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.

Cooking the Fresh Catch of the Day

A day of fishing out on the St. John’s River could net a great dinner to be prepared back on dry land for a few or many. Fishing is a favorite pastime in the area and many travel here year round to cast their lines.

So the question becomes what’s for dinner? Or better yet, how are we cooking dinner? Here in these parts of the Deep South, a favorite way to cook a fresh catch is too deep fry it, of course coated in a great batter.

Beer batter is always one of the best so let’s hash out a quick beer batter mix you can prepare easily.

Beer Batter Receipe:

Mix 1-cup of all-purpose flour

1 egg

A touch of garlic powder

A little bit of black pepper

1-cup of beer; add more beer if the batter is too thick

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl; dip your fish and deep fry until golden brown

Now for the big question, what beer should you use in the batter? Here are some fun fish-themed recommendations, and yes, all are available here in Florida.

Largemouth Bass

A summer favorite, you caught some trophy largemouth bass.  For this pinnacle catch we recommend a lager, Ballast Point Longfin.  A lighter beer, this will complement nicely with the flakiness of the bass.


You caught a mess of perch to make a nice meal.  Congrats!  Some may be turned off by the black dots on the flesh but a good strong beer batter will cover that right up and make for a delicious meal.  Feel free to play around with this one and add in some cayenne pepper to the batter for an extra kick.  For an even stronger batter we recommend pouring in some beer named after a saltwater variety catch, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA.  If you love hoppy beers this is for you. Enjoy the rest of your 6 pack with your meal; you’ll be glad you did.

Bluegill or Bream

Another small catch that makes a great fry, bream calls for a lighter batter.  Make yours with Florida’s own Stump Knocker American Pale Ale from Swamp Head Brewery. Its moderate flavor will be an easy compliment to the crunch of your fish.

Channel catfish

Hooked a huge channel catfish?  Then you must stir in some Alligator Pale Ale from the Alligator Brewing Company.  Light and drinkable, it would go well for a lightly seasoned fish on a muggy summer night.

Striped bass

Make sure you add some Cajun seasoning to that striped bass batter before you deep fry this delicious fish.  Try it with New Crustacean Barleywineish Imperial IPA Sorta, the lightness will balance with the spices in the batter.

Grass Shrimp

Grass shrimp the catch of the day?  Deep fry those little critters with some Sweet Water Brewing Company’s Spinnerbait.  The caramel flavors will blend seamlessly with the crunch and light texture of the shrimp.

The cottages at Castaways on the River include fully furnished kitchens ready to bring your feast from the river to the table. Or cook outside on one of the grills in the pavilion to enjoy the beautiful landscape. And don’t forget we offer a variety of rental boats to get to your favorite fishing spot. Learn more about us in our blog and keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter.

National Fishing & Boating Week on the St. Johns River

The weekend of June 13th and 14th are the last days of National Fishing and Boating Week 2015.  We’re always happy to celebrate a week that spotlights our two favorite things – boating & fishing! Especially since fishing season never ends here in Florida, especially on the river! Call us and book your getaway today!

Set off for a great day of boating and fishing from Castaways on the River in Astor, FL.

Fishing is a great way to spend your recreational time.  More than 30 million of us across the United States think so according to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (NSFHWR).  That’s how many people went on at least one fishing trip in the past year.  Freshwater fishing made up 81 percent of those trips just like our favorite spot, the beautiful St. Johns River.

So why are we all fishing obsessed?  It relieves stress! No ringing cell phone, no constant streams of text messaging, it’s your unplug time. It’s well-deserved YOU time!

Fishing is about friendship. For those who love fishing, there is nothing better than spending a long day on the river with friends and family and good conversation. Fishing brings laughter as we try to reel in the one that is just a bit smarter than we are and joy when we finally catch the trophy we’ve been waiting for all day.  There’s also the moment of shared disappointment when the one that got away is the only one we wanted.

Fishing licenses in in Florida help fund the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Anglers are outdoorsmen and women. They love the river and will work to conserve it and the life teeming in these waters.

Keeping with the spirit of the National Fishing and Boating Week, we urge you to pass this love along. Bring out that fishing novice friend for some time in the boat.  Summertime is high season to bring in bass from the St. Johns River! Take a friend out on the river and share the excitement of getting a bruiser channel catfish. Plan a weekend boil and go out for the day to get a bucket full of blue crab. Castaways on the River offers boat rentals right on the St. Johns River for your convenience.

We would love to be part of your long weekend or week-long escape. Give us a call at 352-759-3422 and make National Fishing and Boating Week 2015 one to remember. For more great information follow our blog and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.





The Black Crappie Is a Fish Known By Many Names

Fishing for Black Crappie is popular in Florida all year, but now during the winter months is when this freshwater fish is likely to be most active in parts of North Central Florida. Area lakes and slow moving rivers provide a preferable habitat to feed in schools and of course spawn.

There are two categories of crappie. The White Crappie is not found in Florida. Black Crappie is abundant statewide, except in the Florida Keys.

And while locals and snowbirds are on the water hunting for the same fish, they likely know the species by different names. The most common name Florida folks know this fish by is “Speck” or Speckled Perch. The moniker Black Crappie is used primarily by non-Floridians and others refer to it as Calico Bass.

By either name, Black Crappie or Speckled Perch is highly sought after by fisherman making it one of the state’s top fish. The Black Crappie thrives in this region during the winter in water temperatures between 58-64 degrees.

Prime fishing time for seasoned anglers is near a full moon typically within the first week of a month, or a new moon, usually by mid-month.

Our backyard along the St. John’s River in Astor, FL is a gateway to many nooks and crannies in the region to find this prized catch. The river’s slow moving flow, sprinkled with semi-submerged trees along the shoreline and lush vegetation provide optimal feeding spots for Black Crappie.

Castaways on the River serves as the winter home to guests from around the country, many looking to snag stringers of this great tasting pan fish. Bag limits vary throughout the state so fishing enthusiasts need to check for most current guidelines provide by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Plan to push off from our dock in the shadow of the Astor Bridge for a few hours in one of our rental boats or bring your own. And consider one of our spacious cottages or hotel rooms for a longer stay to maximize your fishing time.

Share a photo of your catch with us on Twitter and Facebook and we will help brag about you snagging the “Big One!”

The Holidays By Land, Water & Back In Time: Astor Has it All

Just because the town of Astor, FL does not have snow on the ground, and none is forecast, the festive holiday spirit is in the air — Florida style! Take a picture and send your family and friends a holiday postcard of the Astor Bridge on a sunny winter day!

So get your boats, floats and other holiday gear and spend some time over on the beautiful St. John’s River enjoying all that the region offers this time of year.

Holiday Time On Land

Start out with Astor’s Annual Holiday Christmas Street Parade sponsored by the Astor Area Chamber of Commerce. The parade loops through the laidback streets of Astor showcasing walking/marching units, floats by area businesses and organizations all in the spirit of fun. The daytime parade, traditionally scheduled for the first Saturday in December, is followed by an arts & craft show.

Boats Glow Floating By

Then, get ready to enjoy the Astor Parade of Boats! This nighttime event features boats decorated in festive themes all aglow as they navigate along the St. John’s River. The boat parade, presented by The Blackwater Inn Yacht Club, is typically planned for the same day as the street parade. Yes, that’s two parades on the same day!

Christmas Past

A step back in time to see Christmas past is a holiday season treat at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement for “A Florida Christmas Remembered” in December. The daylong event features the sights and sounds of Christmas during the days of the state’s pioneers.

The Barberville Pioneer Settlement hosts events throughout the year giving visitors a taste of Florida’s early days – a look at old Florida.

So whether you visit us in Astor, FL for a holiday event in town, on the St. John’s River, or a nearby point of interest, there is always something to do in this neck of the woods. Castaways On The River also makes a great escape from the harsh winter weather for brief stays or longer periods to enjoy boating, fishing or just relaxing away the day.

Lake George: The Perfect Day Trip from Astor, Florida


Lake George
Lake George is Florida’s second largest lake, following Lake Okeechobee.

Load up the boat at Castaways on the River and head a few minutes north along the beautiful St. Johns River to spend the day exploring picturesque Lake George. The area calls to fisherman, sport and recreation boaters alike. Not to mention, the water and shore offer visitors a variety of activities to suit many interests.

Lake George: Did You Know?

Lake George, at approximately 6 miles across and 11 miles around, is noted as one of Florida’s largest lakes, following Lake Okeechobee. The lake is fed from the northern flow of the St. Johns River, along with Juniper Creek, Salt Creek, Silver Glen Springs and Lake Kerr.

The Ocala National Forest provides the western boundary of Lake George while the Lake George Conservation Area lies to the east. By far, the best way to see the lake and enjoy its many unique features is by boat.

Lake George map
Follow the map from Lake George to Castaways on the River.

A Lake Named After a King

This region is steeped with history. In fact, it is a part of the area where the Timucua Indians settled in Florida in the 1500s. In the 1700s after the sale of the Florida Territory to the British, John Bartram, a botanist, explored the St. Johns River and named the lake for King George. In later years, Lake George became a popular destination for northerners to escape the harsh winter temperatures.

Known For Being a Home to Many

Lake George is known for being a sustainable habitat for a wide array of marine animals and wildlife. It’s one of the state’s most popular bass fishing areas. In addition, the shores of Lake George are home to one of the state’s largest concentrations of bald eagles, as well as a host of migratory water birds. A good resource about the area we like to share is Jim Porter’s Guide to Bass Fishing.

A unique aspect of Lake George is its salt content from area feeder springs along the St. Johns River. It’s this mix of fresh and salt water that provides a sustainable habitat for marine life ranging from Atlantic stingray to various species of mullet, striped bass and blue crabs.

In fact, outside of bass fishing, the blue crab population in Lake George supports one of the only freshwater blue crab fisheries. And the nearby town of Palatka hosts an annual Blue Crab Festival.

An Abundance of Activities

Lake George’s abundant shoreline features other activities appealing to explorers. One of these activities is the Lake George Trail in the Ocala National Forest, which gives hikers a view from land.

Another point of interest is the nearby Lake George State Park. The park, lacking shoreline access to Lake George, does have easy access to the St. John’s River. Lake George State Park is a part of The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway, and the Trailwalker Hiking Program. Visitors can explore a network of nature, hiking and horse trails, camp, launch a canoe and fish.

As you can see by now, Lake George offers a day’s worth of fun that can easily stretch into several more days. It’s a good trip to plan with a family or group because there will be more than enough to do. Let Castaways on the River be your home base while enjoying Lake George. We have a fleet of rental boats, along with lodging accommodations to fit your needs at Castaways on the River. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about us and to keep up with the latest happenings at Castaways!


Family Trip Ideas

Boat Ride – St. Johns River

Greenery on St. Johns River

St. Johns River is Florida’s longest river; forming a beautiful path that flows from Indian River County to northeast Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean. A boat cruise of the river offers many opportunities for an affordable family trip, as the river is known for its diverse wildlife and freshwater fishing, especially largemouth basses. The river is a haven for manatees and a variety of birds. Pass through Heritage Corridor, which offers views of Volusia County’s rich cultural heritage and national treasures.

Recreation –  Silver Glen Springs

If you are boating on the St. Johns River, plan to visit Silver Glen Springs, located just a few minutes up the river from Astor, FL. Silver Glen Springs is in the Recreational Area of the Ocala National Forest. The spring has a large semicircular pool that measures 200 feet from north to south, and 175 feet east to west. With such magnitude, the crystal-clear spring basin is popular for snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. Everyone will have plenty of room to splash and play!

Silver Glen Springs - Family Fun

Silver Glen Springs is an important archaeological site with hiking trails where you can explore and learn more about the history and ecology of the area.  The natural setting is surrounded by forests of oak, cedar and pines, providing the perfect scenery for photography and birding. If you happen to visit the Spring in the winter, you may see manatees visiting from the cooler waters of the St. Johns River.

Castaways on the River offers many boats for rent for your next cruise. Consider staying with us as well and wake up to beautiful sunshine in our many cottages and motel rooms that will accommodate almost any party size. We would love for you to come visit and experience the beautiful oasis Astor has to offer.

-Castaways on the River