Often we receive requests from readers to discuss recreational bait shrimping and how to get started.
With the slow fishing at this time of year, this is a good time to address those questions. While most have to do with what is needed in the way of equipment and licenses, there is much more to it than that.
The license requirements are for each person in the boat to have a fishing license and a saltwater stamp. Additionally, the shrimp trawl must have a tag (license) affixed to it.
Bait or recreational trawls cannot exceed 20 feet in opening. The recreational limit is four quarts of shrimp per day.
The requirements are the easiest part of this. It certainly is appealing to think about going out and catching a limit of shrimp; however, if you have participated in recreational shrimping it is easy to see why more anglers do not get into it.
From the early 1960s until sometime in the 80s, I owned shrimp trawls and participated in recreational bait shrimping. While we did catch shrimp, it was rare that we ended up with our limit of four quarts.
Crabs were easy to catch in the trawls and, on many occasions, that would be the main purpose of the trip.
Most recreational shrimpers do not have the mechanical equipment found on commercial shrimp boats thus dropping and retrieving the trawl is by hand and is physically challenging.
I used to do my shrimping close to daybreak for two reasons. It tended to be better before sunrise and after around 10 a.m., the heat started taking its toll.
If you still have an interest in shrimping after this upbeat information session, I highly recommend you give it a try before investing in a shrimp trawl. A morning on the water pulling up a net full of debris with very few shrimp likely will change your mind.