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. 

6 Must Make Pumpkin Fish Recipes for Fall

Pumpkin is the rage right now. Pumpkin everything is on grocery store shelves, in coffee and even corn chips! Why not combine your love of fishing with all things pumpkin? Pumpkin is a delicious squash that adds a lot of nutrition to your plate. If you’re ready, we have the six must make pumpkin fish recipes to turn your catches into fall season entrée masterpieces.

pumpkin fish recipes
We have the six must make pumpkin fish recipes to turn your catches into fall season entrée masterpieces.

Baked Fish With Pumpkin Curry Sauce

This is the time of year to reel in some large mouth bass in the St. Johns River. We have the fall bass fishing tips guide you need to prove it. Once you bring home that bass, ignite your taste buds with this baked fish with pumpkin curry sauce recipe courtesy of Budget Girl.

This recipe can also include a ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice if you want to kick the pumpkin in your recipe up a notch. The main course pairs nicely with some brussel sprouts as a vegetable and some pumpkin pie for dessert.

Pumpkin Risotto with Salmon

Add a pumpkin risotto recipe with any great fish dish to make a more fall festive dinner. Yummly’s Pumpkin Risotto with Fish and Cherry Tomato recipe creates a hearty meal with a Parmesan cheese mix twist. Serve immediately with fish, cherry tomatoes and a lemon wedge.

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Book a stay at Castaways on the River to catch some fillets for pumpkin fish recipes.

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry

Looking for a pumpkin seafood recipe with some Southern charm? The Food Network’s Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry recipe satisfies your cravings. The recipe calls for shrimp and salmon fillets. This dish pairs nicely with a nice fresh loaf of French bread to sop up the flavorful curry at the bottom of your bowl.

Apple-Stuffed Baked Fish

Add some fall apples to your fish recipe! The Cooper Cookin’ Apple-Stuffed Baked Fish Recipe, courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Everyday Cookbook Almanac, creates an apple-based stuffing that pairs well with a number of fish fillets.

Pumpkin Seed Fish Sticks

How about a fall take on the tried and true fish sticks? Yummly’s Pumpkin Seed Fish Sticks recipe allows you to toss in some pumpkin seeds along with your breading mixture to create a nice crunchy, fall fish stick.

pumpkin fish recipes soup
Fish fillets and seafood pair nicely in pumpkin-based stew and soups.

Pumpkin and Fish Stew

Seeking to enjoy some of your fresh fish on a cool day? Keep warm and enjoy fall with A Day in the Life on the Farm’s Pumpkin and Fish Stew Recipe. Fish fillets pair nicely in the pumpkin-based stew with tomatoes and chicken stock.

Book Your Fall Fishing Visit

Your fall fish recipes are in place and will excite and wow your friends and family. Now you need to book a stay at Castaways on the River to do some fishing and catch some fillets for those pumpkin fish recipes. The marina can handle all of your boat rental needs. We offer cozy cottages and motel rooms so you can enjoy fall on the St. Johns River while you go fishing. Call Castaways on the River today at (352) 759-3442 to book your boat rental and fishing adventure today.

St. Johns River Fun Facts

It’s BIG

The St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida at a whopping 310 miles long.  It flows through 12 counties, moving from northeast Florida to the Atlantic Ocean.  At its largest point, the St. John’s River is almost 3 miles wide.


It is also separated into three river basins and two watersheds.  The Upper Basin of the St. Johns engulfs approximately 2,000 square miles, and the largest basin is the Lower Basin covering 2,600 square miles. Thanks to its massive size, the river transports about 16,000,000 tons of freight through the ports in Jacksonville, Fla. per year.

It Flows North

The vast majority of rivers in the world flow from north to south.  This is usually due to the river’s source, mostly mountains, is to the north of the mouth causing the water to flow downward.  However, it is said that fewer than 30 rivers in the United States are the exception to the rule and flow northward, including the St. John’s River.


The reasoning behind the unusual flow is the slight slope in the river itself.  Beginning in the Saint John’s Marsh, the rivers course slowly lowers about 30 feet to the mouth meeting the Atlantic Ocean.  This extremely gentle slope causes a very lazy river; it’s actually one of the slowest in the world.

It’s VERY Connected

About 3.5 million people live within the various watersheds that feed into the St. Johns River.  It’s the main water body in the St. Johns River Water Management District that covers about 21 percent of Florida or about 7.8 million acres.


It has a Salty Side

The St. Johns River begins as a network of marshes, consolidating into a blackwater stream.  This means that due to its groundwater and marsh beginnings, the River is predominately fresh water.



It’s not until the River hits the Jacksonville area that the water becomes brackish.  This is due to the sides pushing seawater into the mouth of the St. Johns River, creating a estuarine ecosystem in the area.  This means animals usually seen out to sea such as dolphins and sharks are sometimes found thriving here.

It has…monkeys?

Where the St. Johns River meets the Wekiva River, troops of Rhesus Monkeys can be found monkeying around.  Known for their adept swimming abilities, the origins of the Rhesus Monkeys transports remain unknown. However, several theories exist. Many believe they were brought in during the 1930’s filming of Tarzan. Whatever the case, they have adapted well to their new Florida home off the St.Johns River.


It’s Fun

There is never a shortage of fun in the sun on the St. Johns River, known as the most significant recreational river in Florida, and for good reason.


Known as the Bass Fishing Capital of the World, the St. Johns River is rich in fisheries including ample crappie, bluegills, catfish and other varieties freshwater fish. During the spring and summer months, visitors can enjoy clear waters for swimming, boating, and scuba diving along the river’s connected watersheds.WWW.CASTAWAYSONTHERIVER.COM (7)

Ashore, the St. Johns River Water Management District maintains approximately 700,000 acres of land for hiking, camping, hunting, biking and equestrian riding.

Blue Springs State Park

The St. Johns River is also linked to 14 lakes and numerous Florida Springs including Blue Spring State Park, a protected Manatee Refuge. During the winter season, hundreds of manatees inhabit the surface of the spring for onlookers to enjoy.



Boat Rentals on the St. Johns River

At Castaways on the River, we offer boat rentals at our Lake County location in Astor, FL. Looking to stay awhile? Rent a cool cottage or a motel room today at Castaways on the River, which is right on the St. Johns River.

Share your Favorite Spot

Do you have any favorite spots along the river? Leave a comment, below.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget to tag us! We’d love to hear from you.

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St. Johns River Bass Fishing: What You Need to Know

There is a reason the beautiful St. Johns River in North Central Florida has a nickname among anglers who call it a “bass fishing paradise.” The river and its many lakes and tributaries are home to thousands and thousands of fish. Study up on what you need to know to catch bass in and around the St. Johns River.

st johns river bass fishing
The St. Johns River is a bass fishing paradise that you need to witness firsthand.

Take Your Time

The biggest piece of advice that many anglers have when bass fishing along the St. Johns River is to be patient.

“You have to be patient,” says Capt. Steve Niemoeller, a North Central Florida fishing charter captain that handles fishing charters from Castaways on the River.

Most people won’t sit in the same spot for 15 minutes but Niemoeller says patience pays off because bass will likely start biting if you stay put.

Use Shiners

Wild shiners and artificial lures like SteelShad lures get the attention of bass. Bass like anything that is shiny so do not be afraid to try some shiny lures on your line to get their attention.

Look for Bass in the Grass

Bass love to stay warm and hide in sea grasses, weeds and rocks. Vegetation produces oxygen and is a great spot for small fish that bass eat too. Make sure you look for bass in the grass and other hiding spots.

st johns river bass fishing
Rent a boat to do some St. Johns River bass fishing using your new tips.

Utilize Lake George

Lake George, Florida’s second-largest lake after Lake Okeechobee, is a great largemouth bass fishing spot anglers should utilize. Bass congregate here because Lake George acts as the mouth for many smaller feeder streams. Search for bass near lily pads in the spring and drop your line in deep holes to lure them out of their hiding spots.

De Leon Springs State Park Attracts Bass

The 603-acre De Leon Springs State Park attracts a large amount of bass and pan fish. The park has a boat launch and picnic pavilions. A  Florida freshwater fishing license is required for anglers 16 years of age and older.

Crescent Lake Attracts Spawn-Ready Females

Females ready to lay their eggs use Crescent Lake because they like the seclusion of the eel beds for privacy. This makes Crescent Lake a great spot to find bass, particularly in the spring when the water temperature reaches 65 to 70 degrees.

fishing at sunset
Lake George is a great largemouth bass fishing spot anglers should utilize.

Book Your St. Johns River Bass Fishing Trip

There are so many great spots in Astor, Florida to go bass fishing that you need to plan a St. Johns River bass fishing trip. Book your stay at Castaways on the River to spend some time in North Central Florida. Castaways on the River offers comfortable cottages and motel rooms right along the St. Johns River. Guests of Castaways on the River receive a 10% discount on fishing charters with Captain Steve Niemoeller, which can be booked directly through Castaways on the River.

Rent a Boat

No boat of your own? Rent a boat to enjoy the natural beauty of the river and do some St. Johns River bass fishing using your new tips. The marina at Castaways on the River can accommodate all of your boat rental and fishing trip needs. Call Castaways on the River today at (352) 759-3442 to book your boat rental, fishing charter and lodging accommodations today!


Fall Bass Fishing on the St. Johns River: 7 Tips for Success

Did you know that depending on the season, there are different tips and tricks to catch bass effectively? While autumn in Florida may be a bit warmer than most regions of the United States, here are 7 fall bass fishing tips for reeling in largemouth bass. Follow these fall bass fishing tips on the St. Johns River for a big-time catch in the Sunshine State.

fall bass fishing image
We have the 7 fall bass fishing tips for reeling in largemouth bass on the St. Johns River.

Look for Bait to Reel in the Bass

Look hard for smaller fish that bass are still feeding on in the St. Johns River, and that’s where you will find places to cast your line. As bass prepare for the winter and spawn, they are hungrier than ever and seek food sources wherever they can find them during this time of year.

Bass Hide in Shallow Beds

If you can’t see bass in the water, they are likely hiding in shallow shell beds and ledges in the fall. Target 3- to 6-foot range areas with your depth finder, and focus on casting your line close to river inlets where there are more hiding spots for bass.

fall bass fishing tips
Rent a boat and book a stay at a comfortable cottage or motel room at Castaways on the River. while you enjoy some fall bass fishing.

Find Baitfish in Grass Weeds and Rocks

Grass weeds are a hiding spot for bass in the fall. The weeds produce both oxygen and are also a hiding spot for baitfish, which are a great source of food for bass.

When the temperature drops, search for bass in rocky areas too. Rocks hold heat, and bass will cozy up to the rocks to stay warm and regulate their temperature as the water turns colder.

Casting is Key to Lure Bass from Hiding

Always remember to cast your line and lure beyond your underwater target area. The line will be at its deepest as you reel it in intermittently across the target area where you hope to lure bass from their hiding spots.

Anchor Away from Your Fall Bass Fishing Spot

To attract bass from their deep water hiding spots this time of year, it’s best to anchor your boat further away from your target fishing area. Make long casts toward the area, and reel your line in with a variety of fast and slow motions so the bass become intrigued by your line and not the shadow of your boat.

fall bass fishing tips
Rent a boat at Castaways on the River while you enjoy some fall bass fishing.

Lure Colors Matter

Make sure you use lures that match the color of the baitfish in the St. Johns River area where you are fishing for bass. If it’s hard to see the color of the baitfish, white or chrome colored lures will work. If the water is muddy or not clear, try gold, orange or red lures.

Make Reservations and Rent a Boat

You have all the fall bass fishing tips you need for a trip to the St. Johns River. Now it’s time to rent a boat and book a stay at a comfortable cottage or motel room at Castaways on the River. We have a fleet of rental boats ready for your fall bass fishing adventure. If these seven fall bass fishing tips aren’t enough to get a jaw dropping bass in your boat, contact Castaways Bass Fishing Capt. Steve Nemeiller at (800) 507-0058 and review his fishing guide information. Call Castaways on the River at (352) 759-3442 to plan your fall fishing trip!

Planning the Perfect Spring Break in Florida

Girl tubing on the river
Spring break isn’t spring break unless you’re near the water.

Are you planning your perfect spring break in Florida but craving something different? Look no further than the St. Johns River. It’s the perfect spot to get away from typical spring breakers infiltrating Florida coastlines. Plus, it has natural amenities that beach towns offer, minus the crowds.

We’ll fill you in on why this Old Florida location should be your next spring break destination.

Spring Break on the Water

Spring break isn’t spring break unless you’re near the water. You’re just mixing it up this year by trading the salt water for fresh water on the St. John’s River. Spend your break boating, kayaking, snorkeling and fishing while enjoying a change of spring break scenery.

Fun fact: The St. Johns River is the longest river in Florida at 310 miles long and is one of only three rivers in the country that flows from south to north.

We Put the Spring in Spring Break

Bird on the river.
You’re likely to spot wildlife you won’t find at the beach.

Why not celebrate spring break by enjoying an area known for its natural springs? Your spring break destination spot puts you near some of Florida’s most beautiful warm water natural springs to help you unwind and relax. Bonus perk? You’re likely to spot wildlife you won’t find at the beach. Plus, you might spot manatees in the crystal clear water.

The Sun Rises and Sets Here Too

Sunset on the river
Watching the sun pop up and down over the St. John’s River will rival any sunrise or sunset you’ve seen at the beach.

Who says you have to have your toes in the sand to watch the sun rise and set on spring break week? Mix it up this year. We would a hedge a bet that watching the sun pop up and down over the St. Johns River will rival any sunrise or sunset you’ve seen at the beach.

We offer cabins with access to all of the above, including boat and Jet ski rentals! Pick up the phone and call Castaways on the River at (352) 759-3422 to plan your perfect spring break on the river.

The Best Bass Fishing on Lake George

The St. Johns River is known for it’s size, lakes and great bass fishing. Also known as the River of Lakes and the Bass Fishing Capital of the World, the St. Johns River offers anglers endless access to many bass fishing spots including Lake George.


According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), Lake George maintains an excellent habitat for bass, rich in aquatic vegetation, primarily eelgrass. Whether you are an experienced bass angler or just a beginner, Lake George is a great place to start!

Spots for Bass Fishing on Lake George

Some of Florida’s best bass fishing can be found on Lake George, especially along the shoreline where it is rich in vegetation.


Exceptional areas for bass fishing include western shorelines at Juniper, Salt and Silver Glen springs, which are accessible by Lake George. In the winter, you might also find bass in schools to the south end of Lake George through early spring.

Tips for Bass Fishing on Lake George

Other fishing tips include surface feeding, which is known to attract large schools of striped bass and sunshine bass.  The FWC also recommends casting deep-diving crankbaits near old dock structures along the northeast shore and off Drayton Island.

St. Johns River Boat Access

Conveniently located just a few miles from Castaways on the River, visitors can easily access Lake George by boat or jet ski in one of our rentals. We also offer waterfront accommodatons along the St. Johns River, perfect for the weekend or your next extended bass fishing adventure.


Guests can book a boat rental before they stay or  bring their boat and dock it onsite. For direct access to Lake George, there is a public boat ramp on the south end of Lake George on Blue Creek Lodge Road, located north of Highway 40.

Learn More About Bass Fishing

For more information about bass fishing along Lake George and other areas of the St. Johns River, visit us online or contact us at (352) 759-3422. For daily updates about fishing and boating along the St. Johns River, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.