The vast freshwater fishing opportunities anglers find on Florida’s Space Coast make picking a starting point difficult. Lakes such as Fox, Poinsett, Winder, Hellen Blazes, Sawgrass and Washington are just a few that stand out when locals talk of catching bragging-size Bass, Bluegill, Speckled Perch, Catfish, Shellcrackers or any number of others.
The St. Johns River, which begins its northward journey at the Southern reaches of Brevard County, has long been famous for its potential for trophy-sized Bass. The river winds through the pristine wilderness that borders the west end of the county. The fishing along the banks of the river can be outstanding, with Largemouths feeding year round. The best fishing is at low-water periods, generally during the dry season, November through May.
The river also provides excellent catches of hard-fighting American Shad (two to six pounds) that can be caught on a fly rod or light tackle. These fish enter the river near Jacksonville, about 150 miles North, where the St Johns empties into the Atlantic Ocean. They travel upstream to the northern parts of the Space Coast to spawn. Shad fishing is traditionally a winter sport, with most being released to complete their spawn; but some anglers will keep a few for their tasty roe.
In the Southwest corner of the Space Coast, specifically the Palm Bay area, you will find world-class bass fishing at Stick marsh and Farm 13. These man-made lakes have created the ideal ecosystem for Largemouth Bass to thrive. You do have to catch and release, but this gives you even more opportunity to reel in more bass than you can handle.
Those who wish to do some fly fishing will be amazed by the size and numbers of Bluegill and Bream. These fish actively take flies, especially during summer months while on the beds spawning. It’s not unusual to catch Bluegill over two pounds. Without a doubt, the impoundment and surrounding canals yield the most consistent catches of Speckled Perch in the state of Florida!
Fishing the sweet waters of the Space Coast is a peaceful, yet at times most exciting, way to spend the day.