest Florida. Fishing is picking up in the Harbor and should carry through the month. Snook season is open, Tarpon are still in the harbor and the Reds are moving in as well.

We are looking forward to a great season this year. we have expanded our kayaking service area to include the entire Charlotte Harbor Estuary. Providing kayak trips to destinations in Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and Englewood. Our base will be the Port Charlotte Beach Park at the end of Harbor Blvd. but scheduled trips to parks throughout Charlotte County will be provided by reservation.

See ya in the skinny water.

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
MIke


Happy Holidays
December 2010

Brrrrr. It's been pretty cold around here for a week or so but things are supposed to warm up a little this weekend. Mid 70s or so. We want to wish all of our kayaking friends happy holidays and best wishes for the new year. We also want to thank all those who went kayaking with us this year. We appreciate your support and hope you enjoyed the experience.

We just purchased a small paddle boat for the business and hope it will be of use to some. Although the recreational kayaks are quite stable, some people still think all kayaks are tippy and we came to think we were wasting our time trying to convince them any different! We hope the paddle boat will provide an opportunity for those people to enjoy the Charlotte Harbor Estuary without worry or discomfort.

We're looking forward to the coming season, of course. Since last year's cold, rainy, windy winter was the worst in over seventy years, and it was our first year at the Beach Complex, we're not sure what to expect - but each year's business has gotten a little better than the year before and we see no reason for that to change. We've met a lot of nice people at the beach and as soon as the weather turns a little, I'll be out there fishing again in the mornings and making new friends during the day.

Audrey and I both wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!
It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Winter 2011
February 2011

Although the weather has been spotty this winter, there have been some really good days of paddling, providing a comfortable paddle and lots of wildlife to see. Lately, the Ponce De Leon Park launch in Punta Gorda has been a favorite tour destination but it must be worked around the tides. Mid tide is best. You need enough water to get through the Mangrove tunnels but too much and your head's in the trees.

No matter where you go, this time of year I like the misty mornings and the late afternoons when the temp is above 65. That's my cut off.

Kayak Fishing Febuary

The fishing around Alligator Bay has been nothing to brag about. Lots of lady fish but not much else. The word Slooow comes to mind. One or two decent fish every now and then. I have had reports that the fishing has been good on the West Wall and Pirate Harbor. Lately we've been going closer to the Gulf to catch fish. Trout mostly but that's fine. Not much better than fresh Trout for supper. There are Sheepshead and even a Red or two around but your best shot is trout this month.

I like live shrimp as bait. When I throw lures, I pretty much have gone to single hook soft plastics these days. It's so much easier to release a fish when you're throwing single hook baits. I'm trying to get away from those treble hooks. Just yesterday I was reminded why.

Went out to Placida on the 15th. and fished the Whidden Creek area. We were able to find some nice Trout and Sheepshead for the table. One Sheepshead was huge. It pulled the kayak around for a while and made the day for my client, Andy and his son, Dean.

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


March Kayaking Port Charlotte
March 2011

Well the winds of March are upon us and that means we're doing a lot of kayaking in the protected areas of the Peace River, Shell Creek and places like that. Delivered a few boats out to Shell Creek the other day and so I took the opportunity to do a little paddling. What a nice time of year to do Shell Creek. Signs of Spring are showing up all over the place.

The boats I delivered were for guest of the Port Charlotte Kayak Club's president, Dave Allen. He reported seeing a huge gator very close if not over the Florida record of 14 foot plus and has photos to prove it. Looking forward to seeing the photos. If I get a copy, I'll put them up on the site.

Don't forget the Charlotte County Kayak and Wildlife Festival is March 19th (9 to 5) at the Port Charlotte Beach Park. Lots of activities such as kayak races, tours, instruction on kayak fishing, paddling techniques, etc plus live music and food available. There are several professional wildlife photographers and their works plus seminars on the wildlife of our Charlotte Harbor Estuary. Make a day of it and have some fun.

The Port Charlotte Kayak Club meets every Wednesday at 5:30 at the Port Charlotte Beach Park main picnic pavillion

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


April
April 2011

It's been a really good season and we would like to thank everyone for their support. Our tours were a great hit especially at Ponce De Leon and the Peace River this year. April should bring more great kayaking weather to our area. The temps are going up but still very much in the comfort zone.

As the water warms up so does the fishing as and the tours slow down, the fishing trips are to increase. Tarpon season is just around the corner and this year I'm going after them in my 14.5 Ultimate. Getting my tarpon tackle in shape and loaded.

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Summer
June 2011

Summer is here and the temps are rising. We solidly recommend you schedule your kayak adventure in the morning or the late afternoon. Of course, the summer afternoons always hold a threat of thunderstorms so mornings are your best choice.

Be sure to wear shoes you don't mind getting wet and it's a good idea to bring sunglasses, polarized if possible, sunscreen, and a hat for your outing.

If you have tried kayaking, It's Time

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Freedom Swim July 4
June 2011

Every year on July 4th, our area holds what is call the "Freedom Swim". It's a flotilla where folks swim, tube, kayak and other creative power-free water vessels make their way across the harbor from the north side (Port Charlotte) of the 41 bridge to the Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda. It's an extremely fun outing with lots of participants. It seems to grow every year and this season will be no exception, I'm sure.

Be sure to book your kayak early. There is usually a large demand and the earlier you book the more likely we will have a boat for you. We arrive at the north side of the 41 bridge (northbound lane side) around 8AM and launch time is around 9AM. Boats are picked up at the Fisherman's Village marina beside Harpoon Harry's. You are responsible for your overland transportation, so you'll need to arrange a way to get back to your car after the crossing.

If you have questions or wish to book a boat, give us a call. 941 255-3686

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Hope Floats
August 2011
Last week we participated in the Hope Floats kayak races here in the Charlotte Harbor area for the American Cancer folks. This event is an annual gathering of people who enjoy kayaking and want to donate to a good cause. Really nice people and a beautiful day on the water. That's what it's about.
It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike


Oklawaha Trip
August 2011

With the August slow down, Audrey and I had a chance to take a little trip up to Ocala to visit her mother and do a little kayaking in the spring feed Oklawaha river. The folks at the Oklawaha Outpost were very nice and helpful. We rented a couple of Old Towns. A tandem for Audrey and her mother and a single for me.

We put in at Gore's Landing and paddled with the 2 know flow down stream to the Outpost's property along the river. This we found to be an easy 4 hour paddle and was pleased with the scenery and wildlife we encountered. The river was not as clear as we had hoped but it is August and we have had a very rainy season this summer along the western half of Florida.

If you haven't paddled the Oklawaha, I recommend you give it a go. The best time would be in the spring right before the summer rain begin. If you would like more info about this trip call us at 941 255-3686 or email us at mike@itstimekayakandcanoe.com

It's Time Kayak and Canoe
Mike