St. Augustine, Florida is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts, particularly those looking to catch sharks. With its pristine beaches, warm waters, and diverse marine life, it’s no wonder that St. Augustine has become a hotspot for shark fishing. However, shark fishing can be a challenging and potentially dangerous endeavor without the right knowledge and equipment. In this guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to plan a successful and responsible shark fishing trip in St. Augustine, including the best spots to fish, the equipment and bait you will need, regulations and licenses, and expert tips and tricks for catching and releasing these powerful predators. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, this guide will help you make the most of your shark fishing experience!
Best Shark Fishing Spots in St. Augustine Florida
St. Augustine, Florida has several great shark fishing spots. Some of the best spots include:
- Matanzas Inlet: Located just south of St. Augustine, Matanzas Inlet is a popular spot for shark fishing. It’s a wide and open area where sharks like to feed, making it an excellent place to catch a variety of species.
- Vilano Beach Pier: Vilano Beach Pier is a great spot for shark fishing, especially during the summer months. This pier provides access to deep waters, which attract a variety of shark species.
- St. Augustine Beach Pier: This pier is a popular destination for shark fishing enthusiasts. It’s located in the heart of St. Augustine Beach and provides a great view of the ocean, making it an ideal spot for shark fishing.
- Anastasia State Park: Anastasia State Park is a beautiful location that provides plenty of opportunities for shark fishing. The park features a variety of fishing locations, including the beach and tidal pools.
- The Guana River Wildlife Management Area: The Guana River Wildlife Management Area is a popular spot for shark fishing, especially during the cooler months. This area provides access to the river, which is a great place to catch a variety of shark species.
Types of Sharks You Can Catch in St. Augustine Florida
St. Augustine, Florida is a great location to catch a variety of shark species. Here are some of the types of sharks you can catch in St. Augustine:
- Blacktip Shark: The blacktip shark is a common species of shark found in Florida’s warm waters. They are known for their acrobatic jumps out of the water and are a popular catch for shark fishermen.
- Bull Shark: Bull sharks are known for their aggressive behavior and are considered one of the most dangerous species of sharks. They are common in the waters around St. Augustine and are known for their strength and speed.
- Hammerhead Shark: Hammerhead sharks are easily recognizable due to their unique head shape. They are known for their impressive size and strength and are a popular catch for experienced shark fishermen.
- Lemon Shark: Lemon sharks are known for their distinctive yellow coloration and are a common species found in St. Augustine’s waters. They are known for their curious and cautious behavior, making them a challenging catch for fishermen.
- Tiger Shark: Tiger sharks are a large and powerful species of shark that can be found in the waters around St. Augustine. They are known for their distinctive stripes and are considered one of the most dangerous species of shark due to their aggressive nature.
These sharks are attracted to St. Augustine’s warm waters and abundant food sources, making it an ideal location for shark fishing. However, it’s important to remember that many species of sharks are protected, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations before you start fishing.
Best Time of Year for Shark Fishing in St. Augustine Florida
- Spring (March – May): During the spring, the water temperature starts to warm up, and the baitfish begin to return to the area. This attracts a variety of shark species, including blacktip sharks and hammerhead sharks.
- Summer (June – August): The summer is the peak season for shark fishing in St. Augustine. The warm waters attract a variety of shark species, including bull sharks, tiger sharks, and lemon sharks. Additionally, during this time, the sharks are more active and feed more aggressively, making them easier to catch.
- Fall (September – November): During the fall, the water temperature starts to cool down, and the baitfish begin to migrate away from the area. However, there are still plenty of shark species in the area, including blacktip sharks and bull sharks.
- Winter (December – February): The winter months are the least popular time for shark fishing in St. Augustine due to the cooler water temperatures. However, there are still a few species of shark in the area, including blacktip sharks and spinner sharks.
Best Baits and Lures for Shark Fishing in St. Augustine Florida
When it comes to shark fishing in St. Augustine, Florida, using the right bait and lure can make all the difference. Here are some of the best baits and lures for shark fishing in St. Augustine:
- Live or cut bait: Sharks are attracted to the scent of fresh bait, so using live or cut bait such as mullet, bluefish, or bonito can be very effective.
- Chum: Chumming the water with bits of fish can also be effective in attracting sharks to your fishing area.
- Wire leaders: It’s important to use wire leaders when shark fishing to prevent the shark from biting through the line. Make sure the leader is at least 12 inches long and made of a sturdy material such as stainless steel.
- Circle hooks: Circle hooks are recommended for shark fishing, as they are less likely to cause injury to the shark and increase the likelihood of a catch.
- Lures: Some effective shark fishing lures include large jigs and swimbaits, which can mimic the movement of live prey.
By using the right bait and gear, you can increase your chances of a successful shark fishing trip in St. Augustine.
Recommended Gear for Shark Fishing in St. Augustine Florida
Shark fishing in St. Augustine, Florida requires specialized gear to ensure a successful and safe fishing trip. Here are some recommended pieces of gear for shark fishing in St. Augustine:
- Heavy-duty rod and reel: A sturdy rod and reel combo with at least 80-pound test line is recommended for shark fishing. Look for reels with a high line capacity to handle the weight of a large shark.
- Wire leaders: As mentioned earlier, using a wire leader is essential for shark fishing to prevent the shark from biting through the line. Make sure to use at least a 12-inch leader made of stainless steel.
- Circle hooks: Circle hooks are recommended for shark fishing, as they reduce the risk of harming the shark and increase the chances of a successful catch.
- Fighting belt or harness: When reeling in a large shark, a fighting belt or harness can help distribute the weight and reduce fatigue.
- Gaff or landing net: Once you have successfully reeled in a shark, you’ll need a way to bring it aboard. A gaff or landing net can be useful for this.
- Life jacket: Safety should always be a top priority when shark fishing, so wearing a life jacket is highly recommended.
By using the recommended gear for shark fishing in St. Augustine, you can increase your chances of a successful and safe fishing trip.
Best Shark Fishing Charters in St. Augustine Florida
St. Augustine, Florida is home to a number of great shark fishing charters that cater to both experienced and novice anglers. Here are some of the best shark fishing charters in St. Augustine:
- Sea Love Charters: Sea Love Charters offers shark fishing trips that range from four to eight hours long. They provide all the necessary gear, bait, and tackle, as well as a knowledgeable guide to help you catch a variety of shark species.
- First City Fishing Charters: First City Fishing Charters offers a range of fishing charters, including shark fishing trips. Their experienced guides can take you to the best shark fishing spots in St. Augustine and provide you with all the necessary gear and equipment.
- Endless Summer Charters: Endless Summer Charters specializes in shark fishing charters and offers trips ranging from four to eight hours. Their guides are experienced in catching a variety of shark species, including bull sharks, hammerheads, and tiger sharks.
- Ancient City Charters: Ancient City Charters offers half-day and full-day shark fishing trips with experienced guides who know the best spots to find sharks. They provide all the necessary equipment and can accommodate both novice and experienced anglers.
- St. Augustine Fishing Charters: St. Augustine Fishing Charters offers a variety of fishing charters, including shark fishing trips. Their experienced guides can take you to the best shark fishing spots and provide all the required gear and equipment.
By booking a shark fishing charter with one of these top-rated charters in St. Augustine, you can increase your chances of a successful and enjoyable shark fishing experience.
Regulations and Licenses for Shark Fishing in St. Augustine Florida
Before heading out on a shark fishing trip in St. Augustine, Florida, it’s important to be aware of the regulations and licensing requirements. Here are some key regulations and licenses to keep in mind:
- Fishing license: All anglers over the age of 16 are required to have a valid Florida saltwater fishing license. These licenses can be obtained online or at local sporting goods stores.
- Shark fishing permits: In addition to a regular fishing license, a special permit is required for shark fishing in Florida state waters. This permit can be obtained from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and is required for all anglers targeting sharks.
- Protected species: Certain shark species, such as great white, tiger, and hammerhead sharks, are protected and cannot be harvested. It’s important to check the FWC website for a list of protected species and the regulations surrounding them.
- Size and bag limits: There are size and bag limits in place for shark fishing in Florida. It’s important to check the FWC website for the most up-to-date information on these limits, as they can change from year to year.
- Release techniques: When releasing a shark, it’s important to do so in a way that minimizes harm to the animal. The FWC provides guidelines for safe release techniques, such as avoiding dragging the shark on the sand and using de-hooking tools to safely remove the hook.
Where to Stay When Shark Fishing in St. Augustine Florida
St. Augustine, Florida has a variety of accommodation options for anglers planning a shark fishing trip. Here are some of the best places to stay when shark fishing in St. Augustine:
- The Guy Harvey Resort on St. Augustine Beach: This beachfront resort is located just steps from the ocean and offers spacious rooms, ocean views, and an outdoor pool.
- The Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront: This historic hotel is located in the heart of downtown St. Augustine and offers easy access to the city’s attractions, as well as comfortable rooms and a rooftop pool.
- The Courtyard by Marriott St. Augustine Beach: This beachfront hotel offers modern rooms, ocean views, and an outdoor pool. It’s a great option for those who want to be close to the beach and the fishing action.
- The Casa Monica Resort & Spa: This historic hotel is located in downtown St. Augustine and offers luxurious rooms, a full-service spa, and an outdoor pool. It’s a great option for those looking for a high-end stay.
- The St. Francis Inn: This cozy bed and breakfast is located in downtown St. Augustine and offers comfortable rooms, a complimentary breakfast, and a charming atmosphere.
By staying at one of these top-rated accommodations, you can enjoy a comfortable and convenient stay while shark fishing in St. Augustine, Florida.
Expert Tips and Tricks for Successful Shark Fishing in St. Augustine Florida
Shark fishing in St. Augustine, Florida can be an exciting and challenging experience. Here are some expert tips and tricks to help you have a successful shark fishing trip:
- Use the right equipment: When shark fishing, it’s important to use heavy-duty equipment that can handle the size and strength of the fish. This includes a strong rod and reel, heavy line, and sturdy hooks.
- Choose the right bait: Sharks are attracted to a variety of baits, including squid, mullet, and bonito. It’s important to choose the right bait for the species you are targeting.
- Fish at the right time: Sharks are most active during low-light periods, such as dawn and dusk. Fishing during these times can increase your chances of a successful catch.
- Look for the right spots: Sharks are often found near drop-offs, channels, and other underwater structures. Look for areas with a lot of activity, such as baitfish or diving birds, as these can indicate the presence of sharks.
- Practice catch and release: Many shark species are protected and must be released immediately after catching. Practice safe catch and release techniques to ensure the survival of the shark and the health of the ecosystem.
- Be patient: Shark fishing can require a lot of patience and persistence. Be prepared to wait for long periods of time, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch a shark right away.
By following these expert tips and tricks, you can increase your chances of a successful shark fishing trip in St. Augustine, Florida.
St. Augustine, Florida is a great destination for shark fishing enthusiasts. With a variety of shark species to catch and plenty of great fishing spots, there’s no shortage of opportunities for a successful catch. However, it’s important to follow regulations and best practices for sustainable and responsible fishing. By using the right equipment, choosing the right bait, fishing at the right time and in the right spots, and practicing catch and release, you can have an enjoyable and successful shark fishing trip while also protecting the local ecosystem. With the expert tips and tricks provided in this guide, you can plan a shark fishing trip to St. Augustine that is both rewarding and responsible.