Best Bait for Florida Bass Fishing

Explore the art of bass fishing and uncover the best baits that lure these elusive giants from the depths of Florida’s scenic waters. Get ready to enhance your fishing game and embark on an unforgettable journey into the world of bass fishing excellence! 

Bass fish jumping out of the river leaving splashes in the water.
A prized bass leaping out of the river during an evening sunset!

What is the best bait to catch bass in Florida?

When it comes to bass fishing in the Sunshine State, choosing the right bait is key to a successful angling experience. Florida’s diverse waterways offer a variety of habitats and understanding the preferences of bass in different environments is crucial. The St. Johns River is one such ecosystem; the “brackish” water of the St. Johns is a suitable environment for bass. Freshwater bass can tolerate brackish water, which is a mixture of freshwater and saltwater. The top go-to baits for bass enthusiasts in Florida consist of: 

Live Bait: using live bait for bass fishing can be highly effective, especially when targeting larger bass. Common live baits for bass include shiners, minnows and crawfish. 

Classic Plastic Worm: rigged Texas style for heavy cover or a finesse worm for clear waters, these versatile lures consistently attract bass. 

Topwater lures: such as frogs and poppers, shine in Florida’s shallow waters, enticing explosive strikes from hungry bass. 

Swimbait: mimicking the natural movements of prey fish, making it irresistible to bass lurking in deeper areas.

Mastering the art of selecting the best bait will undoubtedly lead to thrilling encounters with Florida’s prized bass population.

Bass fish being caught by bait and lifted out of the river.
A bass being successfully caught by bait during a day fishing on the river!

What is the best time for bass fishing in Florida?

In the bass fishing haven of Florida, pinpointing the best month for angling largely depends on the local climate and the behavior of the bass. Generally, many anglers find that spring is a prime season for bass fishing in the Sunshine State. As the water temperature begins to rise, bass become more active, moving into shallower areas to spawn. This period, typically from March to May, offers excellent opportunities to hook sizable bass. However, Florida’s mild climate means bass can be caught year-round. As for the best time of day, bass are known to be most active during low-light conditions. Early mornings and late evenings are particularly most active, as bass are more likely to venture out of their cover to feed. The cooler temperatures and reduced sunlight make these times ideal for enticing strikes.

What is the secret to bass fishing in Florida?

Flexibility and adaptability. Florida’s bass have a spontaneous presence, so be ready to switch up your game plan. Whether it’s the classic plastic worm or a flashy topwater lure, experimentation is key. Keep an eye on the weather, too—those overcast days might just be your ticket to bass paradise! Florida offers an abundance of excellent spots for bass fishing, catering to both novice and experienced anglers.

Lake Dexter: Lake Dexter in Florida is a popular fishing destination known for its diverse freshwater fish species. Anglers can expect to catch largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish in the lake. The scenic surroundings and abundant wildlife add to the overall fishing experience at Lake Dexter.

An evening sunset caught on Lake Dexter
An lovely evening sunset on Lake Dexter. The ideal fishing destination!

Lake Woodruff: Lake Woodruff in Florida is a popular fishing destination known for its diverse aquatic ecosystem and serene surroundings. Anglers visit the lake to catch a variety of freshwater species, including bass, crappie, and catfish. The lake offers both boat and shore fishing opportunities, providing anglers with different experiences to enjoy their favorite pastime. 

These spots showcase Florida’s diverse bass fishing environments, ensuring anglers can find the perfect setting for their preferred style of bass fishing.

Visit Castaways on the River to Explore further bass fishing opportunities!

Are you licensed to fish in Florida? If not, purchase a license today. Castaways on the River will ensure you locate the best fishing destinations along the St. Johns River. Rent one of our 20-foot pontoon boats and set sail! Call 352.759.3422 or visit our boat rentals page to get started. Tag us on X, Facebook and Instagram with #CastawaysontheRiver to show off your prize in the heart of bass fishing paradise. 

Manatees Along The St. Johns River

Manatees Along The St. Johns River! 

Nestled along the serene waters of the St. Johns River, one of Florida’s most enchanting residents glides gracefully beneath the surface – the beloved manatee! Known for their gentle nature and distinctive appearance, these marine mammals have found a home in the St. Johns River. This creates a unique opportunity for locals and visitors to witness their calming presence. As the slow-moving current winds its way through the landscapes, manatees become a key part of the river’s narrative. Join us in exploring the wonder of manatees along the St. Johns River!

What time of year can you see manatees in Florida?

In the Sunshine State, the enchanting presence of these aquatic mammals can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the best time to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants is during the winter months. Typically, from November to March, they seek the warm waters of Florida’s natural springs to escape the cooler temperatures of the surrounding open water. As cold-blooded animals, this species requires warmer environments to maintain their body temperature. The best time to be with them is early morning 6am to 8.30am when they are most active. During this time, spots such as Castaways on the River become popular hubs for manatee sightings.

Manatee spotted along the St. Johns River
Manatee spotted along the St. Johns River!

How do you spot a manatee?

Spotting a manatee along the St. Johns River is an exciting experience and there are subtle cues that can enhance the likelihood of an encounter. To increase your chances of glimpsing at them, look for circular water ripples or a snout breaking the water’s surface. This reveals their need to breathe. Slow movements and the appearance of a large, grayish back just beneath the water’s surface are also telltale signs of this aquatic mammal’s presence. If you’re eager to embark on a manatee-spotting adventure, consider renting a boat from Castaways on the River. You have the freedom to explore the water at your own pace. This increases your chances of encountering these incredible marine mammals! Be sure to acknowledge the signs and take proactive measures, such as respecting manatee habitats and adhering to boating regulations, is crucial in protecting these gentle giants!

Are there Sightings at Silver Glen Springs?

Silver Glen Springs is a haven for manatees! During the winter months, typically from November to March, these gentle giants seek refuge in the warm and clear waters of the springs. Known for their slow and peaceful demeanor, they find the springs to be an ideal sanctuary. The springs provides them with a comfortable environment to escape cooler temperatures elsewhere. Visitors to Silver Glen Springs often have the delightful opportunity to witness these marine mammals gracefully gliding beneath the surface. They add an extra touch of wonder to the already stunning natural surroundings.

A manatee spotted in the clear Silver Glen Springs water!
A manatee spotted along the clear water at Silver Glen Springs!

Plan your Visit to Spot a Manatee!

Don’t miss out on the winter months, the prime time for spotting these majestic creatures. Visit the map of all the best spots for manatee sightings in Florida! Silver Glen Springs stands out as their cozy retreat during this season. Castaways on the River serves as an ideal spot for endless family adventure and happens to be a hub for manatees as well! If you spot a manatee while enjoying the river, don’t forget to share the magic by tagging Castaways on the River! Use #CastawaysontheRiver on X, Facebook, and Instagram to celebrate these incredible moments with us!

Silver Glen Springs – All Exclusive Insights!

Exclusive Insights to a Day at Silver Glen Springs!

If you’re looking for the perfect spot to cool off and make a splash, Silver Glen Springs located in Astor, FL is an absolute gem waiting for you. And guess what? Castaways on the River is here to guide you through this popular destination!

Beautiful Silver Glen Springs!
Silver Glen Springs is an absolute gem!

What’s the Cost to get in Silver Glen Springs?

At Silver Glen Springs, it is free to enter the springs by boat. The entrance fees vary between $6 to $12 per person for a day pass when seeking to go on land. These rates vary, so it’s a good idea to check ahead of your visit. Seasonal passes are offered if you plan on making frequent visits. Enjoying the crystal-clear waters and beautiful scenery is definitely worth the visit!

Rent a boat from Castaways on the River and set sail north on the serene St. Johns River. It’s a picturesque journey that leads to Lake George, the largest lake on the river. From there, the exploration continues as you navigate to this stunning spot! The whole trip by boat takes just about an hour, giving you plenty of time to soak in the beauty around you. Boat rentals at Castaways on the River are available for as little as $150 for half a day! Experience affordable adventure and make unforgettable memories with our boat rentals at Castaways on the River.

Can you Swim at Silver Glen Springs?

Not only is it an instant cool-down on a hot day, but the water is so clear. It’s refreshing, it’s revitalizing and it’s an absolute blast! Plus, the gentle current makes it a relaxing swim so you can float along and take in the stunning underwater scenery. Trust us, this oasis offers more than a rejuvenating experience—it’s a place where you can effortlessly swim off a pontoon boat, for your refreshing adventure! 

Step into Silver Glen Springs!
Step into the refreshing water at Silver Glen Springs!

Safety at Silver Glen Springs

Rest assured, this refreshing spot is a safe haven for swimmers of all ages. The waters here are generally calm and serene, perfect for both experienced swimmers and little ones. With its gradual depth, it’s a reassuring environment for families to enjoy a worry-free swim. You can also visit further details by visiting The Recreation Area!

What is the Average Water Temperature?

Speaking of comfort, let’s talk about temperature. The springs stay at a comfortable temperature throughout the year at an average 72° F thanks to its natural spring source. Even on the hottest Florida days, this spot remains refreshing and inviting, providing a welcome escape from the heat.

Is Silver Glen Springs Kid Friendly?

A dream come true for kids! The shallow areas and clear visibility make it an ideal playground for children to splash around safely. They will love exploring the underwater world, spotting fish and maybe even a playful manatee or two! Visitors are often delighted by the sightings of manatees. Manatees, often referred to as gentle giants of the sea, are large, slow-moving marine mammals known for their friendly demeanor. These incredible creatures have round, robust bodies with paddle-like flippers and wrinkled, whiskered faces. Manatees are frequently spotted during the cooler months, typically from late fall to early spring, seeking warmth in the constant 72° F water. They’re more likely to appear during the quieter times of the day, especially in the morning. Visit our blog about how to spot manatees in north central Florida to discover further insights on where to see these amazing animals!

Two manatees swimming in Silver Glen Springs!
Children will enjoy spotting Manatees in Silver Glen Springs

Book your Trip to Visit! 

At Castaways on the River, we believe in creating unforgettable experiences! Castaways on the River is your ticket to a dreamy riverside escape! We offer boats for half or full-day rentals, you can snag these rentals any day of the week, with differing rates depending on the day. Be sure to learn more about our boat rental options. We also offer charming cottage rentals, each with its own special amenities, making sure your stay is exactly what you need. We offer pet-friendly spots too! Ready to dive into this riverside wonderland? Check out the different cottages available!

Whether you’re a solo traveler, a family seeking adventure or a group of friends craving some memorable fun, this spot has something for everyone.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the magic of Silver Glen Springs while staying at Castaways on the River! 

Ready to take the plunge? Call 352.759.3422 or visit to book your stay today!

The Best Bait for Freshwater Fishing

With the best bait for freshwater fishing, you'll be catching fish in no time!

Castaways on the River boat rentals can get you to amazing fishing destinations, but it’s what gets the fish biting that counts. With a little bit of insight, you’ll be catching everything from bass to bluegill like a bobcat in a backwater slough. Let’s cut to the chase, there’s no single best bait for freshwater fishing, but an entire reservoir of options to help you reel in that catch of the day.

While several lakes, streams and creek beds throughout Florida are true sources of freshwater, much of the St. Johns River is considered “brackish.” This refers to freshwater sources with increased salinity, often supporting an ecosystem accommodating both fresh and saltwater organisms. Multiple run-off creeks and springs add salt from underground deposits along the river, resulting in its brackish composition. While many saltwater species can thrive in this environment, this post hones in on the many inland freshwater fish, some of which make their home in the brackish waters of the St. Johns River.

Choosing the Best Bait for Freshwater Fish

It sounds simple, but the critters in your own backyard can serve as bait that attracts the most fish. Crickets, grasshoppers and even the standard worms are all options for the aspiring angler. All three are easy to find in bait shops, plus, keeping these insects and nightcrawlers alive before heading out to fish is simple. Some fishermen even raise their own bait, an easy process thanks to the survivability of crickets, grasshoppers and worms.

Anyone aspiring to catch the biggest, most robust fish should entertain using aquatic prey that larger predators are more likely to encounter in their natural, freshwater or brackish environment. Sure, a mishap might cause a grasshopper to land helplessly in the water, but minnows and crayfish are always swimming in the current or resting on the floor of a creekbed. Both represent some of the best bait for freshwater fishing, being present in several aquatic areas throughout Florida. Leeches are another option and can survive significantly longer out of water. Just be careful not to drop any on your open skin; once they latch on, it can be hard to get them off!

Read about the best bait for freshwater fishing!

Finding the Best Bait in Florida

Pairing the perfect bait to each local species is the key to understanding the best bait for freshwater fishing in Florida, plus, the brackish St. Johns River. Most anglers in the eastern U.S. will be familiar with golden shiner, a common live bait favored by multiple predator fish. The Sunshine State also stocks less-used baits, including grass shrimp, as well as more coastal options like clams. Man-made alternatives include dough balls, cornmeal and flour mixed with strong-odored food, and stink baits, a commercially available catfish bait.

Before visiting your local bait and tackle shop, consider researching what will attract your ideal catch or ask an in-store expert. You can’t go wrong with the standard worm, but sometimes, your preferred fish needs its favorite snack. Many fish thrive in both the freshwater and brackish habitats of central Florida. Selecting the right bait can be the difference between reeling in something you can eat versus an unappetizing catch best thrown back to the water. 

Largemouth Bass

Among the biggest varieties of black bass, the best live bait for largemouth bass in Florida is, in fact, a fellow fish. The golden shiner is perhaps the best live bait to use for freshwater fishing, not just for this fish, but other game fish as well. Try hooking the shiner through the lip or its back on the dorsal fin, allowing the critter to move freely while secure enough to catch a hungry largemouth bass.


One of the most iconic meals with a fin, Florida’s robust catfish population isn’t picky about the best bait for freshwater fishing. Their whisker-like appendages are attuned to strong odors, making chicken gizzards and manmade stink baits a surefire success. Freshwater clams and even live shrimp are also on the table to mimic what catfish might see in their natural habitat. With a wide variety of bait options, fishermen can also fall back on the dependable earthworm to snag one of these beauties on the line.

Black Crappie

Live minnows are the key to catching buckets of black crappie as they swim through the brackish waters of the St. Johns River. Another option is grass shrimp, a freshwater shrimp species and one of the best baits for freshwater fishing excursions. Schools of crappie sustain themselves on waterborne insects and small crustaceans, earning grass shrimp a must-have spot on any angler’s list of reliables.


Ranging from bluegill to warmouth, bream is a loose term referring to multiple types of sunfish. These species vary in where they’re found and what bait each prefers, but make no mistake, you’ll catch a bounty of breeds in Florida. Bluegill are the most widespread, nibbling on insect larvae and worms. Occasionally, bluegill are even used as bait themselves! Redbreast sunfish prefer the same bait as bluegill, but are more likely to prefer moving water akin to rivers and streams. Redear sunfish also chow down on worms, in addition to clams and snails. 

Stack Your Freshwater Fishing Chances

From newcomers to veteran game wardens, the best way to catch freshwater fish goes beyond choosing bait. Every visitor to the St. Johns River should prepare for what they might encounter in the slow-moving, brackish current. Wearing the correct apparel, bringing quality tackle and finding the right fishing spot are other obvious steps, but there’s so much more to consider.

A true, master angler is attuned to the time of day and weather, understanding when to pursue certain species. For example, butterfly peacock bass are found during the day, since they don’t forage at night. Likewise, the time of year also indicates the height of the fishing season for some freshwater fish. Summer tends to yield less striper, since these fish actively feed from fall through spring, preferring water 75 degrees Fahrenheit and cooler. Assessing the local climate can make the difference between returning with a few struggling ditch pickles or a bountiful freshwater feast. 

In Astor, Florida, you'll find the best bait for freshwater fishing

Take the Best Bait for Freshwater Fishing on the Best Boating Experience

Are you licensed to fish in Florida? If not, purchase a license today. Castaways on the River will do our part to get you to the best fishing destinations along the St. Johns River. Rent one of our 20-foot pontoon boats and set sail for Lake George or Payne Creek. Call 352.759.3422 or visit our boat rentals page to get started. If you’re confident you’ve found the best bait for freshwater fishing, it’s time to head to the pier! Tag us on X, Facebook and Instagram with #CastawaysontheRiver to show off your prized catch.