St. Augustine Fishing Report

By Capt. Adam Morley

Janine & Elon from Genung’s Fish Camp with a creek Red

The cool breath of St. Augustine’s winter has settled over the waters, a harbinger of change for the angler seeking tales in the river’s embrace. As the mercury dips, the fish, wise in their aquatic realm, respond with a dance that speaks of the season.

The colder temperatures, like a maestro wielding a baton, direct the piscatorial orchestra into deeper recesses, where the water guards its warmth with tenacity. In these holes, the fish gather, a congregation seeking refuge from the winter chill. It’s a time for the angler to adapt, to explore the depths where the fish commune in their liquid sanctuary.

Sheepshead, those convicts of the coastal rocks and pilings, embark on their winter pilgrimage. Bottom sweeper jigs or the tried-and-true premade sheepshead rigs become the angler’s tools in this pursuit. The quest is one of finesse, for these finicky inmates demand a skillful hand and a patient heart.

Redfish, bronze barons of the tidal creeks, find solace in the shallows, absorbing the sun’s benevolent rays. Yet, they remain cautious, lingering near the holes that promise safety. Soft plastic paddle tails and curl tails, gracefully presented on a light jig head, become the angler’s invitation to this ballet. For the more passive souls, a Carolina Rig with cut bait or fresh shrimp becomes the siren’s call to these bronze beauties.

And then, the Speckled Sea Trout, with its dotted side, slender silhouette, and predatory fangs, emerges as the protagonist in this winter drama. In the early morning and the waning evening light, the surface becomes a canvas for topwater allure. A live shrimp, suspended beneath a popping cork along a grass line, becomes the offering to entice these creatures of grace.

In the surf’s expanse, the Bluefish swarm, a flurry of energy beneath the winter sky. Meanwhile, the pompano, on their southward migration, paint their silhouettes against the rolling waves. Bull whiting, those surf warriors, bid adieu to the foamy battlegrounds, venturing into the Matanzas River. Fresh shrimp, strategically placed on the edges of the channel, become the call to arms for those seeking these formidable foes.

As the angler navigates the waters of St. Augustine, a river steeped in history and mystery, each cast becomes a stanza in a piscatorial poem. The fish, attuned to the rhythm of the seasons, invite the angler to join their dance. It’s a symphony of jigs and rigs, of patience and precision, unfolding in the cool embrace of the Matanzas. For in the heart of winter, as the river murmurs its ballad, the angler becomes a participant in the ageless tale of the water and its denizens.