St. Marys and Nassau Rivers
This 125-mile river starts in the acid swamps of Okeefenokee and becomes a tidal river below US 17 north of Jacksonville. Upstream is redbreast sunfish and small largemouth bass territory. The salt marsh zone is famous for striped bass (the same is true for nearby Nassau River).
Both of these coastal rivers give anglers the opportunity to catch a variety of freshwater species. When fishing the Saint Marys River, be sure to keep current on both Florida and Georgia regulations as rules change depending on your location. In the upper reaches of these rivers in areas of greater freshwater concentrations, black bass, panfish, and catfish can all be taken. Panfish should remain active throughout the summer months. The shallower, vegetated banks are the most productive panfish habitats in these rivers. Woody snags or downed trees in deeper holes should be targeted as well. Live baits, such as worms and crickets, are great choices for panfish in these waters. Artificial flies like poppers and rubber spiders as well as small spinners and jigs can be productive. Largemouth Bass fishing should slow down during the hot summer months. In the lower stretches of these rivers, anglers can fish for a variety of saltwater species including drum, sea trout, and flounder. Live bait is an effective way of taking these species, with mud-minnows, shrimp, and crabs being popular choices. Artificial jigs and plugs are two effective ways to target these fish as well. Areas to target include current breaks, ledges, woody structure, and areas of hard bottom. Look for these fish to become more active as water temperatures increase. Anglers looking to tangle with powerful striped bass should concentrate their efforts in the lower stretches of the St. Marys River, between I-95 and the town of St. Marys. Trolling plugs and casting shad-imitating jigs in deeper holes should produce fish. Anglers bouncing jigs under the I-95 bridge pilings have an excellent shot of hooking up with stripers.
TrophyCatch is FWC's citizen-science program that rewards anglers for documenting and releasing trophy bass 8 pounds or larger.
Lunker Club (8 – 9.9 pounds): 1
Trophy Club (10 - 12.9 pounds): 1