The Manatee River is a 60 mile long river in Manatee County, Florida. The lower part of the river which lies on the southern edge of Tampa Bay is an estuary, with Bradenton and other cities located along it’s banks.
From early spring to late fall fishing from the Green Bridge to the mouth of the river, an area called the bulkhead is a terrific mixed bag fishing. There are docks, grass flats, creeks, and bayous which provide great fishing on both sides of the river. With all the various structure types, snook, redfish, and trout all call this area home. Typically during this time of year the bait of choice is white bait or shiners, rigged with 20# to 30# fluorocarbon leader, with a #1 or #2 circle hook.
The banks of the Manatee River provide great cover on windy days. As winter gets colder the snook, redfish, and trout move up river to escape the cold water temps. So the winter months fishing deep holes and docks further up river, and in the Braden River have proven very effective. This time of year the bait of choice is shrimp rigged with 20# flurocarbon with #2 circle hook and sometimes a splitshot. The Manatee River is one of my favorite places to fish, the scenery is a beautiful glimpse of old Florida.