During the winter months here in central Florida, we experience a run of American shad which travel up the St. Johns River to spawn. The section of the St. Johns River from State Road 46 near Sanford to the 528 Expressway is well known for its shad fishing. This freshwater river winds its way through our area providing not only shad but largemouth bass, speckled perch, bluegill, and a variety of other panfish.
American Shad in this area grow to around 22 inches and several pounds. They are usually targeted using light flyrods or ultralight spinning tackle. They provide an excellent fight when hooked and often jump like small tarpon. Unlike most of our saltwater fly fishing opportunities, shad fishing does not require the long distance quick accurate casts usually required for redfish. This is very similar to conventional trout fishing where the river current carries the fly along. Some days, the fish can been seen feeding aggressively on the surface. Others, it is strictly a blind casting game.
In addition to the fishing, the St. Johns River offers a great chance to get close to some of Florida's wildlife. While fishing on the river, it is common to see alligators sunning themselves on the bank. many species of birds spend the winter in this area including roseate spoonbills, white pelicans, herons, egrets, and ducks. There is always something interesting to see.
December through early march offer the best shad fishing in Central Florida. The run may vary from year to year depending on water levels and temperature.
Anglers must buy there own fishing license when in freshwater. the state does not offer a freshwater charter boat license like they do for saltwater. You can visit this page to purchase your license online.
If you want more information or would like to book a fishing trip, visit my contact page or call me at 321-229-2848
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