Fall Redfish & Trout inside the Refuge

Fall redfish and speckled trout action inside
The St Marks National Wildlife Refuge 

By Capt. Mike McNamara

st marks national wildlife refuge


Welcome to “the refuge”.  The St Marks National Wildlife Refuge is the gem of the Big Bend.  Over 80,000 acres of land habitat, full of alligators, whitetail deer, bobcats, bald eagles, and panthers!  It is the wildest acreage left in Florida, and it all borders 30 miles of saltwater marsh.  It is part refuge and part big Bend Aquatic Preserve.  The 30 miles of coastline are filled with spring-fed creeks and rivers that feed Apalachee Bay.  The bay is home to the largest expanse of grassflats left in the western hemisphere!

Did I mention the redfish and trout? Fall is hungry time!  The hot weather has passed, and the fish are always hungry.  A boat trip into the refuge is a step back in time to a Florida that once existed.  No construction, no houses, no traffic, just saltwater and marsh grass.  Take a trip mid-week and you will have the whole place to yourself.  Possibly, the perfect escape with a heavy dose of redfish and trout action!

Topwater redfish action is the best and our favorite.  Big explosions, lots of drag, and awesome bronze redfish.  Speckled trout fishing in the Big Bend is world class.  Big fish willing to smash a topwater on every cast!  If topwater fishing isn’t in your skill set, no worries.  Your guide will coach you into a topwater gamer in no time.  Once you have mastered your new skill, you will own it for a lifetime of explosions.

The launch point for your adventure is the City of St Marks, which is located less than 20 miles south of Tallahassee.  A short drive to your guide boat that is fully equipped with guide, license, and gear.  This is a come as you are, laid back, take a deep breathe kind of trip.  So relax, no screaming guides, just saltwater, sunshine, and fish.

For those adventure seekers that would trailer there boat to the refuge.  Freelance fishing is possible, but I would highly recommend a guide for your first trip.  Apalachee Bay is riddled with rocks and oyster bars.  It takes a heavy dose of local knowledge to avoid trouble.  There are some great local guides that do not mind helping you navigate safely.

The invitation stands.  If you are visiting the Big Bend this fall  the redfish and trout will be waiting.  Book a trip soon, as now is the time to book a trip for fall.


Call/Text Capt. Mike to explore the refuge, fish, and more!