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.
During the fall, the fish here are always on the move, covering water to find them is critical. Sportfish are tied to the movements of the baitfish and shrimp up and down the river. Finding these food sources is going to be more important than finding any specific type of habitat. However, in the lower sections of the main river vegetation and good cover is scarce, so finding some submersed or emergent vegetation can pay off big. Doctor’s inlet and the tributaries including the Ortega River, Julington Creek, and Black Creek can offer more productive habitat and consistent fishing success. The middle and lower stretches of the tributaries are going to hold more fish than the upper stretches. Fallen trees or in areas of Spatterdock pads are the most likely places to hold bass and bream. When fishing in the creeks for bass try crayfish imitations or other soft plastics. In more open water try shad imitations like jerk baits, spinner baits, crank baits, and spoons. Baits that imitate shrimp are also always a good bet during the fall shrimp run. Fall on the St. John’s River also offers good fishing for mullet. Anglers can catch these fish many ways, the most popular methods are cast netting, snagging or with small hooks baited with bread balls or home-made dough bait.
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): 178
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 33