The fourth Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2024 season is at St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida. There could be anglers in this event who typically struggle there in February, but their post-spawn strengths might lead to success in April. Because this is a different time of year than when the Elite Series typically visits Palatka, how anglers approach this tournament could be completely different than in the past. However, St. Johns River is still a shallow water angler’s paradise, so don’t expect big fish to only be caught offshore.

Note: At the time of writing this, we do not know which buckets the anglers are going to be placed in, so we are giving you several anglers in no particular order that we expect to do well. We chose them based on their history at St. Johns River and other Florida fisheries, signature strengths that could play a role in the event, and recent success that could cause momentum. We did this because Harris Chain and St. Johns River are back-to-back events. Click here to see our picks for Harris Chain.

Let’s dive into it!

Scott Canterbury

(Photos Courtesy of Bassmaster)

Canterbury is another angler that has a great track record in Palatka, except for one tournament. His four finishes there are 12th, 75th, 6th, and 9th. While he hasn’t had the start to 2024 that he wants, Florida suits his shallow water strengths well and could perhaps be the place that turns the momentum train around. Expect this angler to do well.

John Cox

(Photos Courtesy of Bassmaster)

It is no secret that John Cox is a shallow water specialist as he resides in Florida. Now whether this tournament is dominated offshore or not, it is hard to say that Cox will not do well in this event fishing up shallow. Cox finished in 4th place at the St. Johns River in 2022 and has had many other great finishes at other Florida fisheries. While he will likely be one of the favorites to win, it would be wise to pick him.

John Crews

(Photos Courtesy of Bassmaster)

While he has struggled in the past at other Florida fisheries, Crews will tell you that St. Johns River has a special place in his heart. He has three top 5 finishes in Palatka, including his win in 2022. He has not had the start to 2024 as he had hoped but look for Crews to turn it around at the St. Johns River if he doesn’t at Harris Chain.

Bryan New

(Photos Courtesy of Bassmaster)

Another past St. Johns River Elite Series Champion, Bryan New, is one that struggled in 2023 but looks to have a better season in 2024. He has 16th and 65th place finishes for his first two events this year. When it comes to Florida, New has been successful especially in Palatka with his win and a 22nd place finish. He also won a Bassmaster Open on Kissimmee Chain in 2020. Expect New’s junk fishing strengths to serve him well at this event.

Patrick Walters

(Photos Courtesy of Bassmaster)

Walters is on one of the hottest streaks of anyone as he hasn’t finished out of the top 30 in almost a year. He also has one of the best track records on St. Johns River as he has fished it four times and finished 7th, 4th, 10th, and 4th. With these stats, it would be tough not to pick Walters.