Sarasota Bay Estuary Program at Grassy Point Preserve

Holmes Beach – The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) Bay Guardian Volunteers are looking for additional volunteers to assist in the Grassy Point Preserve native plants restoration project October 10th from 9am until noon.

Located at 3099 Avenue C in Holmes Beach, volunteers will be planting coastal Florida native plants, and clearing litter from the 34 acre Grassy Point Preserve. Native plants help restore habitat, stabilize coastline from erosion,  and attract a diverse array of wildlife.

The Bay Guardian volunteers will be teaming up with Around the Bend Nature Tours, Chile’ Restaurant Group, the city of Holmes Beach and Manatee County Department of Parks and Natural Resources to make the event a success. New volunteers will receive blue Bay Guardian t-shirts, environmental education and a picnic lunch will follow.

Volunteers should wear closed toe shoes, long pants, hats, sunscreen and reusable water bottles are preferred. Towels and gloves will be provided or volunteers can bring their own.

Contact Darcy Young at or call 941-955-8085 to register as a volunteer.

Sarasota bay
Sarasota Bay

2015 Stone Crab Season on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island – The 2015/2016 recreational and commercial Stone Crab claw harvesting season opens October 15th with great anticipation on Anna Maria Island. A local favorite, Stone crab season is a time when islanders celebrate a delicious Florida natural resource with festivals, crab traps and lots of butter! Here’s everything you need to know about Stone Crab season on Anna Maria Island from how to properly catch Stone crabs, where to purchase them and how to cook em’ up.

Catching Stone Crabs

The Florida Stone Crab Season runs from October 15 – May 15 as cooler weather starts to make its way to Florida waters. Typically Stone Crabs are caught by baited crab trap; however, occasionally individuals will use scuba or snorkeling gear and catch Stone Crabs by hand with a dip or landing net. It is illegal to use harvesting methods that damage, crack, crush or injure the crab body such as spears or hooks. Harvesters may collect a gallon of claws per a person, or two gallons of claws per a vessel; which ever is less.

First, a Florida recreational saltwater fishing license is required by the person harvesting Stone Crabs. Harvesters may have no more than five baited traps per person. Traps must be pulled in manually. Anyone using a vessel rigged with a trap puller will be considered commercial, and must have the appropriate license. Traps may only be pulled during day light hours, and can be set out 10 days prior to the start of season. Traps put out before season may not be harvested until the October 15th season open. Traps must be set in navigational channels only.

Trap Specifications

Traps must be no larger than 8 cubic feet with a throat entrance of 5 1/2″ by 3 1/2″. For Miami-Dade, Collier and Monroe counties round trap throats are prohibited, and must be 5 1/2″ by 3 1/8″.  Traps can be made of wood, wire or plastic, and must have a 5 1/2″ by 3 1/2″ degradable panel of cypress or untreated pine salt. The address and name of the harvester must be clearly labeled on the trap. A buoy no larger than six inches labeled with 2″ R is required for traps not fished from a dock.

Stone crab trap
Florida Stone Crab trap specifications.

Stone Crabs Eligible for Harvest 

Not all Stone Crabs caught are eligible for harvest, and it’s extremely important precautions are taken in properly removing claws to ensure claws can be regrown and the removal leaves the crab unharmed.

Claws may only be harvested when the propodus, or the large immovable part of the claw, is greater than or equal to 2 3/4″. It is currently legal to harvest both claws from a Stone Crab if they are large enough, but is a frowned upon practice as it leaves the crab defenseless decreasing its chance to survive for another years harvest. It’s important that the claw is broken off properly with the diaphragm, or joint area, is intact to enable the wound to stop bleeding and regrow.

stone crab claw minimum size for harvest
Propodus length of a Stone Crab claw must be 2 3/4″ in length.

Females caring eggs are called ovigerous, and their egg sacs are called sponges. It is forbidden to harvest claws from ovigerous crabs. The Sponge can be found on the on the belly of the crab and are an orange or brown color. Ovigerous crabs must be thrown back immediately to avoid damaging the sponge. Females can only mate after a molt, or when they shed there exoskeleton, and do so in the fall. Often females will mate in the fall and hold sperm in sacs for up to a year waiting for spawning season in the spring or summer. It is easy to identify the difference between and male and female stone crab as the females have a short round abdomen and the males have a thinner long abdomen.

Where Stone Crabs are served on Anna Maria Island

Stone Crab season is a delicious time of year on the island with many opportunities to purchase them fresh or prepared. The Annual Stone Crab festival, located in the old fishing village of Cortez, is a great place to enjoy the tasty crustacean. The forth annual Stone Crab festival will be held November 7th and 8th from 10am to 6pm with arts crafts and live entertainment. The city of Cortez is just a short drive over the bridge to the mainland, and is one of the countries oldest fishing villages. With a rich history of fishing culture Cortez is the freshest place to find local Stone Crabs. Swordfish Grill and Star Fish Market are two great places to find Stone Crab in Cortez. Back on Island there are several places to find Stone Crab including the Island Fresh Market, The Sandbar, Blue Marlin, The Waterfront,  Rod & Reel Pier and many others.

Preparing Stone Crab at Home – Keep it Simple 

Once you get your stone crab claws home, if they haven’t already been steamed, give them a good rinse then place them over high heat in a steamer basket for about five minutes. While claws are steaming melt butter. Either chill claws or get to cracking and eating. About three claws per a person is a good standard. Mustard sauce is also a popular Stone Crab accompaniment with many recipes available online with a range of different ingredient options.

If you visit Anna Maria Island between October 15th and May 15th be sure to get your paws on Anna Maria Island’s tastiest claws!

Pictures and video credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife

Anna Maria Island Community Center Grand Re-opening Ribbon Cutting.

Anna Maria – The Anna Maria Island Community Center invites you to join them on October 5th at 6pm to celebrate the grand re-opening of the center with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

After overcoming financial struggles of the past few years, and currently in the phase of assessing and restructuring current programs The Anna Maria Island center is on a path to a new and improved gathering place. The Mission of the Anna Maria Island Community Center is “to empower and inspire people of all ages, especially our youth, by providing learning opportunities, strengthening families, building healthier bodies and fostering volunteerism.”

The Anna Maria Island Community Center is located at 407 Magnolia Avenue. The day of the ribbon cutting refreshments and tours will begin at 6pm with the ribbon cutting at 7pm.

AMI Community Center
Anna Maria Island Community Center Ribbon Cutting on October 5th.

Follow the Anna Maria Island Center on Facebook for daily updates of activities!


15th Annual Bay Fest

Anna Maria – The Island’s largest and longest running event, Bay Fest is back in its 15th year! Saturday, October 17th Bay Fest runs from 10am-10pm, and is located on the corner of Pine Avenue and North Bay Boulevard.

Enjoy a selection of local vendors offering arts, crafts, food, music and fun. A classic car show with over 100 entries will line Pine Avenue while local musicians entertain. A free of charge family friendly event, the kid zone will have games and a bounce house. Local non profit The Anna Maria Privateers will bring their beloved pirate ship Scully Wag; a staple of any island event.

The music line up goes all day including:
Emcee Mike Sales – 10am-10pm
Can’t Turn Left – 11am-12pm
Billy Rice Band – 1-2:30pm
Whiskey Blind – 3-5pm
Koko Ray 5:30 – 7:30pm
Shotgun Justice (The Karen & Jimmy Band) 8 – 10p

Anna Maria Island Bay Fest
Bay Fest on Pine Avenue






Bay Fest 2015  is organized by the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by AMI Fitness and La Pensee Plumbing, pools and air.

Anna Maria Island Fishing Charters Sept 21-26 2015 Trip Report



Redfish Anna Maria Island

Super moon brings super fishing…

This week we saw the approach of the “super full moon”  which brought higher than normal tides and outstanding fishing. Bait is everywhere from the Skyway Bridge to the piers on Anna Maria Island and Ft. Desoto. Usually wherever the birds (Sea Gulls, Pelicans, and Terns) are working the water and diving there is going to be bait. Like I stated before, the super moon brought some super fishing. The Redfish bite picked up this week as we saw incoming tides during the first part of the mornings. We have been catching all sizes of Redfish from 15″ – 30+” and in all different areas. Most of the Redfish have been feeding on the incoming tide and the first part of the outgoing tide on  grass flats near and around Anna Maria Island. Look for the Mullet schools and you should be able to get a couple of Redfish mixed in with the Mullet. The Snook have been mixed in with the Redfish as well and most have been around the 25″ mark. Most of the bigger Snook are feeding at night on the full moon. The Trout bite has remained consistent and have been found on the deeper edges of grass area in about 4′-5′ of water. The Mackerel bite is on fire right now and can be found anywhere there is large schools of bait. This week we found them near the shipping channel in Tampa Bay and out off the public beach on Anna Maria Island. The Kingfish should be here any day and we are going to look forward to some nice “screamers” on the line!

If you are looking to book a fishing charter trip and are near Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Longboat Key, Sarasota, or Tampa Bay book with Anna Maria Inshore Fishing LLC. call or text fishing guide Captain Kyle Taylor (941) 345-7182

For photos and videos check out my FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages.


French Table – Provence cuisine in Bradenton Beach

Bradenton Beach – Nestled between Island Cream and One Stop Shell Shop just north of Historic Bridge Street on Gulf Drive sits a cozy little gray and red store front with a simple sign reading “French Table”. Not much from the outside, this newly renovated authentic French restaurant is anything but ordinary.

French Table goat cheese salad
Warm Goat cheese salad with fresh made crostini.

Opening their doors in 2014, French Table owners the Florcards are Provence natives with a passion for serving fresh authentic French cuisine. Chef and owner Bertrand sources his food locally and direct from France.

Newly renovated the French Table offers a cozy atmosphere in a bistro style setting. The dining room is causal with a rustic feel, and the wooden bar offers beers and fine wines primarily from the south of France.

With something for everyone, the menu is chef crafted with a small selection of classic, clean Provence inspired dishes. Appetizer offerings include mussels with french butter, and parsley or Shrimp salad with mango and grapefruit. Entrees range from lighter seafood dishes, like Grouper with mango sauce and rice, to heavier meals like the Duck breast with honey sauce and potato gratin. When you visit the French Table be sure to try some of the chefs daily fresh baked bread. The desserts at French Table are home made offering different selections of fresh pies including lemon meringue and strawberry.

Lemon Meringue pie bradenton beach
Lemon Meringue pie

For an authentic Provence dining experience head over to French Table today!

Reservations excepted 941-779-1930.

chef owners the Florcards the french table
The Florcards

French Table
103 Gulf Drive North
Bradenton Beach, Fl 34217

May-December; Tuesday-Saturday 5-10pm
January-April; Tuesday-Sunday 5-10pm



Anna Maria Island Fishing Charters Sept 14 – 20 2015 Report

Bradenton Snook Fishing

Steady as she goes…

This week has been just that, steady. We are between moon cycles and saw moderate tidal movement in combination with most fishing trips this week falling on the outgoing tide which has made fishing slow and steady. We managed to catch plenty of fish this week, just at times we had to wait for the fish to turn on. The bite has been stronger on the incoming tide and the first part of the outgoing. The fish this week seemed to totally shut down near the bottom end of the outgoing tide.  Bait is plentiful out around the beach of Anna Maria Island and near the northern piers of the island. The Snook, Trout, and Mackerel bite has been the best this week. Most of the Snook we are catching are around the 25″ mark near the edges of creeks and outflows of flats around Terra Ceia and around the mouth of the Manatee River. The Trout and  Mackerel have been hanging on the edges of deeper grass near the main channels around Palma Sola Bay and the Cortez bridge. We are also picking up a handful of Snapper while we are Troutand Mackerel fishing. The Redfish bite has been tough this week and we only managed to catch a handful this week. Next week as we approach the full moon we will have better tides and the higher water will be in the mornings which should pick up the Redfish bite.

If you are looking to book a fishing charter trip and are near Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Longboat Key, Sarasota, or Tampa Bay book with Anna Maria Inshore Fishing LLC. call or text fishing guide Captain Kyle Taylor (941) 345-7182

For photos and videos check out my FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages.

Island Gourmet Grill

Holmes Beach – Offering fresh seafood, pizza, fabulous lunch options, fine wine, craft beers and the classic Italian favorites Island Gourmet Grill has a little of something for everyone.

Fresh Seafood
Fresh Seafood at Island Gourmet Grill

Offering a bar, lounge area, indoor and outdoor seating, Island Gourmet is a fun place to relax and dine in a hip atmosphere. Take a seat at the bar and enjoy a glass of wine and oysters on the half shell while watching the open pizza kitchen chefs tossing the best pizzas. Even better, if you don’t feel like dining out, have a pizza delivered to you anywhere on Anna Maria Island.

The dining room at Island Gourmet Grill is casual and comfortable perfect for a quick lunch or a fine dining experience.

The lunch fare is truly American style cuisine with salads, quesadillas, flat breads, wraps, chicken wings, personal pizzas, sandwiches and the always popular fish tacos.

The dinner menu is chef crafted and loaded with seafood and Italian options. Enjoy delicious selections such as the shrimp scampi with pappardelli pasta, Veal Milanese, or the Filet Mignon topped with onion straws. Don’t forget to try out the fabulous desserts like the Key Lime Pie or Tiramisu.

Island Gourmet Grill offers nightly specials.
Mondays buy one get one pizza free.
Taco Tuesday with $1 tacos.
Wednesdays buy two entrees and get a free bottle of wine.
Thursdays enjoy New Orleans style fish and chips.

Happy Hour is offered daily from 12-6pm with $5 glasses of wine and $2 bottles of beer. The wine menu at Island Gourmet Grill is extensive with almost any popular varietal.

Island Gourmet Grill Catering menu is full of fun options for any event including Hors D’ Oeuvres, Platters, Bruschetta, Carving Stations, Desserts and Cakes.


Outdoor lounge area at Island Gourmet Grill

For a relaxing delicious meal head over to Island Gourmet!

Hours: Lunch Monday – Friday 11:30am; Dinner Monday – Saturday 5pm

Reservations not necessary. Call 941-778-0333.

For information about Island Gourmet Grill visit our Area Map Restaurant Listings.

Anna Maria Island Fishing Charters Sept 1 – 13 2015 Report

Redfish Mackerel Trout

I’m back from the little break I took in August…

Lets start off with bait… its everywhere. The trick is finding good quality size bait, finding bait that is mostly pilchards, and not mixed in with smaller threadfins. Most of the bait on the flats, piers, and bay structure is still a little on the small side. The weather towards the end of this week has been challenging for charter fishing trips as a weak front that push down on us. We saw rain and  moderate wind on Saturday and Sunday brought a band of rain and some higher winds.

The Redfish bite has been the most challenging over the past two weeks. We have been catching Redfish but the larger schools that have been around lower Tampa Bay have not been feeding too well. Most of the Redfish we are catching have been in smaller groups near bayou’s and larger grass flats around Anna Maria Island.  The Snook bite has been steady around ambush points near or on the flats when the water is moving. We manged to get a keeper Snook that measured 29″ this past week.  The trout,mackerel, and snapper bite has been very productive on the edges of channels where the deeper grass flats met the channel edges.

If you are looking to book a fishing charter trip and are near Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Longboat Key, Sarasota, or Tampa Bay book with Anna Maria Inshore Fishing LLC. call or text fishing guide Captain Kyle Taylor (941)

For photos and videos check out my Facebook, Instagram, andTwitter pages.

Luxury Golf Cart Rentals on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria – If you are looking to ride in style during your Anna Maria Island vacation look no further than Lux Carts because the ultimate vacation deserves the ultimate ride!

Anna Maria based Lux Carts offers various eye catching street legal models to fit all your family and friends. Lux Carts offers convenient delivery to any location on the island.

Each Lux Cart is hand crafted in the USA and is outfitted with a comfort grip steering wheel, custom seats, hi-end performance tires, and a carbon fiber dash with smart phone ready music technology.

The Gilbert family cares; 10% of all Lux Carts profits are donated to the Anna Maria Island Elementary School, the Leukemia Society, and many other local charities.

The Gilbert family was inspired to build Lux Carts in the hopes to offer “your family and friends a fun and exciting way to laugh, reconnect, and create precious memories that will last a lifetime.” Visit or call 941-254-7775 to reserve your ultimate golf cart today and receive $25 off! (coupon code: ultimate). Lux Carts sell out fast, so book today to create your ultimate vacation!

Visit Lux Carts online or call 941-254-7775 to reserve your fabulously stylish luxury golf cart today!