Exploring The Saint John’s Waterways
Did you know that Jacksonville is a place for fishing? With the Saint John’s River winding across and through the town, and the coast nearby, saltwater and freshwater vantage point are all around. You find find docks, bridges, and shore spots that are perfect for casting your line and reeling in the next catch.
I’d been meaning to fish since I moved here. My dad and I fish every year on the Saint John’s. We rent a little bass boat for the day and spend an epic eight hours of watching nature unfold, currents ripple past and baiting our hooks with shiners. It’s a tradition I knew I would miss with moving. But I hoped to find some friends and explore these waters at some point.
A Memorial Day Adventure
My friend Mandy was up for the adventure. When Memorial day arrived we had some free time on our hands and decided to cross off a little fishing afternoon from our bucket lists. We both had borrowed rods from friends and family in the past, but now it was time to do it on our own. She used to have a sweet pink tackle box, too. On this Monday though, our mission was to get rods. We hit up Walmart. We skipped the 9.99 rod in favor of a bit meaner looking $20 rod. Yes, I copied her and got the same kind. I grabbed a starter tackle kit and we headed out. She knew of a spot we could try. The place wasn’t much of a drive from the Southside area where I live. We curved down Baymeadows and kept going. She guided me to a little dock near San Jose and Old Saint Augustine Road.
I parked in a giant spot (a $30 ticket would inform me later that it was a boat docking spot), but I was none the wiser at this point. It was a bright and sunny Florida afternoon. We perched at some shaded picnic tables to prep our poles and make sure we had hooks that were ready to go. Next we walked down to the dock, laid down and beach towel and casted those lines.
Welp, I had a little trouble with reeling in my line, because I was used to a left handed pole. I eventually figured it out and Mandy helped untangle my line a few times, so it all worked out. We cracked open some beers, turned on some alternative rock and got settled in for the afternoon. A few people boated by. We saw some extraordinarily fit paddle boarders, some canoers lazing down the river and families taking the boat in for the day. We caught some river junk with our hooks, but didn’t get a single bite. We will have to return – perhaps with live bait.