By Captain David Lifka
If you haven’t had a chance to get out on the St. Johns lately you have been really missing out. For most of the summer, the fishing has been nothing less than great. From the Fuller Warren Bridge, south to Markers 18 and 19 in Green Cove Springs, catches have been well into the dozens — reminding many of how fishing the St. Johns used to be.
In a typical summer, croaker is usually the dominate bite early on; however, this year starting back in June, a weakfish run began that has not let up all summer. Weakfish catches have been rivaling croaker throughout much of the summer and in recent weeks outnumbering the croakers two or three to one. Fourteen to 16-inch weakfish have been common with a few going 18 inches or longer. In addition reds, flounder, sea trout, drum, mangrove snapper, spots, ladyfish, and jack crevalle have all been part of catches throughout the entire summer.
Marker 10 at Doctors Lake to the Buckman Bridge seems to be one of the hotter areas to fish. Fishing this area during a moving tide in 12 to 25 feet of water has worked very well most of the summer. Fresh caught live shrimp has been the best all around bait to use. Always remember to set at least one line out with cut croaker just in case they’re looking for something different.
We are also entering the time of year when we can expect redfish fishing to be picking up in the surf. Early morning schooling finger mullet should be plentiful and easy to cast net, making the perfect bait. Bluefish will also begin to show in great numbers making for some fast action. Try fishing troughs adjacent to run outs during changing tides.
Fishing Report: Everything is biting in the river. Docks, pilings and seawalls for reds, flounder, and trout. Channel edges and points for croaker, weakfish, and whatever happens to be swimming by.
Whether you catch one, some or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.