View Full Version : Cedar Key & Horseshoe Beach

Byron Begley
08-23-2008, 10:49 AM
We have two trips planned to this area in the Fall. Accomodations are hard to find at Horseshoe Beach so I rented a condo at Cedar Key for two weeks. We will be fishing out of kayaks. One of our customers sent a detailed description of his favorite fishing spots at Cedar Key. We have never fished there. We have fished at Horseshoe Beach several times and it was super. But, when the tide dropped our guide had to get out of there or get his boat stuck. Kayaks won't have a problem at low tide there.

Has anyone fished this area? Any information or fishing stories would be appreciated. I can't wait!


08-23-2008, 04:02 PM
Hello Byron,

I have not fished Horseshoe Beach, but I did some forestry work in 2004 just north of the beach along the old air field area. I almost passed out cruising timber there one time during August. It was 90+ degrees, high humidity and I had waist high snake chaps on. I was determined to get a certain number of plots in since I had some guys marking a pine thinning sale for me. I ended up stumbling back to my pickup after my legs cramped up real bad, and tossed my cookies behind the tailgate of my truck. I learned a lesson that day about pushing myself too hard in the hot summer sun Of Florida. The mosquitoes there nearly ate me alive while I was working there, high strength Deet was like candy to them monsters. My former supervisor has fished that area quite a bit for trout and redfish. He still lives in Suwannee County and I could ask him if he would provide you some info. I also have another ole forester colleague that has fished the Cedar Key area quite a bit for redfish, etc. I could probably get their email addresses if your interested.

Let me know,


Byron Begley
08-23-2008, 06:58 PM
Hi Neal,

Any information you could get for me would be greatly appreciated. You might want to look at the history of Cedar Key. A pencil factory was located on an island 1/2 mile from Cedar Key. It operated for years until the cedar trees were all but gone. On that island a long dock still exists and workers used it to load boats full of pencils and unload trees. I guess most of the employees lived on the mainland. Kind of interesting from a forester's point of view. Thanks for helping me.

It is hard to imagine you worked in that swampy forest near Horseshoe Beach. Though it is only a few miles from Cedar Key it take two hours to drive there. Horseshoe Beach and that area is in the middle of nowhere. It is one of the last best places left in Florida.


08-23-2008, 07:35 PM
You are right about the Horseshoe Beach area being one of the last good areas. Dixie County is the "Back of the Beyond" in Florida. I'll contact those fellas on Monday. There both great guys and avid outdoorsmen.


08-24-2008, 07:56 AM
I had a good friend of mine in college from Dixie County...interesting character - he worked as a prison guard at a medium-security prison before going to college...man, he had some stories. We used to fish around Tallahassee a lot - he called his home county the "armpit of Florida"...I wonder how his Air Force career went....

08-25-2008, 10:00 AM
Hey ijsouth,

Dixie County is some very remote country. The people are very tight, and you have to step lightly when you enter their territory. It is not what people tend to think of when they see Florida tourism advertisements. The coastline is beautiful along that area all the way to the Big Bend. I used to do forestry work solo just above Horseshoe Beach, and some locals would drive by occasionally and I would talk to them for a while. They would say they were out there to check there coon traps, etc. I always kept my nose out of their business , and they were always decent to me.

At one time there supposely was a lot of drug running in that area. Small planes would drop packages in the water just off the coast and people in small boats would go out and pick them up. Very remote country. I'll have to get back someday to look at some of the areas where I prepared pine thinning sales, but never saw the results.


08-25-2008, 02:12 PM
In a lot of ways, that whole stretch of coast, from just east of Appalachicola eastwards through Dixie County, is the "real" Florida...it's quiet and not developed, and I'm not surprised that there has been a lot of drug running, etc around there...a lot of places to hide, a lot like the vast marshes we have in Southeast Louisiana...a maze of channels, etc.

09-10-2008, 12:37 PM
After being called to duty in '66, I was assigned to the radar site near the air field for 7 months. Luckily, the Air Force sent me back to college, rather than have me slug snakes, which we saw aplenty.

Wife & I fished the ponds for bass, boated on the Suwanee, and camped on Horseshoe Beach. I didn't know zip about saltwater fishing then - not that I do now, but... Sure missed an opportunity.

We went back to Cross City last spring and found our old housing project still standing and looking the same as the day we left. Where the base once stood is now a penitentary. It sent a chill down my spine. It's even more eerie that I'm considering paying to go back - to fish saltwater. Strange twist of fate.

09-17-2008, 02:42 PM
I sent you a few more fishing spots in the Cedar Key area. They were sent to your store e-mail address.

Flat Fly n
09-18-2008, 07:49 AM
We went to Cedar Key years ago. Small, quite, and inexpensive. Not much of a beach. The water is shallow for miles offshore. I hired a guide and we had a great time on the specks with Shrimp. Rob and I caught the heck out of the fish that day. You can rent a skiff at the marina in Cedar Key. There were some great little places to eat as well. I want to get my boat down there soon. Old FL.

Guides name..Capt. Collins
It has been years so I am not so sure this older gentleman is still around

Byron Begley
09-20-2008, 02:10 PM

We looked in the store e-mail and could not find yours. Please forward it to my personal e-mail below. Thanks for helping me. Jack and I are leaving at 6:00 am tommorow. Can't wait!


09-22-2008, 10:10 AM
Byron, that was the address I first sent the info to. I forwarded it again.

09-29-2008, 05:28 PM
Byron - I am coming to Townsend to see you on Wednesday. I hope the northeaster we had down here didn't impact the fishing too bad. I also hope you got the info I sent. I shall speak with you at the store.

Byron Begley
09-30-2008, 10:45 AM

Thank you for the great information you have given me. The North wind was bad for fishing the first four days. The water was dirty and though we did find some tailing redfish on Scale Key they wouldn't take a fly. I also cast several times to a huge black drum that was tailing. He was not interested. On Friday the fishing improved and we made it to Atsena Otie Key. We found redfish and other non-game on the back side on the beach with the esturary behind it. On Saturday we went back but didn't do as well. We stayed there all day. There were a lot of small sharks cruising around us and we were wading but they were not threatening to us. I wonder though if the fish stayed away from that area because of the sharks. We loved the place. Paula and I are going there later next month. Do live near there?


10-03-2008, 12:20 AM
I lived in Dixie County for five years. Almost hated every minute if it. ;)

Started with building custom homes........transformed into mobile home trim outs and additions.

I was once told that the old blimp there at Horseshoe was there to look for drug runners and such.

I missed the mountain streams so much that I really didn't enjoy the salt much....other than the salt around the rim of my glass, and the ladies who served me. I did enjoy redbelly day though.....although I suppose that's up the river a way from Suwannee.

My father retired to the countryside west of Cross City. So I go to visit him every year during my off season and we get to enjoy redfish and speckled trout around the area. Too bad I was too young and dumb back when I was there....or I could have really been a great fishing bum, as opposed to a regular old fishing bum.

Anyway, I hope you guys have fun. Try the little tidal creeks around Shired Island....we usually do real well there.

Byron Begley
10-04-2008, 10:24 AM
Thanks Rocky,

What is remarkable to me about the Horseshoe Beach, Suwannee and Cedar Key area is the lack of development and people. There are absolutely no expensive homes and million dollar boats. The people are hard working and friendly. Go a little farther south and you see a different landscape. I'm hoping that part of Florida will remain just like it is at least in my lifetime.

And Rocky, I think you are a GREAT, NICE fishing bum.

Take Care Buddy,