By Capt. David Lifka
It’s a New Year, and it’s also winter. Fortunately, winter doesn’t last long around here and we will soon be gearing up for another season soon. Spring can come as early as February, and will definitely arrive by March.
A New Year usually brings us additional new changes to Florida’s fishing regulations. Happily there are no new changes for the start of 2022. Florida’s fishing regulations can sometimes be confusing. Keeping current to specific regulations to your fishing location is a must as they could differ regionally, or even by neighboring counties or bodies of water. Always have access to the Florida Fish and Wildlife’s Fishing Regulations (https://myfwc.com) wherever you might be fishing.
Part of the enjoyment of fishing is getting to be outdoors. While we might be experiencing a winter slowdown to our fishing, it shouldn’t necessarily translate to a slow down to getting outdoors. Day trips with the family exploring state and federal parks, bridges and piers along the coast and along inland waterways can provide insight to some of Florida’s natural beauty and possibly help discover some pretty decent fishing locations at a future date.
Just by doing a quick online search for fishing locations by county, dozens of possibilities will be listed that are no more than an hour and half’s ride away. Nassau County to our north offers three state parks that are known for their fishing — Ft. Clinch, Amelia Island, and the George Crady Fishing State Park.
In Duval County, the Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park offers both fresh and saltwater fishing. There are also numerous public parks, piers and docks that line both sides of the St. Johns River that offer access to some pretty good fishing.
St. Johns County also offers a number of state and county parks, plus docks and piers with excellent fishing histories. Lighthouse Park Pier, St. Johns County Ocean Pier, Vilano Fishing Pier, and Matanzas Inlet Bridge at Fort Matanzas top the list. Guana State Park also offers outstanding fresh and saltwater backcountry fishing along with a dam that can be publicly fished from.
Flagler County probably offers the most public access along with state and local parks to numerous fishing locations. An enjoyable drive down A1A will be an easy way to discover a multitude of park, play and fish locations that are located on the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean sides of the highway— Bings Landing, Washington Oaks State Park, and Flagler Beach Pier are all landmarks to look for while making the ride.
Inland counties offer much of the same. The difference is they can only offer freshwater fishing. In return though, you should get crystal clear springs and lakes, mossy oak trees, and maybe a gator sunning himself on the bank.
Fishing Report: On warm sunny days, winter whiting should be a good choice. Cooler days, lakes and freshwater creeks for speckled perch as their season should be getting close to peaking.
Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.
Photo courtesy Jimmy Tomazinis
Nicely spotted redfish caught off Mandarin Point.