Get Hooked On Fishing
Get Hooked On Fishing

Fishing in St. Augustine and Ponte Vedra Beach

You know Florida is the fishing capital of the world. But did you know Florida’s Historic Coast is the king of kingfish?

Florida's Historic Coast boasts 42 miles of white sand beaches and inlets as well as inshore backwaters teeming with fish. And thanks to a favorable, year-round climate, it’s always fishing season here. No wonder anglers from around the world visit our shores to cast their luck and lures into our pristine waters.

Inaugural Florida International Antique Tackle Show, February 25, 2023

Saltwater Fishing

Whether you’re fishing from a beach, a pier, or an offshore boat, there are a variety of places to choose from where you will have easy access to flounder, trout, redfish or game fish like tarpon, kings and sailfish.

Want to catch more than fish? As a saltwater angler, you might be interested in the Catch a Florida Memory program offered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This Saltwater Angler Recognition program was designed to enhance the fishing experience for Florida anglers by providing rewards and recognition for fishing achievements, connecting people with our vast saltwater resources, engaging youth and strengthening marine fisheries conservation ethics.

Freshwater Fishing

With the scenic St. Johns River, its streams and tributaries providing an abundant variety of fish species, Florida’s Historic Coast has become well known for its bass fishing. Yet there’s more than bass out there for the adventurous angler, from bluegill to crappie.

There are a variety of charters and guides who know these waters like the backs of their hands and can point you in the right direction along the shoreline and its numerous nooks and “honey holes” where lunkers might be lurking.

With so many options and locations to fish in St. Johns County, your toughest decision will be where you want to drop your line.

And as a freshwater angler, you have the opportunity to not only indulge in your passion, but also become one of more than 27,000 citizen-scientists helping to collect important information on the bass population in our waters. Through the Trophy Catch program offered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, anglers who catch, document and release largemouth bass weighing more than 8 pounds are rewarded with prizes and pride in knowing they are helping preserve the sport they love.

man holding fish

Surf & Beach Fishing

Summer sunrises are spectacular here and there’s no better way to greet a new day than by casting a line from a quiet beach, like Vilano Beach, while the sun peeks from the sea. Surf fishing is a popular summer pastime for both visitors and residents – not only because of the relaxation it brings, but also for the excitement of hooking a big one just beyond the surf.

The key to success here is to cast your line and bait past the waves rolling toward the beach, into the “trough” in between. In summer, that’s where you might hook speckled sea trout, kingfish, pompano or jack crevalle. Of course, to do that you’ll need the right equipment, bait and license. Lucky for you, local bait and tackle shops can provide everything you need.

Inshore & Offshore Fishing

In summer, inshore fishing in the many creeks and back bays is popular, particularly for anglers pursuing redfish. Ranging in size from 3-10 pounds, local redfish are the lure that attracts many anglers to Florida’s Historic Coast. Flounder, black drum and speckled sea trout are also frequently caught inshore.

From June through September, the seaward mouths of Matanzas and St. Augustine inlets offer the opportunity for one of fishing’s most exciting experiences – battling with a big tarpon! Ranging in size from 10 to more than 150 pounds, their armor-like scales flash in the sunlight when these hard-fighting fish leap high out of the water.

Florida's Historic Coast is host to many fishing tournaments. The largest held each July, offshore and inshore anglers register to compete for large, cash prizes in the Ancient City Gamefish Challenge. This St. Augustine event features parties, entertainment and two days of offshore fishing for kingfish and inshore fishing for redfish.

Charter Fishing Trips

There are a variety of charters and guides who know these waters like the backs of their hands and can point you in the right direction along the shoreline and its numerous nooks and “honey holes” where lunkers might be lurking.

Cruising just off St. Augustine’s beaches, anglers pursue schools of jacks – some weighing as much as 25 pounds – as well as kingfish, sea trout, snapper and the occasional cobia. To get the very best fishing experience, visitors should consider one of the local charters such as Sea Love, Fishardy Charters and Drum Man charters, take anglers as far as 30 miles out into the blue Atlantic. Black sea bass, gag grouper, vermillion snapper, cobia, dolphin (mahi), blackfin tuna and wahoo are likely to be encountered. All-inclusive full and half-day charters are available.

Pier Fishing & More

Local piers offer exceptional fishing. The St. Johns County Ocean Pier is a great spot to fish for flounder, sea trout, sheepshead and black drum. At this pier, a Florida fishing license is a part of the $6 per day fishing admission. Although a license is required, anglers can also try their luck at Lighthouse Park, the Matanzas Inlet Bridge on A1A or travel toward Vilano Beach for the Vilano Beach Pier or May Street Bridge.

For more information on pier, kayak and deep-sea fishing, check out this article!

St. Johns County Fishing Resources

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