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

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

What to Wear on Your Summer Fishing Trip

What to Wear on Your Summer Fishing Trip

What to Wear on Your Summer Fishing Trip Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

What to Wear on Your Summer Fishing Trip

Summer is prime time for fishing trips here around Riviera Dunes Marina, which means you have to know how to dress for the season and the climbing temperatures! The thing about dressing for summer is that you want to wear breathable, comfortable clothing, but you also want to make sure you’re protected from the sun. Whether you’re taking your boat out for your summer fishing trip or you’re going boatless and heading to the shores, here’s what you should wear so that you can have a great time catching our local fish!

Sunscreen

First things first, you want to protect your skin with plenty of sunscreen, especially during your summer fishing trip. Choose sunscreen that not only has a high SPF, but it is also sweatproof and waterproof! Of course if you have sensitive skin, make sure that you find a hypoallergenic formula that also fits the aforementioned requirements. Then, when you’re out fishing, reapply your sunscreen every couple hours.

Base layer

When choosing your base layer, find a shirt that contains 100 percent polyester and a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of at least 50, this way the sun will have a much more difficult time getting to your skin when you’re out on the water or in the sun all day. And if the shirt is water repellent, this is crucial so that when you sweat, it won’t be able to linger on your skin.

Top layer

Now that you’ve found your base layer, it’s time to get the perfect shirt for your summer fishing trip. You’ll do well with a 100 percent nylon shirt that will dry quickly, since this fabric is lightweight and more ventilated allowing you to have great breathability when you’re fishing. Some shirts even have insect repellent built into them, which is a bonus when it comes to fishing!

Bottoms

For your bottoms, it’s recommended to wear shorts. However, if you plan to spend a long day out fishing, with changing temperatures throughout the day, you could even wear pants that can be converted into shorts. Look for pants that have UPF 50+, are quick-drying, moisture-wicking and lightweight, yet durable, to withstand a full day on the water. Of course, the more pockets the better, so that you can hold any fishing tools if you’re in the water or away from your boat.

Shoes

There are two types of shoes you should wear when fishing this summer: flip flops and water shoes. You’ll want both types to be waterproof, comfortable and easily formed to your feet. Just like your bottoms, you want your shoes to be lightweight enough so that they are flexible and comfortable, but you also them to be durable enough to grip to wherever you’re standing when you get your big catch!

Hats and sunglasses

When it comes to hats and sunglasses, you’re providing an extra layer of sun protection from the sun. This of course doesn’t mean that you should forego sunscreen. Look for a wide-brimmed hat made with a waterproof material that will also protect your neck, face and ears from too much sun exposure. For sunglasses, wear those with 100 percent polarized lens but are also high-quality to ensure the best protection.

Gloves

Lastly, protect your hands with gloves during your summer fishing trip. While you might not wear these during the entire duration of your fishing trip, they are good to have should the weather grow colder or if it’s a particularly sunny day.

Next: What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip

What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip

What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip

What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip Riviera Dunes Marina Blog

What to Bring on Your Bradenton Fishing Trip

Summer is right around the corner, which means there’s plenty of time to take a day or more out of your schedules for a good ol’ Bradenton fishing trip. Here’s a helpful checklist to assist you when you’re ready for a day fishing out on Bradenton waters.

Your fishing license or permit

Whether you are a local or a visitor during your Bradenton fishing trip, you’ll need a fishing license or permit, which you can get on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website. However, you might not need a fishing license or permit if you meet the exemptions listed here. Make sure to do your homework before embarking on your fishing trip.

Rods and tackle box

What’s a Bradenton fishing trip without your rods and a stocked tackle box? Whether you have your single lucky rod that you always reach for or a few favorites, make sure to bring them on your trip! Then, check your tackle box to make sure you have extra fishing line, scissors, pliers to remove hooks, gloves and plenty of bait.

GPS and backup maps

Navigate your Bradenton fishing trip with ease when you have a GPS. If you don’t have a GPS within your boat, check out Google Earth on your phone in order to view a topographical map and find the best fishing spots in Bradenton. And though you might never need it, bringing the old paper map will certainly come in handy should your mobile devices fail.

First aid kit

It never hurts to be prepared in the event that there is an accident when you’re fishing. Check on your first aid kit to ensure there are bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze and adhesive tape to mend any unfortunate fishing accidents.

Stocked cooler

Even if you’re spending just a half day on the Bradenton waters for your fishing trip, you should always bring a stocked cooler. Make sure your cooler is packed with plenty of water and food. Plus, you might need a cooler if you’re fishing with live bait.

Protection from the sun

It’s likely there will be plenty of sun when you’re fishing in the Sunshine State. Don’t leave home without sunscreen, hats and polarized sunglasses to sufficiently protect yourself from the sun.

Next: 4 Tips for Protecting Yourself from the Florida Sun

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

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

Anglers, Download this App and Help Track Invasive Fish

Anglers, Download this App and Help Track Invasive Fish

anglers-download-this-app-and-combat-invasive-fish-riviera-dunes-marina

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

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