By Captain David Lifka
The spring of 2020 is one that will stand out in our memories for many years to come. Being asked to undergo a variety of lifestyle changes to help benefit ourselves and those around us may have seemed difficult at the moment, but hopefully our sacrifices will soon come to an end with a brighter and more promising future.
The complete closings of our local beaches have put a temporary end to some of the best surf fishing of the season. Hopefully when the beaches reopen, the surf will be loaded and packed with hungry fish that haven’t seen a baited hook in a couple of months. If you just can’t wait to wet a line in the surf locally, Volusia County, Florida and Glynn County, Georgia have taken what seems to be a practical approach and have opened their beaches for recreational uses such as surfing, jogging and fishing.
If you have had access to the St. Johns River lately, then you’ve had access to some pretty good fishing. Higher salinities have allowed for a pretty good bite of flounder, reds, and black drum. Bait sized shrimp are also already in the river as far north as at least Doctor’s Lake. The presence of shrimp has most likely contributed to the good fishing. Just to remind you, although there is shrimp in the river, our area counties are closed to shrimping for the months of April and May.
Freshwater fishing too has been more hot than not. Area creeks and ponds are still producing some pretty good bass and bream fishing. The same can be said for the river with the exception that the catfish bite has been beyond excellent. Large numbers of catfish are being caught around creek mouths, sandbar points, river channels and bridge pilings. Many of these cats have been in the five to 10 pound plus range. For an added bonus, a striped bass bite has been fairly consistent around area bridges (Hint … like Doctor’s Lake).
Hopefully and prayerfully a normalization of how we once knew life will soon return. During this time of social restrictions, an outlet for many still exists. That outlet is the outdoors. Whether biking, or hiking, or even fishing, it is free, and available right out your front door.
Fishing Report: Docks and bridges have been best for flounder, reds and drum. Use shrimp tipped jigs or bottom fished dead shrimp. Lots of freshwater catfish for the taking. Surf fishing should be pretty good once beaches open again.
Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.