Doctors Inlet, St. Johns River, and Black Creek
Both the inlet and the hard sand bottom areas in this stretch of the St. Johns (south of I-295) offer great fishing for largemouth bass and redear sunfish. Schooling bass are present all year and redear are caught spring, summer and fall. If you enjoy wade fishing, this is a great stretch of river.
Nearby Black Creek is deep with vegetated shorelines. It is a good water body for black crappie year-round and all riverine panfish (especially redbreast and bluegill sunfish) during spring, summer and fall. During the summer heat, striped bass may utilize Black Creek if water temperatures are lower than out in the St. Johns.
Local contact: Whitey's Fish Camp 904-269-4198.
This is a great time of year to fish for largemouth bass and panfish in the St. Johns River and its tributaries. Bass tournament bag weights from lower stretches of the river have been good and multiple trophy bass have been reported this year. Bass anglers will want to fish around the confluences of creeks and the river, ledges, and aquatic vegetation. Docks, bridge pilings, and snags are also worth a look. Another favorite area is Julington Creek and its side creeks and canals. This section of the St. Johns River is tidally influenced, so bass tend to move where cover is optimal for feeding. Look for structure that allows fish to rest in the current, while feeding on passing items being carried by the rising or falling tides. Black Creek is another great spot to fish for bass and panfish. Spatterdock and boat docks provide great cover and attract fish to the shallower areas. Effective artificial baits for bass include soft plastics, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. Live baits such as worms and crickets, are very effective for panfish, especially redbreast sunfish. Try using live minnows or grass shrimp in the same habitats for increased chances of black crappie. High rainfall delayed the shrimp run, but shrimpers have reported decent catches of medium-sized shrimp. Target the edge of the river channel with a cast nest. If rainfall amounts are low as predicted, shrimp should be present until late fall and increase in size. Anglers have also reported decent catches of redfish, spotted seatrout, and flounder in the lower St. Johns and its tributaries. Try fishing a jighead with a soft plastic around docks, bridge pilings, or other structure. Live baits such as shrimp, blue crabs, finger mullet, and mud minnows can produce strikes from these fish as well.
TrophyCatch is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger. The following TrophyCatch bass have been submitted from the St. Johns River area, Black Creek, and Doctors Inlet:
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 161
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 32