St Augustine Fishing

Grab your Gear and GO!

 

St Augustine fishing is found along forty-two miles of white-sand beaches. Abundant surf fishing. Boats? Optional.

Easy driving distance from Florida's largest city, Jacksonville. St. Augustine, an historic coastal town holding the record for the oldest town in America, has a more calm and relaxed atmostphere than that of larger cities.

The fish are plentiful, too! Have only time for a weekend getaway? No problem - St Augustine fishing trips are well worth the drive from other areas that might get a little crowded on the weekends.



Photographer:Larry Roberg | Agency: Dreamstime.com
St. Augustine fishing is plentiful from one of the popular beaches
A beautiful St. Augustine beach

In St Augustine fishing goes back a long way; America's oldest continually settled town dates back to the days of Ponce De Leon's famous search for the fountain of youth. While the legendary fountain's exact location remains hidden, it's no secret that St Augustine fishing boasts 42 miles of beaches!

With so much oceanfront, St Augustine fishing means an abundance of surf fishing locations. June, July, and August are prime months for St. Augustine fishing; surf fishing is especially fine in the evenings - what could be better than you, kicked back with your beverage of choice, taking in a breathtaking Florida sunset, waiting for that first tug on your line?




St Augustine fishing: Beaches, Beaches, Beaches!

Let's talk a little about St. Augustine's beautiful, abundant beaches.

  • St Augustine Beach - 4 miles long, located at the southernmost end of Anastasia Island. The main entrance to the beach is at St John's County Pier (see below), with more access points at city streets ending at the beach. A 4-acre beachfront park has picnic tables, a playground, restrooms & showers, concessions, and the all-important bait & tackle shop.
  • South Ponte Vedra Beach - about a 20 minute drive up north A1a from the heart of St. Augustine.
  • Butler Beach East - not only a nice beach, but it's also historically important as it stood alone for years as the lone beach in the area that wasn't segregated. If you're in the St Augustine fishing area, come take a look at this beach.
  • Crescent Beach - quiet and unspoiled, the beach lies on Anastasia Island, and is part of Anastasia State Park.
  • Vilano Beach - Often overlooked (which makes local fisherman happy!), this beach is a hidden treasure if you're looking to get away from the stress of the bigger cities. This peaceful beach is only 2 miles from other great St Augustine fishing spots and is part of the 1700-acre Surfside Park.

Fish from the Vilano Beach fishing pier, and get down to the 5-mile wide beach, too, where you can drive up and park your car while you enjoy beach activities... There's restrooms, showers, and picnicking, too. Vilano Beach vacation rental plans may include booking a charter, for some deep sea fishing action.



Photographer:Ron Chapple Studios | Agency: Dreamstime.com
Vilano Beach
More of northeast Florida's sparkling white sand at Vilano Beach

There are, of course, other beach access spots to enjoy St. Augustine fishing that are found in even Florida parks; more excellent beach fishing locations are discussed below.


Beach driving

You can actually drive your car on some of the beaches surrounding St Augustine. It's a one-way drive, starting from St Augustine Beach south to Fort Matanzas National Monument. You'll be charged a small fee for a daily access pass, but it's worth it - haven't you always wanted to drive down the beach?

There's plenty of places to enter and exit for beach driving; access points and beach ramps are along highway A1A at Spyglass, Crescent Beach, Mary Street, Matanzas Avenue, Dondanville Road, Ocean Trace, Vilano Beach, Surfside park, Usina Beach and north of St Augustine Inlet.

However, some North Beach access is by special permit only, and is available only for 4x4 vehicles or all wheel drive vehicles.

For more information about beach use, access points, and driving permits, please visit the St John's County web site.


St Augutine fishing from piers


Photo credit: St. Johns County
St Johns county pier
St. Johns County Pier

For those without a boat, St Augustine fishing can be experienced not only at the beach, but also from one of several area piers.

Freshwater pier fishing near St Augustine on the St Johns River by the Old Shands Bridge, is good for some excellent bass fishing.

Saltwater pier fishing at the St Johns County Pier will reward you with drum, whiting and bluefish catches.

You can fish for a low fee or just stroll the pier for an even lower fee. Bait, concessions, and restrooms are available.

The pier and park are open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily.

The Vilano Fishing Pier, found in the small community of Vilano Beach (see above), is a short three-mile drive east of St. Augustine. Fishing from this pier, which extends into the intercoastal waterway rather than the Atlantic Ocean, is free and the pier never closes.

Surf fishing may only whet your appetite to try your hand at something a little more challenging. For those who yearn to try a little Florida deep sea fishing, dolphin, marlin, and kingfish are just a few of the many varieties awaiting you offshore.

If you plan to arrive by boat, or trailer in your own boat - Where can you gas up, tie up, and get supplies?


Marinas

St. Augustine Municipal Marina is city-owned and open 24 hours a day. 85 slips can accommodate boats up to 180 feet in length. You can buy fuel, oil, and ice when you gas up; if you're staying for awhile, other amenities include restrooms and showers, laundromat, electric hookups, and help with docking.

For more information or to make a reservation, call (904)825-1026 or visit the marina's website.

Camachee Cove Marina has just about everything - a full service marina; 250 slips than can handle boats up to 125 feet; boat rentals and St Augustine fishing charters; marine repairs and towing; supplies and ship store. Moor your boat for a short time or permanently. Enjoy dining at nearby restaurants. Located on the intercoastal waterway, about a mile from the Atlantic Ocean at the St. Augustine inlet.

Reservations are recommended; call (904)829-5676, or visit Camachee Cove Marina's website.

The Conch House Resort features a 194-slip marina, with daily, weekly, or monthly rentals. A variety of electric hookups is offered, along with laundry and shower facilities, ship's store, and even the use of the resort's swimming pool. Be sure to check out the Carribbean atmosphere and flavors at the resort's restaurant and lounge.

To book a slip call (800)940-6256, or visit the resort's website for more information.

We've given you a few ideas about where to go to catch the fish. Next, let's talk a little about some of the varieties you'll catch in the waters in the St. Augustine area.



St Augustine fishing: The fish

What fish are people landing when fishing in St Augustine? Florida saltwater fishing common catches are amberjack, cobia, dolphin, grouper, king mackeral, red fish (or red drum), red snapper, sea trout, sharks, tarpon, wahoo, and more!

Photo credit: Ol' Florida Boy | CC License
Dolphin
Nice dolphin catch

Grouper fishing - these fish are most readily caught bottom fishing.


Dolphin fishing - St Augustine fishing means catching these fish. They make runs in the summer, and again in late fall/early winter. Very nice fish, and are beautiful as they make big airborne jumps during their fight to get away with the bait.


Shark fishing - Florida waters are well known for the shark population, for good reason. What a sight as spinner sharks shoot straight up out of the water during the fight!


Pompano fishing - Surf fishing for pompano is a popular beach activity. You're allowed up to three poles baited and in the water, which gives you a good shot at landing a nice catch.




Something very cool about St Augustine fishing is that in some areas, you can catch both saltwater fish, and freshwater fish. How's that possible? For those of you that normally are landlocked far from an ocean... where freshwater flows into the ocean, this creates a mix of saline and fresh waters. This mix is called an estuary. Some ocean fish live in these waters until they're large enough to venture out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Several rivers flow near St Augustine; the St Johns River, an unusual river that flows south to north; the Tolomato and Guana Rivers that flow the typical north-to-south route to eventually meet with the ocean.

Which means there are plenty of estuarian fishing opportunities; a canoe or kayak is often used to get to these hidden fishing treasures. Some estuary fish you can find are: spotted seatrout, redfish, black drum and flounder.

St Augustine fishing has your usual Florida freshwater fish; light tackle fishing on the lakes, streams, and rivers will reward you with Florida's famous largemouth bass. Other freshwater fish are catfish and bluegill.


More St Augustine fishing at Florida parks

Local parks

While most of the great St Augustine fishing in the area is found on rivers and in the Atlantic Ocean, one city park is noteworthy for anglers because of the fishing pier and boat ramp giving access at Salt Run. Besides a scenic view of the historic St. Augustine lighthouse, Lighthouse Park has playground equipment, picnic tables, and restrooms.



Photo credit: Florida State ParksSt. Augustine Lighthouse seen from Anastasia
The St. Augustine lighthouse as seen from Anastasia State Park


County parks

Earlier, we talked about the beautiful beaches, perfect for surf fishing, found at several St Johns County parks - South Ponte Vedra Park, Butler Park East, and Crescent Beach Park - but there's a couple more county parks you might want to check out...

Frank Butler Park West has a boat ramp and hand launch for kayaks; other features are parking, grills, picnic tables, and public restrooms.

On the north side of town, North Beach Park provides beach access for surf fishing, play ground, picnic tables and barbeque grills, restrooms and parking.


St Augustine fishing: nearby state parks

Anastasia State Park, a popular 1,600-acre park with over 4 miles of sparkling white beach, is a short drive east of downtown St. Augustine. Park activities and features include:

  • Fishing area on Salt Run, a tidal salt marsh
  • Fish cleaning station and handy fish identification information provided in the fishing area
  • 139 full-facility tent and RV campsites, each with electric and water, free dump station, picnic table and fire ring


Photo credit: Florida State ParksAnastasia Island tidal salt marsh fishing
St Augustine fishing includes Anastasia Island State Park


  • Canoe and kayak rentals from Anastasia Watersports, call (904)460-9111 for details
  • Showers and restrooms for day use
  • Swimming at designated area (lifeguard on duty from Memorial Day through Labor Day)
  • Hiking, wildlife viewing and nature trail
  • Concession and restaurant

Download a free PDF park brochure to learn more about Anastasia State Park.



Faver-Dykes State Park


Photo credit: Florida State Parks
Fishing dock at Faver-Dykes State Park
The fishing dock at Faver-Dykes State Park

Just a short drive south of St. Augustine, the popular Pellicer Creek winds its way along Faver-Dykes State Park's southern side.

Pellicer Creek is another fresh and salt water mix; the fishing dock is the place to try for saltwater species while freshwater varieties like largemouth bass can be caught further upstream.

Other park amenities include full facility camping with water, electric, restrooms and showers; a boat ramp for canoes, kayaks, and small boats to access Pellicer Creek; canoe rentals; playground, picnicking, and ADA restrooms.




Photo credit: Florida State Parks
Canoe paddling at Faver-Dykes State Park
Paddling a canoe down Pellicer Creek

Once a Florida state park, Guana Lake is now part of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve, a large conservation project that encompasses over 73,000 acres of land south of Jacksonville (Faver-Dykes State Park lies within the Reserve). St. Augustine sits in the middle of the preserve, separating it intonorth and south regions, so it's just a short drive north up A1A to get to the main entrance of the lake.

You might hear references to Lake Ponte Vedra, which might be a little confusing because Guana Lake is just another name for the same body of water offically known as Lake Ponte Vedra...but no matter what name you call it, fishing the lake rewards you with seatrout, redfish, and flounder, among others.

While the preserve's main focus is on conservation and wildlife habitat preservation, there's still plenty of great fishing to be found at Guana Lake. A popular fishing spot is at Guana Dam, which is open from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

There are a couple of boat ramps at the dam; one puts ito the lake, the other into the Guana River. If you want to bring a boat, keep in mind the maximum ten horsepower engine size allowed at Guana Lake. The river may be too low to get to the boat ramp at low tide so be sure to plan your time on the river accordingly.

Beach access is available from several locations within the preserve along A1A. There's a small daily use fee; the beach is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset.







Other Northeast Florida fishing vacations

Some folks really like to get off the beaten path, and explore relatively undeveloped wilderness. Others simply appreciate the slower pace of the small-town atmosphere. If you're nodding your head in agreement, try the fishing at a lovely little town on the west bank of the St Johns, Green Cove Springs, Florida. Located on Hwy 17, south of Jacksonville, and northwest of St Augustine, the pace is more relaxed and it's a nice day trip from either of the bigger cities.


   
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