Live shrimp supplies continue to be scarce, with most bait shops receiving smaller than normal quantities and running out early.
Unfortunately, the supplies come in around mid-day, leaving the morning anglers with few, if any, shrimp to purchase.
John Hartley sent a note asking if this was a sign that our stocks of shrimp in Galveston Bay are in trouble. My reply was that long-time Galveston area anglers are accustomed to this and experience it each year. Some time around July 4, bay shrimpers begin catching fewer shrimp.
This comes at a time when live shrimp are the most desired bait by a majority of anglers. For hot weather fishing when trout and other fish are holding deep, live shrimp and croaker are usually the best baits.
Combine the seasonal demand with the seasonal drop off in numbers, and the result is obvious at the marinas and bait stores. Their white flags are lowered or removed.
Capt. Billy Howell and I were discussing this earlier this week, and he pointed out that during the first part of July this year, good supplies of live shrimp were widely available among the bait purveyors. This was unusual compared to other years.
We now are going through the shortage that normally begins much earlier each year.
In all of the discussions about live bait, we tend to ignore the virtues of dead bait. Fresh or freshly frozen dead bait is the key. Except for speckled trout, most fish will hit dead bait, especially the bottom feeders such as reds, black drum, pan fish and flounder.
So, if live shrimp are not available and you want to fish, try some fresh shrimp, squid or cut bait. If not accustomed to fishing with dead bait, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.