By Captain David Lifka

We are reaching the time of year when fishing in the St. Johns can begin to slow. Shorter days and cooler temperatures often trigger the beginning of an exodus for certain species of fish seeking warmer waters for the winter. Only because it is November, we can make this assumption — but in reality, and in recent years, this hasn’t always been the case.

With fewer prolonged cold spells and freezes, milder winters are becoming more common. This has helped river temperatures stay at or above 60 degrees for most of our winter season. Warmer river temperatures into the winter months has contributed to better than usual river fishing through most of the winter.

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South of the Buckman Bridge, drum and redfish bites have remained consistent all the way through to spring. Areas near Doctor’s Lake and the 17 Bridge are particularly good for drum. Docks north of the Buckman all the way to downtown have been good for speckled trout. There has even been enough shrimp hanging around through our winter months to catch enough to have on hand for live bait.

Warmer water temps on the river also means warmer water temps at the beach. Recent mild winters have also contributed to better than usual surf fishing. Whiting have recently been lingering at our beaches as late as January, along with some drum and blues.

Winter, but not necessarily winter weather, will soon be upon us. Do not park that boat or put away the fishing gear just yet. Milder winter weather has plenty of advantages, and one those advantages may just be fishing into the new year.

Fishing Report: Surf fishing for anything that “bites” is a good bet as bait fish continue to migrate south. Speckled trout around downtown bridges (especially at night) should be good through the whole month of November.

Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.

Email your Catch of the Month photo to Be sure to include the name of the person(s) in the photo, the name of the person who took the photo, the type of fish and date and location of the catch. We will select a photo each month for publication.

Photo courtesy James Paris

Little Jon Garcia at 50 years old just caught his first red drum in the waters at Guana Lake. This was his very first time fishing and his very first fish ever caught.

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