5 Safety Tips for Your Spring Fishing Trips

5 Safety Tips for Your Spring Fishing Trips

5 Safety Tips for Your Spring Fishing Trips Riviera Dunes Marina

5 Safety Tips for Your Spring Fishing Trips

Do you have a fishing trip on the horizon? Whether it’s a solo fishing trip or you’re taking the whole family, it’s always wise to refresh your safety knowledge for your upcoming spring fishing trips. In addition to always wearing your Coast Guard-approved life jackets, here are our safety tips to ensure you and your loved ones have an enjoyable and safe time on the water!

1. Make sure your first aid kids are stocked with the essentials.

The last thing you want during your spring fishing trips is to have an accident. However, the best thing you can do in advance is to have your first aid kits chock-full of gauze and bandages in a variety of sizes, safety pins for the bandages and antiseptic wipes. Also, make sure to have a pair of sturdy scissors in the event that you need to cut and remove a hook from your skin.

2. Obey the “No Fishing” signage.

There is a reason that there are designated non-fishing areas. The “No Fishing” signage has been put in place in order to protect wildlife habitats, marine life and even your boat from getting stuck in more shallow areas.

3. Wear proper clothing.

Make sure to dress for the occasion and weather during your spring fishing trips. Once your dressed for the weather, protect your skin by applying sunscreen on any areas that your skin will be exposed. Wearing a hat is another good idea not only to protect your face, but it provides a cool shade on particularly sunny days. To protect your eyes, the best sunglasses to wear are polarized sunglasses since these also allow you to peer below the water’s surface. Then make sure to wear sturdy shoes, preferably those with rubber bottoms, that will be able to grip the wet boat and also protect you from stray hooks or other items that you might encounter.

4. Handle your tackle, hooks and rods with care.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when handling your tackle, hooks and rods during your spring fishing trips this season:

  • Always look behind you before casting. You don’t want to accidentally hook a loved one, a tree, your boat, etc.
  • Always make sure to clean up after yourself after handling your tackle and baiting your hooks by storing these items in your tackle box in order to prevent them from being stepped on.
  • Never place your hand inside a fish’s mouth if the hook is deeply latched. Instead, use pliers or scissors to remove or cut back the line so that you can remove it safely.

5. Bring a stocked bag and cooler.

Even if your fishing trip will be just an hour, make sure that you stock a cooler with the essentials including plenty of water and food. Then, in a large tote, make sure to pack it with flashlights, bug spray, rain jackets, towels and your cell phone.

We hope you enjoy your spring fishing tips near Riviera Dunes Marina! Happy fishing!

Next: Top 5 Live Fishing Bait for Bradenton’s Freshwaters

Top 5 Live Fishing Bait For Bradenton’s Freshwaters

Top 5 Live Fishing Bait For Bradenton’s Freshwaters

Top 5 Live Fishing Bait For Bradenton’s Freshwaters Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Top 5 Live Fishing Bait For Bradenton’s Freshwaters

Will you be freshwater fishing near Bradenton or Sarasota soon? Whether you’re a veteran freshwater fisherman looking for new bait to use or a novice ready to learn the ropes, here are the top live fishing bait you should bring with you when you’re freshwater fishing.

Golden shiner

Did you know that the spring months of March and April are the peak time of the year for catching largemouth bass in Florida? To take home this trophy game fish, golden shiners will be your best bet. Using a large hook, secure the golden shiner through either the lips or dorsal fin, then use a medium-heavy rod, which is helpful if you’re in a heavily vegetated area.

Clams and Mussels

Clam and mussels make for reliable live fishing bait, too! Like all live bait, you want to make sure that they are as fresh as possible in order to have the most success when freshwater fishing. Clams and mussels, in particular, can be easily gathered from local shallow waters when you’re en route to your fishing hole.

Minnows

Minnows are excellent live fishing bait for our local freshwaters. You’ll often have luck with minnows drifting in deeper water until you can find a school with an appetite. Freshwater anglers are known to have success catching bass and black crappie. Using a No. 4 hook, secure the minnow upside down being careful to not harm its spinal cord. By doing this, the minnow will be secure on your hook, yet still be able to move to attract a school.

Shrimp

Shrimp are another one of the top live fishing bait you should use when fishing in freshwater. There are advantages and disadvantages to baiting them live or frozen. Live shrimp will certainly be more expensive, and it’s difficult to keep them alive unless you are regulating their temperature and keeping them in aerated buckets. However, in comparison to frozen shrimp, they cannot be easily stolen by bait thieves, and they easily attract fish due to their movements. Ultimately, you get to decide which is best suited for your fishing trip.

Worms

Oftentimes the tried-and-true worm will do the trick when freshwater fishing in the Bradenton waterways. Use worms when fishing along the bottom or when lowered beneath a float. If you’re not having luck, adjusting the depth of your worm will often do the trick. Worms are known to be great bait for catching bluegill, redbreast sunfish and trout.

Next: No Boat, No Problem! 4 Local Fishing Holes

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities  near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

Spring Break: Family-Friendly Activities near Riviera Dunes Marina

With spring break just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your trip to the Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto areas! In addition to our area’s pristine beaches, you’ll quickly discover that our area accommodates all ages. Family-friendly activities abound near Riviera Dunes Marina, from fishing trips to nature obstacle courses and much more. Here’s a snapshot of some fabulous activities that are perfect for your family this spring break.

Spend a day in the trees.

If your family loves being outside, but they want to take a break from the beach, everyone will enjoy a day in the trees as they traverse unique obstacle courses at TreeUmph! Adventure Course! If you’re new to ziplining, TreeUmph! has guides that not only monitor you to ensure you are safe, but they also train you to best navigate the courses. Of course, you are always clicked in with their belay systems to keep you secure during your adventure. Zipline among the trees or sit back and watch your loved ones for one unforgettable experience during your vacation! 

Cast a line.

If you don’t already know, the folks here love to spend a day fishing! You can choose from a shorter excursion at one of our local piers, or you can seek out a local fishing charter where a captain takes you out for a longer fishing trip. Depending on the day, you might catch red grouper, flounder or king mackerel, among several other species. Do you love deep sea fishing? There are trips here just for you! There are even special sunset fishing trips, too. The best thing about local fishing charters is that they are often customizable. You could take a private charter to accommodate a small group of people or join in on a trip with a few dozen other people. 

Tour our area in a new, unique way!

Perhaps you visit the Gulf Coast for spring break every year, but you’re looking to get a fresh taste of our region this year. There are food tours that take you through Downtown Sarasota as you sample our area’s best in fine dining, global fare and more delightful delicacies! Eco tours are another unique way to tour the area. Whether your vessel is a bike or a kayak, there’s always something new to discover about our area’s natural history.

Have a beach day.

Of course, it’s not a visit to the Bradenton area without a day spent at the beach during your spring break vacation. From lounging on the beach to playing a round of frisbee, to shelling and looking for unique birds, our many beaches are a great way to relax and spend time with your loved ones.

Next: Unique Ways to Tour Bradenton and Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

A Guide to Pontoon Boat Fishing in Sarasota

Anglers love pontoon boat fishing as they’re comfortable, can accommodate a group of people and are sturdy, which is especially true during rougher water conditions when a small boat would typically rock in the Sarasota waterways.

If you’re a boating novice or looking to learn more about pontoon boat fishing, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a quick guide in order to help you have a successful fishing day on your pontoon boat. 

Remove or lower your bimini top.

If you don’t have much experience fishing on a pontoon boat, then you don’t want to make the mistake of having your boat’s bimini or canopy top interfering with your cast. Before you set sail on your fishing trip, remove or lower your bimini tops to ensure your hooks don’t catch on them.

Bring a second anchor.

While pontoon boats are sturdy, they can be a bit hard to keep still when fishing if the wind begins to pick up its pace. To make your afternoon of pontoon boat fishing a successful one, bring more than one anchor. Release one at each end of the boat. By using two anchors, this will prevent the boat—and you—from spinning while you’re fishing. As you learn more about pontoon boat fishing, you may choose to add more anchors for your next trip if the weather is particularly windy.

Pack multiple towels.

In order to protect your boat’s seats, packing multiple towels for your trip is a wise idea. From baiting your hooks to gutting the fish, the last thing you want to worry about is damaging your seats, especially if they are cloth seats. Vinyl seats tend to be more forgiving, but you should still take precautions and make the clean-up process much easier for yourself. It’s also helpful to have another towel available for you to clean your hands throughout the day.

Rod holders are a good idea.

Due to the finite amount of space on your pontoon boat, creating a place where you can rest your rods can be especially helpful during your fishing trip. You can easily purchase mounted pontoon rod holders that are not only helpful but are convenient to stow away when you’re not fishing. Look for rod holders that have a wide adjustment angle in the event that you need more flexibility.

Bring an extra container for your fish.

While this seems like a no-brainer, you will thank yourself later when you’re having a successful day pontoon boat fishing, and you want to keep fishing longer. Bring an extra container, such as a cooler, in order to store your fish until you’re ready to clean them.

Next: Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Tips for Wintertime Fishing in the Palmetto Area

Don’t let the recent colder weather discourage you from your wintertime fishing adventures! You might not think that fish will be biting when it’s cold out, but certain fish, such as sheepshead, black drum and redfish, actually thrive in the cooler temperatures. Here are a few tips for fishing during colder weather:

Dress appropriately.

First, make sure you have proper gear when wintertime fishing in Palmetto and the surrounding areas. The winter months can bring some rain, which can cause more spraying than usual when you’re on your boat. Pack your raincoat and bring your rubber boots so that you’re guaranteed to stay warm during your excursion.

Keep an eye on the cold fronts.

Wintertime fishing also brings the cold fronts to the Palmetto area. Be patient and wait for the cold fronts and accompanying stormy weather and windy weather to pass through. After a few days, the water becomes more calm and warm. This is the best time to get out on the water since the fish are very active! While monitoring the cold fronts, you can also check a barometer for water pressure levels. Increasing pressure levels also make for a great time to fish during the winter months. When the water pressure is decreasing or stagnant, you won’t have the best luck fishing.

Know where to look.

Due to the colder weather, fish like to gather in deep holes or shallow flats where the water temperature is warmer. Sheepshead, in particular, prefer to congregate around reefs, piers and docks, while you’ll have more luck finding black drum in private canals.

Bring the right bait.

Live shrimp are known for attracting the most fish during colder temperatures. To entice the fish to come out of their warm water nooks, clip the tails of your shrimp to release a stronger scent in the water. Artificial bait can work as well, just make sure you are being patient when reeling in as any abrupt movement might scare them off.

Next: 7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

5 Fish Biting in December Near Sarasota

5 Fish Biting in December Near Sarasota

5 Fish Biting in December Near Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

5 Fish Biting in December Near Sarasota

Among all of the holiday parties and events, we hope that you’re still getting out on your boat to go fishing this month! The great thing about our area is that there are always fish biting, no matter what time of year it is. Here are five fish biting in December near Sarasota:

Tripletail

When you spot a buoy, channel marker or other floating objects in Sarasota waters, you’re bound to find a tripletail! Known for gravitating toward floating objects, you can specifically find tripletail in brackish water bays and estuaries. They’re also known for camouflaging, so you might need to do a double take when you see weeds or debris in the water. Depending on their surroundings, they could be black to yellow to white and spotted brown! The key to catching them? Use live shrimp on minimal tackle.

Speckled Trout

Found in concentrated areas with vegetation, speckled trout—or spotted seatrout—can be seen wading in seagrass beds, sand bottoms and mangroves. Spot them by their silver-ish bodies and black spots on their backs. These are best reeled in with free-line live shrimp or pigfish. Then, as long as they are 15–20 inches long, you can bring these home for a tasty dinner!

Red Snapper

You’re in luck because recreational season is reopening for red snapper this weekend from Dec. 8–10! Individual anglers are permitted one fish per day with no minimum size limits. As you might have guessed, red snapper’s bodies are a light reddish color with a white belly. Red snapper are best found when the waters are calm and between 60 and 300 feet deep. Your best tactic to catch them is by drifting since they are not known for moving often.

Kingfish

Did you know that the largest Kingfish can be 100 pounds? It’s no surprise that kingfish is also known as the King Mackerel and the largest of its kind to find in our state. Because kingfish have an appetite for schooling baitfish, blue runner, goggle eye and white mullet are known to be successful. Just make sure to hold on to your rods because they are fast and often will take up to 200 yards of your line when the fight starts! You’ll find the largest kingfish in reefs out in 300 feet of water.

Gag Grouper

Recreational gag grouper season continues through the end of the month! Another fish biting in December, you can easily spot gag grouper because of its grayish-brown body with wavy markings. One of the more aggressive striking fish, gag grouper can be successfully caught with live baitfish when drifting, trolling or still fishing. Live baitfish can include pilchards, pinfish or sand perch. Regulations state that the minimum length must be 24 inches, and anglers can only keep a maximum of two gag grouper per day.

Happy fishing!

Next: 5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota 

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

5 Sportfish You’ll Find in Sarasota

When you’re not enjoying a leisurely ride through the waters of Sarasota and the surrounding areas, there are plenty of opportunities for you to go sportfishing here! Here are five of the predominant sportish you will find in our area. 

Flounder

With its lighter brown to darker brown body and whiter underside, flounder is a popular sportfish you’ll discover here. You’ll know you’ve found flounder when you see both of its eyes on the left side of its body. You can find these on sandy bottoms inshore on channel edges. However, males are typically found offshore. Live shrimp, sand fleas and pinfish are great bait to use for flounder. Look in City Island Flats, Big Pass and Tony Saprito Pier to start.

Red Drum

Known for their copper-bronze bodies, large scales and spotted tails, red drum are another popular sportfish to you’ll see during your afternoon on Sarasota waters. Look to City Island Flats, San Remo Basin and Roberts Bay to begin your search. Like flounder, red drum also have an appetite for live shrimp, and you can use soft-bodied jigs or small silver spoons to increase your chance of a catch. During winter months, red drum are found in grass beds or near oyster bars.

Sheepshead

You can easily spot a sheepshead when you see its silver body with vertical, black stripes. When you’re looking for sheepshead, you’ll have the most luck inshore near oyster bars, seawalls and near bridges and docks. Specifically, head to Ringling Causeway, San Remo Basin and the docks in Roberts Bay in Siesta Key. Sheepshead feed on live shrimp, sand fleas and fiddle crabs.

Snook

With a sloping forehead and larger lower jaw, much like an underbite, snook are one of the Florida sportfish that make our state the Fishing Capital of the World. From canals and tidal creeks to tidal pass, snook can continue to be harvested until December 1. You’ll have your best luck in the cooler months at Phillippi Creek and at New Pass Bridge when the weather is warmer. They are most likely to be caught with pinfish, shrimp or sardines as your bait.

Spotted Seatrout

Also within the drum family, spotted seatrout have a lighter underbelly with a dark gray or greenish top with round spots. Spotted seatrout are found both inshore and nearshore within seagrass beds as well as deeper waters and over oyster bars. Some local spots to find these sportfish are in Bird Key flats, City Island Flats and South Lido Park. Make sure to bring your live shrimp and pigfish for your best chances at catching this popular sportfish.

Next: No Boat, No Problem! 4 Local Fishing Holes

No Boat, No Problem! 4 Local Fishing Holes

No Boat, No Problem! 4 Local Fishing Holes

No Boat, No problem! 4 Local Fishing Holes

No Boat, No Problem! 4 Local Fishing Holes

Who says you need a boat to visit some of the best local fishing holes in our area? While we are certainly boat lovers around here at Riviera Dunes Marina, sometimes it’s nice to walk up to a local pier or park along the shores or banks to drop a line and wait for the next big catch!

Here are four local fishing holes for when you’re going boatless:

South Lido Park

Located on Big Pass shore, South Lido Park offers fun, fishing and more for the entire family. With ample parking, South Lido Park is also more secluded offering extra opportunities for fishing and quiet moments for you to relax. You will also discover pavilions, grills for picnicking and restrooms on-site.

Point of Rocks

While there is less public parking at Point of Rocks in Sarasota, there are ample opportunities to cast a line . . . you just have to arrive a little earlier. Then, when you’ve had your fill of an afternoon of fishing, you can enjoy some snorkeling among lovely coral if the weather permits.

Bay Island Park

This Sarasota hidden gem is a local favorite! Bay Island Park offers scenic views and … you guessed it, plenty of recreational fishing opportunities. In addition, there are hiking trails, a fishing pier, a playground and picnic and bathroom facilities.

Twin Lakes Park

Freshwater, bank fishing is at its finest at Twin Lakes Park, a 123-acre park brimming with catfish, bream and bass! What’s also unique about this park is that it doubles as a training site for minor and major league baseball teams! So, join in on the fun, cast a line and have a picnic at the pavilion, then you might catch some great baseball, too!

As you can see, great fishing in our area doesn’t have to be synonymous with being a boat owner! If you decide to go boatless, why not keep your boat safe and secure here at Riviera Dunes Marina? Here’s a full list of the luxury services we offer to our customers.

Next: The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

Red Snapper Season Begins This Weekend

Red Snapper Season Begins This Weekend

Red Snapper Season Begins This Weekend Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

Red Snapper Season Begins This Weekend

Bradenton anglers, get ready for red snapper season kicking off this weekend!

At the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s April meeting, they announced the beginning of a 78-day recreational red snapper season in Florida’s Gulf of Mexico waters.

The parameters for red snapper fishing stretch from the shore to 9 nautical miles in the Gulf state waters.

Here are some guidelines when fishing for red snapper in our Florida gulf waters:

  • The 78-day red snapper season begins this Saturday, May 6.
  • Snapper fishing will continue on Saturdays and Sundays through May 27, then it will be permitted daily through July 9.
  • In September and October, anglers can fish for red snapper on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, plus Labor Day.
  • Sixteen inches is the minimum total length required in order to keep a red snapper.
  • Two bags of red snappers are permitted per day, per person.

Earlier this week, it was announced that recreational anglers from privately owned boats can participate in red snapper season within federal waters for three days from June 1–3. In addition, charter boats and headboats with federal permits are permitted to fish for red snapper from June 1 through July 19.

Interested in helping out the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute with their gulf red snapper research? Print out a catch card here and fill out the data to assist the institute in finding out the number of red snappers that are harvested and released by anglers. You can also fill out this data online here.

Happy fishing!

Next: Where to Fish in Bradenton, FL

Where to Fish in Bradenton, FL

Where to Fish in Bradenton, FL

Where to Fish in Bradenton FL Riviera Dunes Marina

Where to Fish in Bradenton, FL

With the milder Florida winter we’ve had, we’re still welcoming the spring season with open arms … especially for fishing! Wondering where to fish in Bradenton, FL?

Here are a few of our favorite spots:

Lake Manatee

In this beautiful, freshwater lake, you can choose to fish either from the dock or your personal boat. There you will find a boat ramp available for use, but your boat, kayak or other vessel must be less than 20 horsepower.

What you’ll catch: sunshine bass, catfish, speckled perch and bluefill

Piers on Anna Maria Island

The 7 miles of Anna Maria Island are a perfect place for an afternoon of fishing. Several piers and bridges are dotted along the island as well as the bait shops stocked with all of the essentials to keep you busy all afternoon!

What you’ll catch: grouper, bluefish and flounder

Fort Hamer Park

The freshwater area of the Manatee River begins once arrive at the peaceful Fort Hamer Park. There are a couple ways to fish when in the park: from the pier or your boat. Keep in mind that rowing teams often practice in this area, so be kind in sharing the river. In addition, Fort Hamer is equipped with fabulous amenities including a large boathouse, a deck and floating docks.

What you’ll catch: snook and bass

Do you have any favorite fishing holes in Bradenton? Let us know where you like to fish in Bradenton!

Next: The Best Freshwater Fishing in Bradenton

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