Best Inshore Fishing Charters in St. Augustine

Top Inshore Fishing Charters in St. Augustine

Inshore Fishing in St. Augustine

Famous as the oldest city in the US and rich with both history and wildlife, St. Augustine, Florida is a true Mecca for fishermen looking to experience the best that Northeast Florida has to offer in a serene and culturally significant setting. These waters are the perfect playground enabling a variety of different fishing types and techniques, but for many passionate anglers, St. Augustine inshore fishing tops the list!

What to Catch 

Lying on the Intracoastal Waterway, St. Augustine waters are exploding with A-list inshore species. These backwaters, flats, bays, rivers, and salt marshes are home to Redfish, Trout, Flounder, Tarpon, Cobia, Black Drum, Jacks, Snook, a variety of Sharks, Tripletail, King and Spanish Mackerel, Sheepshead, Bluefish, Ladyfish, and the list keeps on impressing. St. Augustine charter boats can take you after the famous Northeast Florida Slam (catching Reds, Flounder, and Trout during the same day) year round. 
Redfish can be abundantly found in backcountry waters and flats, and they average 3–10 pounds. Trout offers some amazing top-water action, and the biggest specimens are caught during their spawning season. Flounder average 2–6 pounds, but catching much larger "doormats" is not uncommon. When it comes to the Silver King, it's possible to catch 10–150 lb specimens just off the coast, outside the inlets, and in backcountry waters. Cobia are usually 15–50 pounds, while Jack Crevalle average 25 pounds. 

Where to Go 

What are the best St. Augustine fishing spots? Most of the species mentioned above can be caught in the inshore bays, shallow flats, creeks, saltwater marshes and rivers, and just off the inlets. St. Augustine boat fishing is certainly the most popular among anglers looking for the most productive experience, but surf and pier fishing can also be fun for beginners. Now let's focus on some of the hottest of spots!

Matanzas, Tolomato, and Guana Rivers

Saint Augustine and Matanzas inlets connect these rich saltwater estuaries to the Atlantic, and their flats, creeks, and marches are known for producing an incredible number and variety of fish. Matanzas, Tolomato, and Guana are tidal rivers influenced by Matanzas and Saint Augustine inlets supplying them with saltwater. Those waters mix with fresh waters from the land, making up a brackish mixture in which multiple species can flourish. 
This fishery is abundant in Trout, Flounder, Redfish, Black Drum, Snook, Sheepshead, and much more. Even Sharks can be caught in these fertile waters filled with shrimp, oysters, and crabs. Oysters are an important part of the ecosystem – the oyster beds provide structure for fish and also filter the water. The best thing about these coastal rivers is that most tourists are not familiar with them, so you'll also have a lack of fishing pressure on your side when exploring them. Guana Tolomato Matanzas Estuarine Research Reserve is an excellent fishing spot located just 8 miles from Vilano Beach and offers a unique opportunity to do saltwater fishing on the south side of the dam and go freshwater fishing on the northern side. 

Salt Run

Another great spot is Salt Run inlet at the northern side of Anastasia Island. These protected waters are especially popular among fly fishermen looking to land a Redfish of a lifetime. You can also have a productive day here fishing for Flounder, Trout, and other species. Anastasia State Park located nearby boasts boat ramps and various other recreational resources. This spot is also known as a go-to location for kayak fishing. 

St. Johns River

If you're looking for some rod-bending freshwater action, the waters of St. Augustine can provide for that as well. St. Johns River attracts numerous freshwater enthusiasts aiming to land Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, and Black Crappie. The upper part of the river offers saltwater opportunities as well – this area contains brackish water brought by the tides, which means all-you-can catch Redfish, Trout, and Flounder. Inshore fishing doesn't get better and more versatile than this!

How to Fish 

  • Sight fishing is a popular technique in the area – whether sight fishing for Redfish on the flats, targeting Black Drum, Sheepshead, and Jacks, or sight fishing for Cobia, Tarpon, and Sharks just off the beach. You can use both flies or artificials, depending on the conditions. Sight fishing for Redfish on Guana Lake can be especially productive. 
  • If you're a fan of fly fishing, these waters will provide for that as well. You can fly fish for schools of Bluefish, Jacks, and Ladyfish during summer or blind cast for Trout. Sight fishing for smaller schools of Trout near the surface can also be very fun. You can sight fish for various other species off the beach during spring/summer, including Cobia, Tarpon, Tripletail, Jacks, and more. Sight fishing for Redfish (especially during the flood tide) and Sharks on the fly is a favorite of many local captains. 
  • Flood tide fishing is an absolute must – don't miss the chance to try this style of fishing unique to the area. When tides go over 5 feet during late spring and early fall, they push the water on the grass flats. The phenomenon occurs around new and full moon cycles and when there's more wind from hurricanes and storms. The tides bring Redfish, Sheepshead, and others to the otherwise dry areas, and it's possible to spot them from more than 100 feet away. You can go after them on foot or by poling, just make sure your casts are precise and 20–50 feet away. 
  • St. Augustine provides some of the best canoe and kayak fishing in the area. These shallow waters are perfect for some relaxing and noise-free fishing using spinning gear and artificials. 

When to Go 

St. Augustine offers incredible inshore fishing year round, with species such as Trout, Flounder, and Redfish available every day of the year. Some of the biggest Trout can be caught during their spawning season in spring and fall, which is also the prime time for catching huge Flounder. Tarpon are available from June–September and prime time for Cobia is from March–June. Sharking action is the hottest during summer, while Black Drum is peaking during colder months. If you're after Jack Crevalle, focus on the spring–fall season. If you want to land huge Jacks, you can find them in schools off the beaches during summer months. 
Whether you're looking to experience flood tide fishing for the first time, land that legendary Northeast Florida Slam, sight fish for a variety of species, or just spend some unforgettable time on the water with your family and friends, the inshore waters of St. Augustine will give you all of that, and even more.

St. Augustine

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Top Targeted Inshore Fishing Species in St. Augustine





Spotted Seatrout

Spotted Seatrout