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Salt Run: St. Augustine's Premier Flats Destination

The 3.5-mile-long lagoon is a 'first-cast fish' kind of place.

Salt Run: St. Augustine's Premier Flats Destination

Red drum from Salt Run lagoon near St. Augustine.

As I paddled my kayak away from shore, I was trying to decide which fishy-looking shoreline or oyster bar to target first. To the north were docks along the western shore. To the south were numerous oyster bars. And to the east, directly across from where I had rented my kayak at Anastasia Watersports, was a long, mangrove-studded shoreline.

It all looked good. So, I just stopped paddling and fired my soft-plastic jig to a crescent-shaped oyster bar that was about 200 yards from where I started from. Thump. I reeled once more. Thwack. My rod bent. Seatrout on!

fs-saltrun-mapinset
The South end of Salt Run, seen from St. Augustine Lighthouse. (floridashistoriccoast.com image)

Salt Run is definitely a “first cast fish” kind of place. It’s a 3.5-mile-long lagoon, starting just inside the southern bend of the St. Augustine Inlet and eastern side of Davis Shores and extending south past Anastasia State Park, ending at the dunes separating the shallow water from the Atlantic Ocean.

For some local intel, I spoke with Capt. Rob Bennett, a St. Augustine guide. “I fish it almost daily,” Rob told me. “I’m a full-time guide and have fished the area since the late ’90s."

“You can definitely access Salt Run in a bay boat,” he explained, “but I wouldn’t suggest it after the mid-falling tide. In a small center console or bay boat, once you go south of the Lighthouse Park boat ramp there is plenty of water until you hit the last dock. South of there you enter Anastasia State Park. This is quite shallow all the way to the very end.”

Rob mentioned that his favorite months to fish Salt Run are in the spring and fall, but he also has had fantastic days on cold, windy outings when the fish push toward the docks on the western side.

“My go-to winter technique is putting a live shrimp on a 3⁄8-ounce jighead and targeting the docks for sheepshead, drum and redfish,” Rob said. “For warmer days and high water I’d go with a live shrimp under a popping cork with about 18 inches of 20-pound fluorocarbon tied to a 3/0 hook tossed toward the edge of the oyster bed.”

When I asked Rob why he thinks Salt Run is so fishy, he said proximity to the inlet and the amount of bait that consistently stacks up in there make it hard to beat.

fs-saltrun-flounder
Nice southern flounder caught in Salt Run by a client of Capt. Rob Bennett.

If You Go

Boat Rentals

  • Anastasia Watersports: Kayaks, canoes and paddleboards; 850 Anastasia Park Rd., St. Augustine 904-460-9111

Boat Ramp and Fishing Pier

  • Lighthouse Park: 442 Ocean Vista Ave., St. Augustine

Charters

  • Capt. Rob Bennett, Coastal Fish Charters, Inshore, 407-417-2132
  • Capt. David Borries, Inshore, 904-708-8915
  • Reel Dream Fishing Charters, Offshore, Capt. Adam Petnuch, 815-274-5432

Eats

  • Nalu's Taco Truck, located right outside Anastasia Park in the Surf Station parking lot.

Overnight

  • Conch House Marina and Resort Directly on Salt Run with wet slips.
  • Anastasia State Park Campground; 800-326-3521

  • This article was featured in the December/January 2024 issue of Florida Sportsman magazine. Click to subscribe.

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