There are a variety of species you might encounter while St Johns River monster fishing. Number one for me is catfish. The St Johns has three species of catfish, channel, white and snail catfish, and three species of bullheads. The bullheads, along with white and snail catfish, are small species. They make a tasty addition to a fish fry but they are not the subject of this article. I am looking for big fish, and channel cats are the biggest catfish we have. Channel cats over 30 pounds have been caught from the St Johns. I’ve never got one that big, but I’ve caught several weighing double digits and a few over 20 pounds.
A couple other species you are likely to encounter are true dinosaurs, bowfin and gar. Both have been swimming around rivers and swamps since before T-rex roamed the earth. Bowfin are your most likely catch when chunking big baits in the St Johns. They can get over 10 pounds and are a feisty, tough fish that will give you plenty of fight on typical redfish and bass tackle.
The other dinosaur fish you’ll find in the St Johns are gar. Unfortunately, the giant of the gar clan, the alligator gar, that can reach hundreds of pounds, isn’t found in the St Johns, but three other species, Florida, spotted and longnose gar are available. Of those three, the longnose gar is the biggest, sometimes exceeding five feet long. Occasionally, the big ones roll on the surface looking an awful lot like tarpon.