By Captain David Lifka

We have made it to spring, and the time of year that fishing everywhere begins to take off. Creeks, lakes, ponds, the river, the Intracoastal Waterway, the jetties, and the beach will all almost simultaneously start firing up with some red hot fishing in celebration to the end of winter.

The largemouth fishing folks love spring as that is when bass fishing will be at its finest. After a winter of lethargic and dormant behavior, largemouths greet the returning warm weather hungry and ready to eat. Every body of freshwater around, from neighborhood ponds to the St. Johns River, will be offering up the some best and easiest bass fishing of year. Spring “bassin’” not only provides a better chance for the trophy bass you’ve always hoped for, but it’s also the best time of the year for the kids to catch their first bass off an artificial bait.

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While freshwater fishing is beginning to heat up nicely, you can expect much of the same for saltwater. Arguably some of the best surf fishing of the year arrives with the advent of spring. Once those surf temperatures begin to reach 60 degrees and above we can soon expect our annual onslaught of whiting to invade our beaches. Tasty, and easy to catch, fishing for whiting is something the whole family can do. Also running with the whiting, bluefish will be fun to catch — followed by pompano (a local favorite) a little later in the spring.

If you’ve got a boat don’t forget the spring run of giant black drum at the lower end of the St. Johns River and parts of the Intracoastal Waterway stretching all the way to St. Augustine. This yearly event offers huge black drum that can easily exceed 50 pounds in weight. Clams, crabs, and shrimp are most commonly used for bait. Fishing deep holes and troughs is where you will usually find these monsters with the best bite occurring at night. Often these drum can be located by anglers by listening for the drumming noise they are known to make.

Just outside the jetties or fishing from the Jacksonville Beach Pier, our near shore ocean waters will also participate in spring time activities with a Spanish mackerel run. Shortly following this run will be the much anticipated cobia run. Cobia, looking much like sharks when seen in the water, commonly run 20 to 50 pounds, are terrific fighters, and taste great cooked any number of ways.

Check your tackle, dust your gear, ‘cause fishing time is really near.

Fishing Report: Best bet is springtime bass and surf side whiting or both.

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 Kaytie Hanson

Duane and Michelle Hanson (pictured) caught some nice Red Fish on live shrimp on the Intracoastal Waterway south of Palm Valley on Jan 2.

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