De Soto Ranchero Fishing Clinics

Fishing Clinic
De Soto Ranchero Participant catches a Flounder

Park Photo

The Ranchero

Historically, the waters surrounding De Soto National Memorial have been fished for centuries. First, by native peoples who stretched their long nets out into the centers of rivers and bays to reap the bounty that the seas provided. Later, the Spanish came and utilized this same resource as a lucrative industry. Spanish and Indian fishermen came up from the Spanish colonies of the Caribbean and established small camps and villages along the shores of the Gulf and Atlantic. These ranchos would become the basis of a longstanding tradition of recreational and commercial fishing in the waters around Florida. Today, fishing is the largest recreational past time in Florida.
De Soto National Memorial offers the De Soto Rancho Fishing Clinic. In this program, we take 10 participants chosen by lottery to receive education and instruction on ways and techniques for saltwater fishing. Each camp starts with a basic introduction to fishing rods, reels, lines, and lures. Proper knot tying techniques are shown and practiced so your catch won't slip away! Casting, one of the trickiest and important parts of fishing is practiced in a fun and safe way. Participants try to snag backyard bass on the lawn, and refine their casting technique. Finally, everyone will receive a crash course in identification of native fish species and the Florida rules and regulations that go along with each fish.
After all of this has been learned and practiced, it is then time to apply this knowledge by going fishing. Park staff will assist you on your first fishing experience in the park. We provide the rods and the bait. This program will give you a great tackle box of knowledge and skills going forward so that you will be able to go out and experience your own outdoor adventures.


Fish Clinic Sign-up

De Soto Ranchero Fishing Clinic is designed for children and adults ages 7 and up . Scheduled fishing clinics are Feduary 18, March 25, & 28 . One parent or guardian must accompany the child to the clinic. to sign up please call 941-792-0458 and speak to a ranger or send an e-mail . Please include child's name, age, parental contact name and phone number. If you have a large family, community group, Scout group, or school group please contact us and we can schedule a special date for you. Groups must consist of at least six children and no more than ten.


De Soto Ranchero Itinerary


● Introductions: Staff and volunteers introduce themselves to students (allow time for student introductions).
● Rules of the Classroom and Safety:
○ Listen to the instructor/adult and follow directions
○ Put your hand up if you want to speak/answer
○ We keep our hands/feet to ourselves
○ Respect each other and their belongings
○ Use kind words and be a good friend to everyone
○ Treat people the way you would like to be treated
○ Keep the classroom/area clean
○ Do not leave the group/go exploring on your own
○ Take care of our equipment
○ Be mindful of your surroundings
○ Work hard and participate
○ Have fun!!!






Students arrive. Sign in with ranger or volunteer.

Camp Uzita


Introduce staff and students. Discuss day schedule.

Camp Uzita


Rods and Reels- Learning about different types and how they work. Learn types of terminal tackle, and discuss the difference of circle hook vs. J hook.

Camp Uzita


Knot Tying- Learning basic knots and their use in fishing (improved clinch and uni). Learn how to properly hook bait and unhook fish.

Camp Uzita


Fish ID and regulations- learn common inshore species and about conservation through regulations. “What did we catch and can we keep it” activity with fish cutouts.

Camp Uzita


Casting- Set up backyard bass and learn the basics of casting a spinning rod and fighting a fish.



Lunch, snack, water, bathroom. Head to cove for fishing



Fishing begins!





Last updated: February 9, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

8300 De Soto Memorial Hwy
Bradenton, FL 34209


(941) 792-0458 x105

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