Thursday was another of those sunny and comfortable days around Galveston. A steady north to northeast wind discouraged many anglers from hitting the water, and for the few that did, the huge disappointment was the shortage of live shrimp.

While artificial baits do work well in the Galveston Bay complex, this time of year, live shrimp tends to be the preferred bait, along with small croaker. Croaker have been more widely available. However, for most anglers, it is live shrimp that they are after for bait.

Those of us who have fished the Galveston area a long time usually have stories to tell about their experiences with the shortages of live shrimp during July and August.

I suppose my most memorable experience was back in the early 1990s when all of the bait camps on Galveston Island had run out of shrimp by the time I arrived, and that was in the 8 a.m. time frame.

Before Jerry Smith‘s death, he, along with his wife Becky, owned West Bay Bait & Tackle, was one of the bait camps out of live shrimp. Smith, noticing my disappointment, was kind enough to call a bait camp on the Texas City Dike, and sure enough, they had a fairly good supply of the prized bait.

I made the run over there from near Jamaica Beach and purchased a quart and a pint of shrimp and headed back to Galveston. When I arrived at my boat dock and went to the 48-quart igloo to move the bait to my boat I saw that the aerator had become disconnected from the battery, and there it was, a bait container full of dead shrimp.

So, there are worse scenarios than seeing no white flags flying around the bait camps.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. Report your catch to or call 409-683-5273.

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