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Boat Ramps/Storage

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Boat Ramps/Storage

Postby Big Tim » October 7th, 2020, 9:05 am

Hey everyone. I used to be active on this site several years ago but life sent me some other directions for a while. I always enjoyed this site and have visited at times just not posted anything. I have fished the big bend area for years but have not been around that area lately. I fished out of Shell Island FC (with guides and sometimes just boat rental) as far back as the late 80's. I have a friend who lives in Freeport and we have fished the Destin to Pensacola area for the last several years. I miss the grass flats and also running offshore on a nice day. Enough with my life story and on with my point. I have a 22' bay boat and would like your expertise on which boat ramps would be the best to launch from in the St. Marks area? Any tips that might help me be a good neighbor and not a ramp hog? I will probably be launching by myself at times. Also I would like to eventually leave my boat in the area for a few seasons at a marina/storage. I contacted Sheilds Marina and they say two year waiting list. Shell Island FC has a list also. I am on both list (supposedly) but wondered if you experienced guys have any advice for me? Thanks for the help.
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Re: Boat Ramps/Storage

Postby Mckayaker » October 7th, 2020, 10:15 am

The two year waiting list at Shields is real, but if you are patient the day will come. I got my 2020 Key West in dry storage there beginning of July after 2.5 years on the list. Used their boat ramp for years prior to that. My family always preferred launching there due to their clean restrooms and the ship store. I love the ship store as I was once able to fix my trailer in their parking lot using bolts from their store. They have a concrete divider between the ramps that makes solo launching easier.

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Re: Boat Ramps/Storage

Postby procraftwes » October 7th, 2020, 12:17 pm

Ask shields about storage in the "barn" but I suspect there's a list for that too(might as well sign up for it). If you're dead set on dry storage Rock Landing marina is very good too but a further drive from Tallahassee. I kept my boat there for a year or so and liked the change but came back to Shields.

There's a trailer/boat storage place on the left hand side off woodville hwy past 98 if you're just looking for a place to cut down on trailering/storage.

As far as ramps I hate putting in at the lighthouse(no side docks,shallow, takes too long solo). I exclusively launch at shields even before storing boats there and just like it. I will say the parking has gotten difficult lately. The Fort Ramp has been upgraded and probably your best bet.

As far as solo launching everyone is paying attention and a guy or a guy with his wife or kids launching is considered solo.. Everyone has done it and know that it takes longer. Nobody would fault you for one second for that. Just typical stuff like lagging around messing with your boat while launching/taking it out... Get it on the trailer and get to a staging area.
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Re: Boat Ramps/Storage

Postby geofish » October 7th, 2020, 12:36 pm

I also made it thru the 2-year waiting list at Shields, and enjoy just going and having the boat in the water. I do tip Gary & Kelly, who work hard getting boats in the water, loading gas/ice, and just looking out for my boat.
Loading solo is getting to be a chore at my age. I will say launching at the Shields boat ramp is fine on an uncrowded day, but the traffic flow around the building is just too tight for me when there's a crowd. I've launched at the lighthouse and like the proximity to the flats and bay, but agree with all the other comments (too shallow, tough to run from the boat dock to the ramp and park your car). When I'm launching for inshore I like the Fort (get there early on the weekends) or also I have gotten the annual Wakulla county pass, which opens up Shell Point (nicely renovated) ramp and others, including Mashes Sands (Ochlockonee river mouth and closest to Rotary reef) and Rock Landing in Panacea.
TIght lines and happy fishing!
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Re: Boat Ramps/Storage

Postby silverking » October 7th, 2020, 12:37 pm

I've been a customer of Shields Marina for 30 years. Nice facility, good folks. Their ramp, plus the one at the fort in St. Marks (city-owned) are the two sure bets for safe launching no matter the tide. The ramp at Shell Point or Rock Landing (both county-owned) are also deep enough water even on winter lows.

If you prefer to keep the boat on the trailer, Double AA Storage on Port Leon Drive before you get to St. Marks, has individual stalls. The new owner has really stepped up to improve things. Not sure about availability, but you can call 925-0200 to check. Shields also has storage for boats on trailers (couple blocks away). Usually a waiting list but you can put your name on that list, too.
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Re: Boat Ramps/Storage

Postby Big Tim » October 7th, 2020, 6:26 pm

Thanks everybody this is the kind of info that is very helpful to me. I appreciate all the honest responses. I will follow up on all the storage choices. The info on the ramps is a big help too. Hope to be down there by the end of the month for a few days to wet a line.
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Re: Boat Ramps/Storage

Postby ragandad » October 9th, 2020, 12:26 am

I would suggest Shell Island Fish Camp. I have stored my boat there before. The staff is friendly and helpful. Just give them a call and they will have your boat in the water when you get there. As far as a good place to launch your boat, the public launch at St. Marks is more that adequate. Good fishing!
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