St. Johns River – 2019 vs. 2020


Jim Sexton

The AFTCO Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the St. Johns River began (finally) on almost the exact same date as it did a year ago. But, as has been well documented, the weather conditions are significantly different this year. A warming trend was in place and continued through the tournament last year. A cold front dropped temperatures into the mid 30s before takeoff on Day 1 this year.

The other significant difference in conditions was the result of the 20- to 30-mile-an-hour southerly and westerly winds that blew the water out of the St. Johns River Thursday and Friday, when the tournament was scheduled to begin. 

“The water level was another factor we had to adjust to,” said Matt Arey. “The water was super, super low (Saturday) morning. These fish don’t like cold water, and they don’t like falling water when they’re trying to spawn.”

You can see the difference from one year to the next in the chart below:


Anglers/limits 75/57 88/44
Limit percentage 76% 50%
20-pound limits 10 3
1st place 25-2 21-7
10th place 20-8 16-2
25th place 16-13 11-4
50th place 11-5 7-14
Big bass 11-2 9-2
Total fish weighed 333 322
Ave. weight/bass 3.03 lbs. 2.37 lbs.