St. Augustineand St.AugustineInletfromtheInternational SpaceStatuon,
A Boating And Angling Guide To
Castillo deSan Marcos,St. Augustine
About This Guide
This guide includes maps of coastal waters for St. Johns andFlagler counties that depict aquatic grasses, artiﬁcial reefs,parks and preserves, ﬁshing piers, marinas, and boat rampsopen to the public. Also featured is information on habitatsand animals, popular sport ﬁsh, boating safety and protocol,and a resource directory.The
Boating and Angling Guide to Flagler and St. JohnsCounties
was produced by the Florida Fish & WildlifeConservation Commission (FWC). Please address any comments to:
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute100 Eighth Avenue S.E.St. Petersburg, FL 33701http://research.MyFWC.com/boating_guidesboating_guides@MyFWC.com
Maps designed and produced by Chris Anderson, Christy Fagundez, Kathleen O’Keife, and Henry Norris, of FWC’sFish and Wildlife Research Institute. Maia McGuire of Florida Sea Grant provided additional text and reviewedthe guide. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Aidin Sport Fish Restoration provided partial funding for thisguide. The Sport Fish Restoration Program collects money from taxes on ﬁshing equipment and boat fuel and thendistributes those funds to projects that improve ﬁshing andboating opportunities. Additional funding was obtained froma Discover Florida’s Oceans license tag grant through the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. The Florida Fish and WildlifeConservation Commission is not responsible for omissions,misrepresentations, or factual errors. Additional copies of this publication can be obtained from thethe Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. Contact informationcan be found in the Resource Directory of this guide. All photographs courtesy of FWC, unless otherwise speciﬁed.
NOT FOR RESALE
YourPurchase ofFishingEquipmentand MotorboatFuelsSupportsSportFish Restorationand Boating AccessFacilities
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)FWC Law Enforcement Hotline 1-888-404-FWCC (3922)Cell Phones *FWCFWC Law Enforcement (Ocala) 352-732-1225
To report oil spill, marine violations, boating accidents, and marine mammal injuries orstrandings. Information also available on ﬁshing and shellﬁsh harvesting.
Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (St. Petersburg) 727-896-8626
For information about resources and research around Florida
Marine Fish Kill Hotline 1-800-636-0511
To report a ﬁsh kill or red tide event in your area
U.S. Coast GuardSearch and Rescue Station (24 hr. emergency service) VHF channel 16Marine Safety Ofﬁce 905-564-7500National Response Center 1-800-424-8802
To report oil spills and maritime emergencies
Boat U.S. Foundation Hotline 1-800-336-BOAT
For information on boating skills and safety courses offered locally
(336-2628)NOAA Weather Service Broadcast 904-741-4370
Jacksonville 162.555 Mhz/VHF radioPalatka 162.425 Mhz/VHF radioDaytona Beach 162.400 Mhz/VHF radio
State ParksAnastasia State Park 904-461-2033Faver-Dykes State Park 904-794-0997Washington Oaks Garden State Park 386-446-6780Bulow Creek State Park 386-676-4050North Peninsula State Park 386-517-2086Tomoka State Park 386-676-4050Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park 386-517-2084Haw Creek Preserve State Park 386-676-4050
For more information about Florida’s state parks
Aquatic Preserves (Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve, 904-823-4500Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR, Pellicer Creek Aquatic Preserve)
For more information about Florida’s protected coastal waters
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, 904-471-0116Fort Matanzas National Monument
For information about National Monuments in St. Johns County
NOAA FisheriesSoutheast Region Ofﬁce 727-824-5301
For information about marine ﬁsheries in federal waters
Florida Sea GrantSt. Johns and Flagler counties 386-437-7464
For information about dune restoration/replanting, marine summer camps, and the CleanMarina Program.
St. Johns Wildlife Care 904-829-8291HAWKE
For assistance with injured and orphaned wildlife
Flagler and St. Johns Counties are sandwiched betweenthe Atlantic Ocean to the east and the St. Johns Riveror its tributaries to the west. Both counties have well-developed barrier islands which are separated from themainland by lagoons and rivers. is intracoastal regionin both counties contains fringing mangroves (primarily black mangroves that only grow along the shoreline), butthese give way to extensive salt marshes, especially on the western side of the waterway. ese estuarine habitats provide an important refuge for many juvenile and adultsportsh and invertebrates like white shrimp and bluecrabs. is two-county region is home to the GuanaTolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve(NERR), the nation’s 25th NERR, which was designatedin 1999. e name comes from the three main rivers thatdrain the area.St. Johns County’s two inlets are quite dierent fromeach other—the St Augustine Inlet was dredged in 1940,resulting in the subsequent formation of Conch Island tothe south of the inlet. Conch Island is now home to muchof Anastasia State Park. e Matanzas Inlet is one of only a few undredged inlets in the state. It is very shallow, andonly small vessels with experienced captainscan navigate this inlet. Both inlets have shiing sandbars which require boaters to stay alert inthe area. Flagler County has no inlets throughthe barrier island—boaters must travel north toSt. Augustine or south to Ponce de Leon Inlet toget out to the ocean. ere are some areas along the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Johns County which are classied as shellsh harvesting areasand many people travel from nearby counties tocollect hard clams or oysters in these waters.e region has a rich maritime history.Coquina rock formations, which can still beseen as outcroppings along the barrier islandsin southern St. Johns County and northernFlagler County, were used to build many historicbuildings, including the Castillo de San Marcosin St Augustine. e coquina rock actually became stronger when hit by cannon re, as theso limestone rock simply absorbed the energy of the cannonballs, becoming more dense in the process.
Aquatic grasses are ﬂowering underwater plantsfound at shallow depths in the St. Johns River. As anursery environment, aquatic grasses support smallﬁsh, shrimp and crabs that hide among the bladesand feast on decaying leaves. Aquatic grasses also helpstabilize shifting sands on the bottom of the bay andimprove water clarity by trapping ﬁne sediments andparticles.
Oysters are immobile shellﬁsh that ﬁlter water as they feed. Their gray-white shells are irregular in shape.Live oysters and dead oyster shells form in moundsand ridges on the bay ﬂoor, creating bars or reefs.More prevalent near river mouths and in sections of the bay that receive a steady supply of fresh water,oyster bars attract adult sheepshead and red drum,making these structures popular ﬁshing spots.
The coastal waters of St. Johns and Flagler counties are a richmosaic of ﬁsh and wildlife habitats that form life-sustaininglinks in an ecosystem as biologically productive as some of the world’s most celebrated rain forests. From river grassesto coastal marshes, from the St. Johns River to the AtlanticOcean, each interdependent habitat plays a vital role in this“estuarine machine.”Marshes and aquatic grasses contribute signiﬁcantly to adynamic food chain that draws nutrients from the estuary ﬂoor. As aquatic grasses and saltmarsh leaves decay, they provide foodfor small creatures that are ultimately consumed by ﬁsh andlarger predators in an endless circle of life.
Marshes and Mud Flats
Marshes provide food and cover for a vast array of small ﬁshand wildlife. These marshes, which periodically becomesubmerged, nourish and protect many ﬁsh and birds. Marshareas also buffer upland areas from storms and help ﬁlterpollutants from water that runs off the land.Mud ﬂats may be completely exposed at low tide. Althoughthese ﬂats are barren of vegetation, they are teeming with life.Small crabs, clams, and worms, which burrow in the mud,supply a feast for birds wading at low tide.
The Florida manatee’syear-round range istypically restrictedto Florida watersincluding both freshand salt water. In warmer months somemanatees may ventureas far north as New England and as far west as Texas. The Florida manatee has a large, spindle-shapedbody with a round, paddle-shaped tail and relatively short frontﬂippers. As adults, they grow to an average length of 10 feetand 1,200 pounds.Collisions with watercraft are a critical source of manateeinjury and are the single greatest known cause of mortality. Animportant FWC conservation objective is to reduce human-caused annual manatee mortality by minimizing human relatedthreats.
YOU CAN HELP:
• Observe and follow all speed zone signs.• Slow down. Reducing speed allows boaters to avoid
• Use marked channels whenever possible. Channel depth
reduces the likelihood of pinning or crushing manatees.
• Wear polarized glasses. Polarized lenses make it much easier
to see objects beneath the surface and the “swirling” thatoccurs when a manatee dives.
• Designate a person on board to look out for wildlife, other
boaters, swimmers, or obstructions when the vessel isunderway.
• Stow trash and properly discard monoﬁlament ﬁshing line.
Manatees may swallow or become trapped in lines and otherplastic debris.
• Obey state and federal laws that make it illegal to harass,
capture, hunt, or kill a manatee. To report violations,manatee injuries, or deaths, call FWC Law Enforcement at1-888-404-FWCC (404-3922).
Nesting season, which stretches from May to theend of October, brings sea turtles ashore on Atlanticbeaches, where people and predators may pose athreat. Although three species (loggerhead, greenturtle, and the leatherback) commonly nest alongFlorida’s coastline, most nests found on our beachesbelong to loggerheads.
YOU CAN HELP:
• Never approach sea turtles coming ashore or disturb
nesting sea turtles or hatchlings. Do not cast ﬁshingline toward a swimming sea turtle because it couldbecome entangled.
• Preserve nesting beaches by leaving the beach as you
• Beachfront property owners should turn off orredirect exterior lights. Bright lights discourage
nesting sea turtles from coming ashore and may disorient hatchlings. Turtles produce many eggs,but only a few hatchlings survive the difﬁcult journey back to sea.
• Support public and private efforts to protect sea
turtles and their habitats.
Show You Care About theMarine Environment
Residents and visitors alike share the waters of the FirstCoast with a magniﬁcent array of birds and marine animals,
including species that are threatened or endangered. Boaters
should be on the lookout for these creatures and take specialcare to protect them and to preserve their habitats. Always stow trash carefully fordisposal on shore, and makeit a policy to pick up plasticsand other marine debrisencountered while underway.Carelessly discarded trash cantrap and kill birds, ﬁsh, andother marine animals. When fueling boats, be especially careful not to ‘top off’ thetank, allowing gas to spill. Small toxic spills add up quickly.Sewage from holding tanks should be discarded only atapproved pump-out stations and marinas.
The Monoﬁlament Recovery and Recycling Program (MRRP)
is a statewide effort toeducate the public on the problems caused by monoﬁlament line left in the environment, toencourage recycling through a network of line-recycling bins and drop-off locations, and toconduct volunteer monoﬁlament line cleanupevents.Outdoor recycling bins constructed of PVC aremounted at many piers, boat ramps, and marinasthroughout the state. Indoor recycling bins arehosted by tackle shops and department stores.To locate ﬁshing line recycling bins in your area,please visit www.ﬁshinglinerecycling.org.
Stop the Release andSpread of NonnativeSpecies
Many nonnative aquatic species are ﬁnding their way into Florida’s waters. When new animals andplants are introduced into an area, they often cannotsurvive there and die. However, if they can survive inthe new area, they can begin to compete with nativespecies and may end up displacing native plants andanimals. This can result in major changes to theenvironment.If you have unwanted aquarium plants or animals,try to ﬁnd them a new home. Some pet stores may accept them, or they can be turned in at FWCNonnative Pet Amnesty Day events. Unwantedaquarium plants can also be placed in plastic bagsand disposed of into garbage bins.For more information about nonnative species,please visit www.MyFWC.com/nonnatives/ or visithttp://nas.er.usgs.gov/.Plecostomus (top) and brown hoplo( bottom).
Fish images © Diane Rome Peebles