Fishing piers and bridges can be found throughout the St. Augustine area, from its beaches, inlets, and Intracoastal waterways on the east to the St. Johns River at the western edge. Proper fishing licenses are required at all of them. Fishing licenses can be purchased online here, or by calling 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA (347-4356).
The best spot for visitors in St. Augustine to enjoy fishing is the St. Johns County Ocean Pier on St. Augustine Beach. NOTE: It isn’t necessary to purchase a separate license when fishing here — the license is included in the fishing fees. Bring your own equipment or rent a pole at the bait and tackle shop. Fishing fees for non-residents are $3.00/adults and $1.50/children. Call (904) 461-0119 for more information. The St. Johns County Ocean Pieris open daily from 6 a.m. through 10 p.m. This is a great area for families because there are restrooms and outdoor showers are available at the Pier. There is also a playground, a splash park, and the Wednesday morning Farmer's Market is here if you happen to visit on a Wednesday.
The Vilano Beach Pier (260 Vilano Road) is located on the Intracoastal Waterway, facing back towards St. Augustine. This is a wonderful place for your non-fishing partner to relax in one of the covered swings along the length of the pier. Sunset views are also great from here if you are an afternoon fisherman. There are several restaurants within walking distance and a Publix grocery about 1000 feet away.
Other fishing piers in the area near The Sand Bucket include Lighthouse Park (442Ocean Vista Avenue) which is a free 300 ft. pier extending into Salt Run. You must have a Florida fishing license. There are restrooms, a picnic area, and a small playground on site.
The Rose of Sharon Pier is located to the right just after you cross over the Bridge of Lions into the historic area. There are no facilities here, but you do get to enjoy the beautiful views of the Bridge, the Castillo de San Marcos, and the waterway traffic as you wait for the "big" one to bite. No fee, but you do need a license.
About a 15 minute drive south of St. Augustine, the Matanzas Inlet Bridge is a popular spot with lots of fish to be found in the fast-moving waters of the Matanzas Inlet. You might also spot dolphin or manatees in this area.
If you’re out on the flats on the Matanzas, Tolomato or Guana River, watch out for the oysters. Their shells are razor-sharp, and can cut right through a flimsy shoe. Try fishing the flats for trout with light tackle or sight fishing for redfish when the fish go right up into the grass.
There’s a variety of fly fishing in St. Augustine as well, including blind casting for trout and casting for schools of jacks or ladyfish. One of the most popular spots for inshore and fly fishing is Salt Run which is ideal for redfish fly fishing.
St. Augustine boasts a large tarpon fishery, especially from June through September. One of the most spectacular fighting fish around, tarpon can be found just outside area inlets and in nearshore waters along the beaches. Live bait is normally used, but in the right conditions some fishermen can catch tarpon on a lure and even on a fly.
Several charter guides in St. Augustine are specialists in fishing the flats and creeks off the Intracoastal. They know the hot spots for trout, redfish, snook, and black drum, and they also know when they’re biting and what to catch them on. Here are just a few of the many excellent fishing services in the local area.
Drum Man Charters - (904) 687-9498 - One of the most well-respected fishing guides in northeast Florida, Captain James Dumas excels at light tackle fishing on the flats. He may also suggest sight fishing or fly fishing, for those who wish to take that challenge! http://drummancharters.com/
Inshore Adventures - (904) 377-3734 - Captain Tommy Derringer is a staff writer for Coastal Angler, a redfish tour professional, and an all-round expert in inshore and nearshore fishing. http://www.inshoreadventures.net.
Another great way to fish the local shallow waterways is from a canoe or kayak. This can be a very peaceful experience as you glide over the water into other nooks and crannies that other boats can't go and a wonderful way to enjoy nature. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent from several outfitters around the city.
Native Floridian and Master Naturalist Bart Swab leads hisAction KayakAdventuresthroughout the Intracoastal waters. All the essentials are included on these tours, which can be tailor-made to suit individual skills or level of adventure desired. (904) 325-0344 http://www.actionkayakadventures.com/
Surf fishing requires different equipment to get the cast out beyond the breakers. All you need is a little knowledge of what bait and rigs to use to catch what's running at that time of year.
A popular spot for knowledgeable surfcasters is around the inlet at Vilano Beach, especially in the area from the jetty on the Atlantic side west to Porpoise Point. (It’s best to avoid fishing from the jetty itself — the footing is dangerous and the rocks can be unstable.)
Surf fishing all along the coast from Ponte Vedra to Matanzas Inlet provides great opportunities to catch drum, whiting, pompano and more right from the beach.
Nearshore and offshore fishing is done in waters between 20 and 100 feet deep 30 miles among reefs and ledges (including shipwrecks!) There's a variety of snapper and grouper species year round, with cobia, amberjack, and black sea bass plentiful depending on the season.
In the spring in deeper waters a little farther out, fishermen will find more trolling action as species like blackfin tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, kingfish and sailfish come through this area when they migrate.
In the summer, game fish like King mackerel and tarpon are plentiful in the Atlantic waters along the northeast Florida coast. A couple of significant billfish and game fish tournaments take place in St. Augustine every year.
For visitors who’d like to experience offshore fishing, a professional guide is really a must. Charter fishing captains provide everything, from the boat itself to all the fishing equipment, including bait, and, most importantly, the expertise. It’s all in the details—what speed to troll at, whether to use live or artificial bait, what weights to use to keep the lure at the desired depth, and much more—and only experience can provide that knowledge.
OFFSHORE FISHING CHARTERS
Sea Love Charters - (904) 824-3328 - Full and half day charters available from the Cat's Paw Marina. They specialize in Gulf Stream trolling and the catch will include anything from cobia, amberjack, billfish, or wahoo. http://www.sealovefishing.com/
Jodie Lynn Sport Fishing - (904) 794-2628 - Robert Johnson has over 30 years of experience in offshore and deep-sea fishing. He and his wife, Jodie Lynn have been offering charters for family fishing as well as several options for groups since 1990. They depart from the Conch House Marina. https://jodielynncharters.com/
Tide tables and solunar charts for St. Augustine Beach: high tides and low tides, surf reports, sun and moon rising and setting times, lunar phase, fish activity and weather conditions in St. Augustine Beach.
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