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, bream, and catfish can all be taken. The St. Marys River is known for its healthy populations of bluegill and redbreast sunfish. The shallower, vegetated banks are the most productive sunfish habitats in these rivers. Woody snags or downed trees should be targeted as well. Live baits, such as worms and crickets, are great choices for sunfish in these waters. Both the Nassau and the St. Marys River have good populations of largemouth bass as well. Targeting cypress stands and other woody structure with soft plastics or jigs along river shorelines is a great way to fish for bass. Good largemouth fishing can be found in the areas around King’s Ferry, Boulogne and St. George. 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, woody structure, and areas of hard bottom. Deeper holes should not be overlooked as colder weather can drive fish into areas insulated from cooling air temperatures. Check the local tide charts and plan your trip accordingly. Fish tend to be more active during rising and falling tides, as opposed to slack water times. Though the striped bass reports have been poor this past year, interested anglers 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 attract any fish in these areas.
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