Hooked On Fishing?

Hooked On Fishing?

Hooked On Fishing?

By Hannah M.

 

Reel in The Big One!

Are you getting ready for your fishing trip on the sparkling waters of St. John’s River or Lake George? Whether you’re a new angler or “reel” expert, good fishermen are always looking for new tricks to help lure the best catch. Reeling in the big one can be fishy business, but fear no fish! Here are some great tips that will have you ready to tackle anything!

Got Bait?

When choosing what kind of bait to bring for the ultimate catch, live bait is always preferred! Worms and smaller fish are most commonly used and proven to be most successful. Freshwater fishing? Here’s a basic beginner tackle box guide to start with!

Location is Key

Today there are many tools available to aid your fishing needs! Electronic fish finders are widely used and a certain way of leading you directly to the best fishing spots. If you’re new to the game, make sure you bring a topographical map to keep track of water depths and an electronic fish finder.

Keep An Eye on The Skies

Seasoned fishermen know that the weather affects fish habits. Cloudy days are preferred for fishing, as your catch is more likely to be lured by your bait. Sunny Florida doesn’t see too many of those days, however; just cruise to some darker waters for the optimal catch. Planning a night fishing excursion? Paying attention to the moon and its phases is key for night fishing – full moons are prime time for the best catch, while moonless nights are the least favorable for fishing. The brighter the moon, the better!

Stay Safe

Practice, practice, practice! Ensure you can confidently tie knots and handle the sharp hooks prior to departing on your fishing adventures. There’s so little time and so many fish – you don’t want to lose any time due to injuries! Keep your fishing trip fun and make sure you’re comfortable with your equipment.

What’s Your Catch?

You’re almost ready for the complete fishing trip! Make sure you’re familiar with the fish in the spot you choose! Here’s a list of fish found in the St. John’s River. Looking for the best bass in the state? Head to Lake George for some fantastic fishing.

Fishing is a Reel Tough Job – You’re Ready to Tackle It!

Reeling in the big one is no easy feat, but with these excellent fishing tips, it’s sure to be an enjoyable and rewarding adventure. For a catchy fishing trip of a lifetime, rent a cabin or boat at Castaways on the River and get ready for your best adventure yet!

Original Article Here

Staying Safe While Having Fun on Vacation!

Staying Safe While Having Fun!

By Hannah M. 

Southern Florida is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Renowned for the alluring natural habitats, gleaming white sand beaches, calm rivers, and especially the intriguing wildlife. During your relaxing vacation in Southern Florida, you’re sure to run into the indigenous inhabitants- alligators. Below are some safety tips to keep in mind for an enjoyable vacation.

Sharing is Not Caring!

The most essential rule to keep in mind regarding alligators is to keep your food stored away. Do not feed them! Alligators have an instinctive fear of humans, which is favorable for us, as people are natural prey in the wild. Sharing your food can be dangerous, as it emboldens the alligator, and in turn, may look for other people in search of food. A good rule of thumb is to not feed any wildlife you may encounter.

Alligator Mating Season

Spring and Summer is alligator mating season in Florida, so be extra careful during these times. Alligator nests may also be found more frequently, so if you happen to run across one, do not disturb it. Mother gators are always nearby, so just keep in mind to give the alligators their space! Their temperament may change erratically, and you may see larger gators than normal – the best thing to do is not interact with them in anyway and give them plenty of space.

Keeping Your Furry Friends in Mind

It’s not the complete vacation without Man’s Best Friend! Everyone loves to bring their pet along for a cruise on the river or to splash in the waves. It’s easy to keep your best bud safe by keeping them leashed the entire time. Headed for a lazy day on the river? Make sure to keep your dog leashed when you dock, especially during alligator mating season.

Stay Away!

These magnificent creatures may appear passive and idle, but they move rapidly. A good rule is to always keep 60 feet between you and the alligator. If they hiss or lunge at you – back up! That’s a warning sign you’re too close.

Safety while Swimming

St. John’s River is a prime destination for boating, fishing and lovely water views. From the deck, under the warm Florida rays, you may be tempted to take a quick dip in the waters. A key safety rule to keep in mind on your vacation is this: If you can’t see your feet or arms while in the water, do not swim!

Swimming where you cannot see your arms or legs should be avoided, as gators frequent these areas.

There are many gorgeous, crystal clear springs that are accessible from St. John’s River, including Silver Glen Springs. The water is shallow and alligators are rare. Make sure to visit one of these breathtaking spots during your fishing trip!

Fishing Safety

Be careful where you pick your fishing spots – some gators will be attracted to the fish on a hooked line and may grab it. Fishing in areas that are heavy in vegetation or near the water’s edge is discouraged, as those are popular gator hang outs. If you’re fishing for a fresh catch for dinner and don’t want any surprise bites, just stay in open, clear water.

Have a Safe Vacation!

Geared with these quick and easy safety tips, you’re ready for your vacation on the river! Castaways on the River can help you plan for your essential vacation. With many different rental boats to choose from in the marina directly outside your hotel room or cottage door, relaxing on the river is a Florida Must-Do!

Original Article Here

An Evening on The Town: Sarasota Nightlife

An Evening on The Town: Sarasota Nightlife

The fun never ends in Sarasota!

Sarasota, the endless adventure and ideal vacation! If you’re looking to wind down after a day in Sunny Sarasota on the sparkling white sand beaches, there’s plenty of nighttime shenanigans to get in to. The combination of restaurants and bars offering happy hour and seafood specials with a breathtaking waterview makes Sarasota the place to be on The Gulf Coast! Mix in some live music from local artists and you’re sure to have a time to remember. The only dilemma you may face is deciding where go for the night. Below are Sarasota nightlife essentials, and regardless of where you choose, you’re sure to be in for a cool coastal time!

Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar  

Live music, over a dozen frozen daiquiri options, happy hour specials, and an amazing tree top view, Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar is a MUST DO! A deck overlooking The Gulf of Mexico and Lido Beach, with stunning sunset views from the second floor makes this an essential stop for your vacation.

Captain Curt’s Backroom Saloon

A more traditional way to wind down is Captain Curt’s Backroom Saloon. South Siesta Key Bar features nightly entertainment, plenty of TV’s to watch your favorite sporting event, pinball and foosball for entertainment and much more! Bingo Sunday’s are a sure way to have some fun with prizes offered all night long. Come relax with an ice-cold beer in Captain Curt’s warm and homey atmosphere!

Sharky’s on the Pier

Sharky’s, voted Florida’s #1 Beach Bar, is also a necessary experience. Directly on the Gulf of Mexico in Venice, Florida, Sharky’s offers dancing and live music on a large wrap-around deck. Finish the night with a cold one from the Tropical Tiki Bar and a walk down the pier.  

The Gator Club

If you want a place that features music and dancing, The Gator Club is the place to be. Nightly entertainment, Sarasota’s best known DJ, Ladies Night every Tuesday, The Gator Club promises to be an enjoyable evening.

Marina Jack

For a more sophisticated evening on the town, head over to Marina Jack, featuring a lounge and piano bar, with plenty of drink and food specials. This exclusive restaurant is a sure to be good time for the whole family- including your furry friends! Marina’s Jack patio is dog-friendly. Marina Jack also offers lunch and dinner time cruises for an unforgettable experience over the open water on their cruise ship, Marina Jack II.

So with these Sarasota nightlife essentials, you’re geared up for your most memorable vacation yet! There’s no end to the unique ways to spend your time in Sunny Sarasota, where the fun never ends.

Original Article Here

Escape the hustle and bustle!  Castaway for the day on Cayo Costa Island.

Escape the hustle and bustle! Castaway for the day on Cayo Costa Island.

If you’re looking for a hideaway from the excitement of Southwest Florida for the day, Cayo Costa Island State Park is the perfect oasis. This barrier island, accessible by boat or ferry, is tucked away near Punta Gorda and North Fort Myers, making it the ideal private retreat. This remarkable Gulf Coast location, renowned for the white sand beaches and shelling, is a seclusive and relaxing getaway.

Getting to Cayo Costa Island

Cayo Costa Island lies at the entrance of Charlotte Harbor, nestled between North Captiva Island and Boca Grande, and is reached by boat or ferry. If you don’t have a boat to visit this breathtaking island, Captiva Cruises, the official state park concessionaire, has you covered! The ferry accommodates all kinds of family fun, offering private cruises for special events and conveniently running from several locations including: Captiva Island, Punta Gorda, Boca Grande, and Pine Island.

Cayo Costa State Park Features

The ferry docks at the State Park and from there it is a short walk (a free tram service is also offered) to the captivating white sand beaches and shelling. Booking your trip in advance is encouraged and can be done by phone (239) 472-5100 or on the Cayo Costa Ferry website.

When you get to the island, you will certainly see some aquatic life, as the beaches are a sea turtle nesting area from May-September. These nests are marked with wooden sticks, so be sure to get some pictures, but not to disturb the nests, as they are protected by law.

What To Do On Cayo Costa Island

Once you dock on the island, you will see 9 miles of sparkling and immaculate white sand beach, untouched and ready to be explored. This island features sand dunes and peaceful pine forests with tranquil oak-palm hammocks tucked in with the mangroves. If you’re looking for the perfect picnic spot, the island is full of grassy spots hidden under the shade of palms or pine trees.

Cayo Costa Island has gems tucked all over and is considered to be one of the best beaches for shells in the world, so if you want a unique and memorable souvenir, look no further. The island  ends in over six miles of trails, which are perfect to enjoy fishing, biking, birdwatching or snorkeling.

If you want more time on this tranquil island, you can rent a cabin with bunk beds or bring your own camping gear for the full island experience and enjoy your fresh catch on the grills at the campsites.

Castaway For The Day!
Castaway For The Day!

McCarthy’s Marina in Captiva is your last stop on your way to Cayo Costa Island, so be sure to have picked up all of your essentials before you become a castaway for the day!

Original article here

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Tips for Protecting Our Local Marine Species

You love our local area in Bradenton, Sarasota and Palmetto for its pristine beaches, but it’s also known for its wonderful marine species, especially sea turtles and manatees. Though, it’s important to remember that these local beaches are home to these endangered species as well. Here are helpful tips to keep in mind to ensure we’re protecting our local marine species:

1. Obey the waterway signs.

Waterway signs do not solely exist for boaters’ safety, but they are for the manatees’ safety, too. Obeying the speed limit ensures that you slow down when necessary so that you have a clear view of the water and do not see any manatees before proceeding.

2. Steer clear from shallow waters when possible.

When boating, remain in deep waterways because manatees tend to feed in shallow seagrass beds. In addition, try not to anchor your boats in these areas and in coral reefs because these areas are often habitats for sea turtles.

3. Do not offer food to manatees.

When you see manatees, do not feed them or try to lure them to you. When you lure manatees to you, this increases the chance that they will get caught in watercraft traffic, which could put them at risk.

4. Pick up after yourself before leaving the beach.

Trash is one of the major threats to local marine species since they can mistake floating trash in the water for food, which can block their intestines. Make sure your bring a bag with you so that you can collect all of your trash.

5. The same goes for fishing.

Do not leave any stray fishing lines or nets behind as local marine species as well as birds can get entangled and trapped.

6. Pack a red or yellow flashlight when taking an evening beach stroll.

In the evenings, this is prime nesting time for sea turtles. Lights that are too bright can disturb this process and cause them to be deterred from going to the ocean. This also goes without saying that you should not disturb turtles, especially baby sea turtles because our hands carry chemicals than are poisonous to them.

Next: Valentine’s Day Activities in the Bradenton Area

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

7 Tips for Staying Safe in Winter Weather

Weather experts say that our area hasn’t experienced this cold of winter weather in many years! While Bradenton’s winter weather will be brief and warm up over the weekend, here are some tips for staying safe during dropping temperatures.

1. Stay inside.

This is the best way to ensure that you are keeping safe and warm in the winter weather. The same goes for your furry family members. Keep them inside if possible. If you have pets that must stay outside, ensure they have access to shelter and unfrozen water.

2. Check on your loved ones.

Ensure that your family, friends and neighbors are safe as well, especially those that are more at risk: those that have young children, are elderly or are chronically ill.

3. Bundle up!

If you must go outside, make sure to wear many lightweight layers underneath a wind-resistant coat. Gloves, hats, scarves and waterproof boots will help maintain your body heat.

4. Take extra precaution when outdoors.

With cold and icy conditions in this winter weather, it’s advised to walk slowly, take a buddy with you, and always make sure you have your mobile phone with you.

5. Keep your generators outside.

These should never be kept in the home—even in the garage or basement—to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. This is also a good time to ensure that your CO detectors are functioning properly.

6. Don’t let your pipes burst!

To prevent your pipes from bursting, keep your faucet trickling water. You can also open the cabinet doors around your pipes in your bathroom and kitchen to allow warm air to reach your pipes, but make sure to remove any cleaning products if you have children or pets in your home.

7. Supervise your space heaters.

If using space heaters to heat your home during winter weather, make sure to keep them on a level surface and at least 3 feet away from any furniture, clothing, paper or any other flammable item. Also, make sure to turn these off before going to bed and leaving the room.

Next: Rainy Day Dun Near Riviera Dunes Marina

6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL

6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL

6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton, FL

Holiday season is in full swing! From dazzling parades to photo moments with Santa, there’s an abundance of free holiday events that you and your family will not want to miss. All the yuletide fun kicks off this weekend!

Here are six free holiday events near Bradenton, FL!

Jingle Paws Jubilee

Dec. 3, Noon–5 p.m.

Phillippi Estate Park, Sarasota

Even the furry family members get to join in on this holiday season! This Sunday, head to Phillippi Estate Park for the annual Jingle Paws Jubilee. At the jubilee, you can get your holiday shopping done as there are many exciting pet vendors as well as dogs and cats available for adoption! Then, don’t miss the Holiday Costume Parade & Contest, live DJ music, delicious food vendors, raffle prizes, demonstrations and more!

Holidays Around the Ranch

Dec. 8, 6–9 p.m.

Lakewood Main Street

Entering by a horse-drawn carriage, Santa Claus himself will make a grand appearance at Lakewood Main Street for the annual Holidays Around the Ranch. Grab some hot cocoa or eggnog as you peruse the vendors or join the carolers for a round of seasonal favorites. Kids will also enjoy the outdoor snow slide!

Poinsettia Parade and Tree Lighting & Poinsettia Festival

Dec. 9, Parade 5 p.m., Lighting and Festival 6:30–9:30 p.m.

North Port

The Poinsettia Parade is one of the free holiday events that you do not want to miss! Beginning at Sylvania Avenue, decorated vehicles and groups will join in in the Poinsettia Parade, led by North Port Fire Rescue. Of course, what’s a holiday event without St. Nick himself? Santa will of course make an appearance. Once the parade comes to a close as the tree lighting and festival kicks off! With live entertainment by Stone Krow and local school choirs, there will also be family-friendly events including face paintings and a giant slide as well as food and holiday vendors on site. Kids can meet Santa at City Hall, too! 

Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade

Dec. 9, 6–9 p.m.

Manatee River

Bradenton boat lovers will love the annual holiday boat parade! Volunteers from our local community join in every year to deck out their boats and ride along Manatee River for all to see. Spectators can best view the holiday boat parade from the Green Bridge Fishing Pier, Bradenton Riverwalk or Pier 22, where the judging takes place for best decorated boat!

2nd Annual Holiday Classic Movie on the Riverwalk

Dec. 15, 6–9 p.m.

Bradenton Riverwalk

Bring your lawn chairs or blankets, and don’t miss the beloved Christmas comedy, “Elf,” on Bradenton Riverwalk. Your whole family can join in to enjoy popcorn and other refreshments while you sit back and enjoy this holiday favorite. There will also be face painting fun, photo opportunities and music before the movie begins.

Main Street Live Street Party

Dec. 31, 6 p.m.–midnight

Old Main Street, Bradenton

End 2017 with a bang at the Main Street Live Street Party! Downtown Bradenton’s annual New Year’s Eve block party is back this year with folk-rock band Have Fun, Will Travel headlining the event. The street closes as vendors and local food trucks fill the streets for this fun final night of the year.

Next: Don’t Miss these 4 Breweries near Sarasota

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend! Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

The 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic is This Weekend!

It’s that time of the year! Make sure to clear your schedules because the 8th Annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic is back again this weekend and ready to wow you with amazing sand masterpieces!

Every year, professional sand sculptors from around the world come to Sarasota to participate in this international sandsculpting festival. Luckily, for us, the event is in our own stomping grounds, and we don’t have to travel too far to be a part of this exciting and unique annual event.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2017 Siesta Key Crystal Classic:

This year, artists hail from Canada, Czech Republic, Amsterdam, Lithuania, Singapore and various states in the U.S.

Kicking off this Friday, you can view and vote for the masterpieces crafted by master sand sculptors. For four days, there will be live music, a party tent and dining tent as well as shopping vendors. Looking to learn more about sandsculpting? There will be demonstrations and lessons for you to learn! Kids will also enjoy the Learning Curve, an art and science lab where they can expand their knowledge about Siesta Key’s own white quartz sand as well as other sand varieties from around the country.  Lastly, there will be fun competitions including a 10-minute quick sand competition and other amateur contests for your entertainment! See the full schedule here

On Sunday, the winner will be announced in an awards ceremony. Then, voting for the People’s Choice Award ends on Monday at 5 p.m., and the winner will be announced via the event’s Facebook page and website on Tuesday, the 14th. 

When: Friday, Nov. 10–Monday, Nov. 13

Hours:

  • Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
  • Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Admission:

Admission prices are based on a daily basis.

  • Adults $10
  • Children ages 5–17 $5
  • Seniors ages 65+ and Active and Retired Military $8

To avoid the crowds when parking, hop aboard the Siesta Key Breeze Free Trolley Service!

Next: Don’t Miss these 4 Breweries near Sarasota

6 Tips for Prepping for Hurricane Season

6 Tips for Prepping for Hurricane Season

6 Tips for Prepping for Hurricane Season Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

6 Tips for Prepping for Hurricane Season

Did you know that hurricane seasons runs through Nov. 30? Even if you don’t live in the hurricane hot spots like Orlando or Jacksonville, it’s always good to keep in mind the precautions for hurricane season if you plan to vacation there. Here are six tips to make sure you’re ready for hurricane season.

1. Plan ahead for emergencies.

When you’re in the thick of hurricane preparation, it can be hard to gather your thoughts for what to do next. You’ll need emergency supplies for you and your family, insurance will need to be ready in case of an emergency, and you must have a plan for your vehicles in the event that you need to evacuate.

2. Determine your hurricane season risk.

How will your home stand during flooding or wind? Are there trees leaning toward your home? Flooding is known to cause the most damage to your home, and this is especially a greater risk during hurricane season. You can see how your home rates for flood risk with these helpful maps.

3. Make sure you have insurance coverage.

Insurance coverage can often take up to 30 days to take effect, so it’s important to make sure you are covered now! From special deductibles to private homeowners insurance, there are several varieties of coverage that you can look into for your home. Flood insurance is a separate type of insurance that must be purchased outside of your homeowners insurance.

4. Locate your evacuation zone.

Investigate whether or not your home or vacation home is located in an evacuation zone. Evacuation zones are essentially any areas that can be affected by flooding.

5. Form your hurricane emergency plan.

Hurricane season emergency plans are crucial to ensure the safety of you and your family. From knowing where the emergency supplies are to where your family will meet in the event that you are dispersed, there are several scenarios that must be discussed just in case.

Your emergency plan might include where you will evacuate to and the basic procedures for securing your home. These procedures might include boarding the windows, moving patio furniture indoors, gathering essential supplies and knowing the plan for caring for your pets.

6. Be prepared for evacuation.

There are a few steps you can take to ensure a smoother evacuation process. First, make sure you have a full tank of gas. In the event that there’s a power outage, you might be unable to fill your car’s tank. Pack one car that you and your family will be using. Since congestion is expected on the road, taking one car will ensure that you can exit the area together and safely.

Next: 7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach is the #1 Beach in the U.S.

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach is the #1 Beach in the U.S.

Sarasota's Siesta Beach is the #1 Beach in the U.S. Riviera Dunes Marina

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach is the #1 Beach in the U.S.

Sarasota’s Siesta Beach has been awarded the No. 1 beach in the country by Professor Stephen “Dr. Beach” Leatherman! This is the second time that Siesta Beach has been acclaimed in the last seven years. 

It’s no surprise to us here at Riviera Dunes Marina! With its glistening white sand, Siesta Beach is a beautiful beach to visit year-round! Visitors flock to the beach every year for the crystal clear waters, fantastic shelling opportunities and much more. The beach has also been renovated recently to offer more parking opportunities as well as a free trolley for beachgoers to utilize.

Dr. Beach rates beaches from all over the country using 50 different criteria in order to score them for a total of 250 points. Siesta Beach scored a 238 out of 250 points! Some of the criteria included in the list are amenities, noise level, public safety, color of sand, number of sunny days and much more. The full criteria list can be found here

In addition to Siesta Beach, Florida’s Grayton Beach State Park and Caladesi State Park also ranked in Dr. Beach’s Top 10 U.S. Beaches of 2017 among beaches in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Are you looking for more fun things to do in Sarasota? From going snorkeling in seagrass to exploring the sandbars and taking luxury home tours, there’s much to see and do when visiting!

Next: 7 Things We Love About Sarasota, FL