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

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

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

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Learn About Bonito Fishing in Sarasota

Do you know about the bonito fish? Let’s learn about this feisty game fish that you may encounter this winter.

The bonito fish is a game fish that is known to frequent the Sarasota area. You may hear these fish referred to as ‘bonita’ or even ‘bonehead.’ Bonito fish, named for their aesthetically pleasing exterior, are speedy and powerful game fish. Their speed and power often causes spools to empty very quickly since they put up quite a fight when you’ve hooked them.

Bonito often travel in schools and will remain in our waters much longer after most pelagics have migrated. You’ll find that seabirds easily spot them when an underwater commotion arises while they’re feeding on small baitfish.

Wondering how to catch them? You’ll be successful with small jigs, spoons and flies, which are often used by sportsmen. Try going to nearshore reefs and catching them by way of bottom fishing; you’ll be surprised when they’re suddenly hooked with a light tackle. The force of the bonito will quickly clue you in that you’ve caught this spirited species.

Though the bonito fish are cousins of the tuna, you’ll want to save these as bait for shark instead of for the dinner table.

Where to Fish Now

The Tampa Bay and Bradenton Area is currently brimming with flounder, large mackerels, black sea bass, grouper, pompano and bluefish.

Sarasota is where you’ll find trout, snook, ladyfish, sea trout and redfish, and bluefish are present as well.

When you’re in the Venice and Nokomis Beach area, expect grouper, snapper, speckled trout and more snook.

The Lemon Bay and Englewood area is bountiful with sea trout, snook, redfish, barracuda and cobia.

There’s much to catch this winter. Happy Fishing!

Learn more about snook here.