St. Johns River Shad Fishing Report

The Shad, on a little jig.

This is a St. Johns River shad fishing report, covering the St. Johns River and the Econlockhatchee River.

Choosing Effective Fishing Lures (and baits!) for Florida
When you’re choosing effective fishing lures and baits for Florida, you don’t need a lot of different lures. Sixty years of fishing has taught me lots of different baits aren’t needed.

I prefer lures that only have one hook. It makes it easier to release the fish.

Saltwater Lures
My go to for trout, redfish, snook, and tarpon is a 3 inch plastic shad. I use ones made by DOA (3” CAL Shad) and Riptide (Riptide Sardine) on a 3/0 Owner 5132W-013 hook. If that doesn’t get them I’ll put the shad on a weedless jig head, 1/8th ounce, and bounce it along the bottom.

To read the rest of this piece (and see the photos!), visit


In the afternoon I launched the Band-O-Craft at CS Lee Park and went shad fishing in the St. Johns River, with both spin and fly. It didn’t matter which I used- there were no fish and I did not get a bite.

I went up the Econ a short distance (to the shelter) and caught a few shad. I would characterize the fishing as slow.

Kevin’s Tree Service sent a crew to my house, where they cut down three trees threatening said house. They earned my stamp (or is it stump?) of approval!

Tom Van Horn joined me for some more St. Johns/Econ scouting. We took the Bang-O-Craft up the Econ to the cabin. The water is pretty low and we hit several stumps and the bottom. We got a couple small bass and stumpknockers, and Tom got a single shad on a jig. I would characterize the fishing as slow.

I stayed home and cleaned my yard, and ripped the deck off the Bang-O-Craft. Time for an upgrade.

Launched the Mitzi at CS Lee Park at 8 AM. Joining me was fly fisher Jon Klarenbeek of Victoria. He wanted bass and shad, and while he got both the fish did not make it easy. At the first Econ stop we got two shad. Unfortunately I got both of them. We spent almost an hour there.

We went up the river and Jon started tossing a pop-n-drop, with a Krebs Popper and fry fly dropper. Jon’s first bass was a whopping 5 inch fish. Then he got a couple stumpknockers. All these came on the dropper. Then a bass took the popper. It maybe would hit eight inches. Then we had a long spell with no bites at all.

We went back to the place I got the shad and spent another hour. Jon got three shad this time, and I got none. Fine with me! All this time I’d been thinking about Mullet Lake Park. About 2 PM we pulled the boat and drove over there.

The FWC creel survey man was at the CS Lee boat ramp when we were staging for the road. He said more shad were being caught at Mullet Lake than at CS Lee, although there weren’t a lot of fish at either place. He also said only one sunshine bass was being caught per day, so that’s not a going concern yet.

We fished from the boat ramp at Mullet Lake Park to Lemon Bluff, spending three hours. We each had one bite. I got a shad. Jon hooked and lost his fish. I would characterize the fishing as slow.

This year’s shad run is looking to be pretty poor. The river is low and has very little current, and there just aren’t many fish.

That’s this week’s St. Johns River Shad Fishing Report! Thanks for reading!

Life is great and I love my work!

Life is short- Go Fishing!

John Kumiski

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