LIVE SHRIMP ARE SMALL OR OUT OF STOCK
Finally! We know why live shrimp are small – during the summer, at least. We also found out what’s behind their sudden disappearances from bait shops across Florida, and in this short post, we’re going to cover both.
Florida’s live bait industry relies on wild pink shrimp populations in the Gulf of Mexico. The shrimp we stock in our bait tanks are caught the night before in waters off Florida’s west-central coast.
Because the shrimp are wild, their natural life cycle plays a central role in their size and availability throughout the year.
THE LIFE OF GULF PINK SHRIMP
These prized critters have a short lifespan of about two years.
They spend their first year in nursery habitats on the west coast of Florida, where many get scooped up for bait. A new generation of juvenile shrimp arrives in late spring each year.
The juveniles stay in the shallows until they reach maturity, usually by the following spring. After that, they migrate offshore to spend their second year in deeper waters.
Because mature shrimp leave around the same time new juveniles arrive, we’re left with small shrimp from early summer until the newcomers get bigger.
WHAT ELSE AFFECTS SHRIMP?
It’s no secret that shrimp are often missing from bait shops. We order them daily, but sometimes the shrimp have other plans.
Pink shrimp are cautious. They spend all day hidden in the sand and usually travel at night, but they will burrow at night too if there are unfavorable conditions. Strong winds, a bad storm, heat waves, and cold fronts can all set shrimp to digging.
Suppliers can’t catch them when they’re in the sand. Unfortunately, this behavior is not limited to summer and can cause supply troubles throughout the year.
FISHING WITHOUT LIVE SHRIMP
It’s frustrating when shrimp are out of stock or smaller than desired, but luckily they aren’t the only things that fish will bite. In their absence, we like to try out new lures and frozen baits, as well as catch our own bait with cast nets.
Stop by the shop to browse our latest selection of frozen baits and lures that are hand-picked for fishing in Indian River County, or check out our range of high-quality cast nets.
When the shrimp go on strike, you’ll be ready!
Keep an eye out for our next post that’s all about cast nets.
Author: Lauren Hamer