Four Feet or Less: Gunkholing Florida’s Gulf Coast


At the beginning of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, where the Caloosahatchee River enters San Carlos Bay and the journey northwards enters Pine Island Sound, there are enough places to anchor for a month of Sundays.

Leaving the river you can find shelter from winds from any direction except the southwest at Glover Bight in 6 feet over a sand and mud bottom. 

To the northwest of Punta Rassa there is good anchoring between Fisherman Key, Kitchen Key, and Big Island. Enter from the south a little past day marker G”11”. Depth is up to 11 feet over a shell bottom.

Dipping down into San Carlos Bay and Estero Island, you’ll find spots at Matanzas Entrance in a “No Wake” zone in about 8 feet. East of the bridge drop anchor in the deep water of Matanzas Pass, or go further down to day marker R”4” and find good holding in mud at 5 to 7 feet.

If you run straight out of the river to get into the GICW (Gulf Intracoastal Waterway) you can spend the night off pricy Sanibel Island in good-holding sandy mud. This spot is open to winds from the northeast through east, though.

At Buck Key by Captiva Island you’ll find good holding in 4 to 5 feet over sandy mud. There’s good protection from all directions except north winds. Then, at the north end of Pine Island Sound you will find a number of spots to drop the hook in and around Cayo Costa or at mile 28.5 of the GICW on Boca Grande.

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