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:


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL Riviera Dunes Marina

Top 3 Fishing Charters Near Bradenton, FL

Whether you’re a rookie fisherman or a well-versed angler, our local fishing charters are enjoyable for all skill levels! Here are our top three fishing charters near Bradenton.

1. Tailing Tales Charters

 941-812-6640 | 5800 Riverview Blvd, Bradenton

Book a fishing trip with Captain Kris Winkel of Tailing Tales Charters and you won’t be disappointed! Tailing Tales Charters offers fishing trips inshore and nearshore at the best fishing spots in the area. Climb aboard the custom 1972 222 Aquasport to begin the journey to your fresh catch. No need to worry about ice or cleaning your catches. Capt. Kris takes care of that for you. Since their charters are focused on the inshore and nearshore fishing areas, it’s an ideal setting for anglers ranging all levels of experience. However, offshore trips are offered in the Tampa Bay, Sarasota and Bradenton areas.


  • Half-day (4 hours): Starting at $400
  • Three-fourths day (6 hours): Starting at $550
  • Full day (8 hours): Starting at $700

2. Bass N’ Bay Charters

941-722-2033 | Tampa, Palmetto, Sarasota 

Also known for their exciting sightseeing boat tours, Bass N’ Bay Charters offers excellent fishing trips as well! Fishing charters with Capt. Brady are very customizeable as you can choose to fish in saltwater or freshwater as well as choose between live bait or artificial bait. Novice anglers will enjoy learning casting and baiting skills, and the well-experienced anglers will get their fair share of a challenging catch. 


  • Inshore saltwater fishing: Starting at $400 for a half-day trip
  • Offshore fishing: Starting at $500 for a half-day trip
  • Freshwater fishing: Starting at $350 for a half-day

3. Five O’Clock Charlie Boat Tours

941-527-8008 | 2504 88th St Ct NW, Bradenton

Make lasting memories with a fishing trip aboard Captain John’s boat. Experience a unique fishing trip with Captain John as you can choose between a combination of fishing and/or snorkeling, shelling and other exciting excursions. Also, no need to worry about bringing supplies with you. Captain John will have you covered and can lend you a rod, fishing license, tackle and bait, and he will also clean any of your catches!


  • Day charter: Starting at $150 per person
  • Half-day inshore fishing charter: Starting at $375 for three people
  • Full day of fishing inshore or off shore (up to 9 miles): $600 for 3 people.

*Off-shore trips are dependent on the weather

Next: Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

Anglers, Download this App and Help Track Invasive Fish

Anglers, Download this App and Help Track Invasive Fish


Anglers, Download this App and Help Track Invasive Fish

Florida recently partnered with the Swedish app, Fishbrain. Fishbrain allows fishermen to connect and share the best fishing spots, tide changes and any other fishing-related news that interest anglers.

Though, the partnership between the state and the app stems from Florida’s interest in locating invasive fish using the app’s data. With approximately 250,000 Floridians using the app already, the data will assist the state and wildlife officials to track down freshwater exotic fish.

Local fisherman, if you’re interested in joining the state in their research for invasive fish or simply connecting with fellow anglers, here’s how the free app works.  You can follow another angler, a type of fishing or fish species as well as view other helpful tidbits of information including the local weather report. Users can view and post photos as well as leave comments. The map feature also provides accurate locations of where fish are being caught, which is where you can help, local anglers!

In the state’s pilot project, they’ll be using the data taken from the mapping feature to track 15 species of fish. Fish include tilapia, bullseye snakehead and catfish, among others. As anglers log their catches in the app, this information is then delivered to wildlife officials. While anglers can choose whether or not to share their locations, as some fear the best fishing spots will become less of a secret, the state is hoping this will not deter them from assisting them in the project.

Fishbrain is free, but you also have the option to upgrade to the premium version, which includes special features like the fishing forecast and a species tracking map. The premium version costs $5.99 per month or $60 for an annual subscription.

Next: Your Guide to the 3 Best Boat and Water Tours in Palmetto, FL

Live Shrimp: The Best Bait During a Florida Winter

Live Shrimp: The Best Bait During a Florida Winter


Live Shrimp: The Best Bait During a Florida Winter

With the changing seasons, the appetite also changes for the fish in our Florida waters. Have you not been having much luck catching fish lately? Try baiting your hooks with live shrimp.

You’ll find that you’ll have great luck using live shrimp to catch redfish, black drum, sheepshead and other species depending on where you’re fishing.

If you happen to be traveling in the back country areas this holiday season, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see what this seasonal bait will catch you. Look out for catches of flounder and mangrove snapper in these areas.

Perhaps this is your first time using live shrimp as bait. Here’s how to bait a live shrimp depending on your fishing method:


Hook your live shrimp through the carapace, avoiding the stomach and pancreas. Your hook should be just under the shell and crosswise through the carapace.

Longer distance casting

For this fishing method, you’ll want to place the hook under the chin and through the carapace’s center. Hooking your live shrimp this way will allow for easier retrieval and a shorter lifespan for your bait.

Another way to bait your shrimp for this method is to go through its tail. By doing so, there is less risk of you losing your bait.

Fishing in grassy areas

To ensure there are no weeds on your casting rig when in these areas, remove the shrimp’s tail fan and insert the hook through the tip of the tail. In addition, going through the center of the tail prevents bottom snags. 

We wish you the best of luck during your holiday fishing trips this season!

Next: Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton

Where to Fish During Our Florida Winter

Where to Fish During Our Florida Winter


Where to Fish During Our Florida Winter

The colder weather may be upon us, but that doesn’t mean that the fishing pauses during winter! Snook, big jack crevalle, redfish and other species are plentiful at this time of year—you just have to know where to go.

Stick to the brackish areas of our area. That means the rivers, creeks and bayous are where you’ll find prime gamefish during a Florida winter. You might be wondering, ‘What’s so significant about the brackish portions of our local waters?’ The deeper, more guarded areas of these bodies of water offer more protection and warmth for gamefish, which is why they gather here during our Florida winter.

Other than the plentiful fishing, brackish waters offer many other positives for anglers. The guarded bodies of water are ideal for using small watercrafts, such as kayaks and jon boats, for angling as well as those that are shorebound. Another benefit is that artificial lures tend to do well in these murkier waters since there is more shoreline cover. 

Fly fishers, especially, can benefit from winter fishing in Florida. The local creeks offer a splendid opportunity for them to attract trout that are heading north.

Wondering where the best winter fishing in Florida is? From the Bradenton area to Sarasota, here’s where fishermen have been having luck: 

In the Tampa Bay and Bradenton area, kingfish, mangrove snapper and tarpon are plentiful. It’s been reported that trout, redfish and snook are frequenting the local bays as well. In Sarasota, you’ll be catching bluefish, snook, specks, mackerel and more. Then, if you head further south to the Venice and Nokomis areas, red grouper and snapper are currently being caught with whole squid as bait.

Next: Free Holiday Events Near Bradenton