Summer Shrimp Run – Halifax River

July 2016 Update: Shrimp are running in Daytona.


There’s little doubt that the summer heat in Florida can be brutal.  June – September fishing usually means waking up before daybreak so you can try and beat the heat.  After about 11:00, most folks call it quits.

Volusia county has a unique summer past time that not only helps keep you cool but also provides an excellent opportunity to stock the freezer.  The yearly shrimp run in the Daytona Beach area of the Halifax River is a very popular with the local residents.  Unlike the night shrimping that goes on south of here in the Oak Hill area, the majority of our shrimping happens in the middle of the day.

White shrimp, heading out of the estuaries surrounding Flagler and Volusia county, make their way south down the intracoastal starting in the early spring and continuing through the late fall. Typically, we see the larger shrimp in the fall and spring. The smaller shrimp are more common in the summer. Eventually, these schools of shrimp will find their way out of Ponce Inlet and head to sea.

Many times the best part of a shrimp run is around the full moon when the water is moving faster but there are many other factors that go into it. A good amount of rain like we’ve had recently will also get them up and milling around. In my opinion, the best tide to focus on is the last part of the incoming and the first part of the outgoing.

I would encourage the use of a fish finder as well. A lot of times when the shrimping is really good, the boats will bunch up together and it’s pretty easy to find out where the shrimp are. However, when there’s fewer boats, a finder can really come in handy. Once you figure out what shrimp look like on your machine, that takes all the guess work out of blind casting, which can be exhausting.

For recreational fishermen, I would recommend using a 10-12 ft. shrimp net for the best results. Most of the serious local shrimpers get their nets custom made to their liking. Ed Shoemaker is a local net maker from Ormond Beach that provides an excellent product at a very reasonable price.  He’s on the following YouTube video to help teach you how to throw a cast net…


Other items you may want to bring with you include: 5 gallon bucket (this is the daily recreational limit), ice chest (you’ll want to keep your catch real cold), mason’s tray (dump your catch in these to help sort as well as helps to keep the boat clean), rubber gloves (makes pulling the cast net rope a little easier on your hands), towel and change of clothes (self explanatory).

If you’re interested in a shrimping charter, I do those as well.  Please don’t hestitate to get in touch with me if you want to book a trip or just talk fishing.

Signing off until next time, Capt. Kyle.

Check out this week’s local fishing report!


Fish, fish everywhere you throw a line

Capt. Kyle Busby shows off a 13.6-pound, 34-inch snook caught on live shrimp in the Port Orange area. NOBIGREEL.COM/CAPT. KYLE BUSBY

Published: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 11:31 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 4:06 p.m.

Before Tropical Storm Colin blew in and out of Florida, fishing was pretty good in the area. Anglers can expect a good week of fishing now that the weather has cleared.

SURF, PIERS: Tom Farnham at Your Rod & Reel in Daytona Beach Shores said those casting into the surf are catching bull whiting. “And believe it or not, we still have pompano around,” he said. “The sand fleas are showing up on the beach for the first time in three years and we think that is what is keeping the pompano around.” Farnham said several of his regulars are catching redfish, black drum, sheepshead and bluefish. “Everybody is catching something,” he added. The piers are led this week by Sunglow Pier which reported catches of mangrove snapper, redfish, flounder, jacks and black drum. The Flagler Beach Pier has been in a slump in recent days with the primary catch being catfish and puppy sharks. The Daytona Beach Pier has been “kind of slow,” according to Gene Lytwyn, who owns The Fishin’ Hole in the downtown area. He said anglers are catching some flounder and a few whiting.

OFFSHORE: Lytwyn said one of his customers caught a 60-pound wahoo and a 20-pound king on a recent ocean troll, before Colin showed up. “We’re still seeing a good number of dolphin, too,” he added. On the bottom-fishing side of the offshore equation fishermen are packing their coolers with gag grouper, triggerfish, sea bass and mangrove snapper, according to Jeff Burkhead at Fishin’ Cove Bait & Tackle in New Smyrna Beach. “We had one guy come in with photos of three Goliath groupers he caught all over 200 pounds,” Burkhead said. “He jumped in the water to take photos of them before releasing them.” Goliaths are off limits to keep. “Bottom fishing has been really good lately,” Lytwyn added.

PONCE INLET, HALIFAX RIVER: Capt. Kyle Busby of has been working the area between the inlet and Dunlawton Causeway in recent days. “Around Port Orange, the larger snook are getting ready to spawn on the next full moon, so they are fat,” Busby said in an email report. “Recent trips have produced more quality snook than the smaller schoolies.” Busby said he has been free-lining live shrimp in creeks during tide changes and catching trout, reds, flounder, jacks and mangrove snapper.” Lytwyn said there are black drum in the Granada Bridge area, plus a few flounder hanging around. “Up in Spruce Creek, they are catching and releasing snook and landing redfish,” Lytwyn said. In the inlet flounder are taking live mullet, mud minnows and soft plastic artificials while black drum are gobbling up live shrimp or blue crab. On the south side of the inlet, Burkhead said his regulars are catching quite a few flounder, plus oversize redfish. “Those big reds are always in there,” Burkhead said.

TOMOKA BASIN, RIVER: Lytwyn said anglers are catching redfish in the basin and black drum up the river near the U.S. 1 span. “And we are seeing snook being caught in Thompson’s Creek,” he said. “But of course, they are out of season right now.”

MOSQ. LAGOON, INDIAN RIVER: Al Huffman at Lagoon Bait & Tackle in Edgewater says there are plenty of fish around, if you can find them. “Seeing a bunch of redfish and trout,” he said. “We’re seeing most of them coming out of Tiger Shoals and Slippery Creek.” Haulover Canal is holding some big black drum. Around New Smyrna Beach, Burkhead said river anglers are catching trout and mangrove snapper. Burkhead said blue crab trappers are having a field day right now. “Crabbing has been really good,” he said.

MATANZAS INLET, RIVER: Devil’s Elbow Fish Camp, which is located north of the inlet, reports a flounder run in the inlet and river, while other anglers are hauling in redfish and black drum in the river flats using mud minnows for bait.

ST. JOHNS RIVER: Capt. Rick Rawlins can’t explain it but anglers are enjoying a run of speckled perch, which usually show up in the fall and winter months. “People are catching up to 20 of them at a time, up to 2-pounds big, by vertical jigging in the run,” Rawlins said. Bluegill are plentiful and caught by tossing crickets along the bank. Bass have slowed down, but those being caught are taking wild shiners early in the morning.

Check out this week’s local fishing report

Matanzas and offshore waters are filled with fish

By Godwin Kelly
Published: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at 5:42 p.m.


Patricia Fournier, Charleston S.C., with her first snook ever caught. 31″, 10 lbs. (photo by Capt. Kyle Busby)

To find the best fishing in the area, you must go north, to the Matanzas River and Matanzas Inlet area, where anglers are catching a little bit of everything. Offshore fishing has picked up, too.

MATANZAS INLET, RIVER: Capt. Chris Herrera of said he has been targeting the influx of flounder. “We are catching them on the incoming tide right up to high tide,” he said. “We’re throwing bait in creek holes and fishing the shallow flats on the high tide. All places with bait around are holding flounder.” Herrera said he’s been averaging 20 to 25 flounder each day up to 19 inches long. Up around the inlet, the trout bite has been solid on the incoming tide fishing in 6- to 8-feet of water. And if you end up on the water during low tide, Herrera said you have a better chance of catching a redfish using cut bait such as ladyfish, crab or mullet. “Yeah, fishing has been pretty good,” he said.

OFFSHORE: Those with the means to get out to the big blue are having a field day in the ocean. Gene Lytwyn, who was the weighmaster at the recent King of the Inlet Tournament, said 45 boats weighed fish including numerous dolphinfish, wahoo and king mackerel. “There were two or three boats with sailfish,” said Lytwyn, who owns The Fishin’ Hole. Some of Lytwyn’s bottom-fishing customers have been catching triggerfish and cobia. Jeff Burkhead at Fishin’ Cove Bait & Tackle in New Smyrna Beach said the charter boat Southwind went out over the weekend and came back with “19 gaffers” — all dolphin, plus a wahoo. “All those dolphin were 20- to 30-pounds big,” Burkhead said. “Another boat that docks here bottom fished some nice cobia and grouper.”

SURF, PIERS: Until the area sees the big mullet run, the catch will be spotty along the beach, according to Scott Morrison at Your Rod & Reel in Daytona Beach Shores. “We had a customer catch a dozen whiting and took four home,” he said. “We had another guy catch four pompano, and had one keeper. There’s no run of one fish but a myriad of everything.” Burkhead said surf casters in New Smyrna Beach are catching mostly whiting. “But there’s been a few stragglers like trout, sheepshead and pompano,” he said. Amy Jarvis at the Sunglow Pier said her anglers are catching whiting, redfish and flounder. “We’ve seen a few sharks, and one gentleman caught a barracuda,” she said. “And we’re seeing a lot of ladyfish.” The Flagler Beach Pier has seen some interesting catches over the last week. The catch board had flounder, whiting, sheepshead and ladyfish. But in recent days, one angler pulled up a whopper, 9-pound flounder that measured 26 inches and another young fisherman caught a 25-inch cobia when he spotted a ray and tossed a bait under it. Lytwyn said the Daytona Beach Pier is holding flounder, whiting and some redfish.

PONCE INLET, HALIFAX RIVER: Capt. Kyle Busby of has been hammering the river waters around Port Orange. “It’s been really good on the fishing scene,” he said. “The creeks around Port Orange are producing lots of mangrove snapper. Once you weed through those, there are catches of snook, redfish, flounder, black drum and jacks.” Busby said he has free-lined shrimp to get the best results. “The snook bite is the highlight and will only continue to get better though the summer,” he said. Lytwyn reports a high volume of black drum being caught around the Granada Pier and around the Seabreeze Bridge. “They are catching oversized snook way, way up Spruce Creek,” he said.

TOMOKA BASIN, RIVER: Capt. Justin Long of fished Tomoka five times in the last week and caught gobs of snook. “In total, caught over 20 snook around mouth of Strickland Creek on suspending twitch bait,” Long said. “The tarpon bite has been really hot this past week; early morning and late evening is the best bite.” Long said he caught some keeper-sized mangrove snapper in Strickland free-lining shrimp. Lytwyn said some of his regulars have been snagging black drum in the basin and some trout around the island areas.

MOSQ. LAGOON, INDIAN RIVER: Al Huffman at Lagoon Bait & Tackle in Edgewater said everybody is catching fish, if they know the secret. “The water is clouded so you look for birds, who are attracted by bait,” he said. “The fish follow the bait, too.” Huffman said anglers are pulling up redfish, trout and flounder. “The fish came in a few weeks ago and we (are) skinny,” he said. “They are getting fatter now. They’ve been eating really good, so there’s more meat on them.” Burkhead said flounder are scattered throughout the river in the New Smyrna Beach area. “Mangrove snapper is a good catch,” he said. “They’re getting bigger every week. And we’ve seen some nice snook around the bridge areas.”

ST. JOHNS RIVER: Capt. Bryn Rawlins at Highland Park Fish Camp in DeLand emailed a report from West Volusia. “We are seeing shellcracker come in,” she said. “Also, other pan fish like warmouth and bluegill are doing well, too, by using crickets or minnows and pitching up against the bank and tree tops of the Norris Dead River.” Rawlins said bass fishing is solid on the main St. Johns River using both live bait and artificial. “Surprisingly, we are seeing some decent speckled perch catches coming in and they are of a pretty good size.”

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Check out this week’s local fishing report!

Gator Trout

Fishing Report: Fat pompano appearing up and down the coast


Fishing is up in all areas, from offshore to the St. Johns River, anglers are enjoying a hearty catch.

SURF, PIERS: There was a lilt in Tom Farnham’s voice when he reported on surf fishing over the last week. “Fishing has improved,” he declared from his post at Your Rod & Reel in Daytona Beach Shores. “We had a guy catch seven pompano down around the inlet, and another got some in Ormond Beach. It’s a little earlier than I expected, but they’re starting to come in. They are big, fat pompano.” The pompano are gobbling up cut clam. Farnham suggested prepping clams in salt that contains no iodine. “You kind of marinate them overnight in salt,” he said. “It toughens the clam meat up.” Jeff Burkhead at Fishin’ Cove Bait & Tackle in New Smyrna Beach offered a similar report in the southern side of Volusia County. “It’s been real productive with pompano,” he said. “Everybody is happy and catching lots of fish.” Daytona Beach Pier anglers are getting plenty of action off the planks. Gene Lytwyn at The Fishin’ Hole said veterans and novices alike are landing keeper-sized, upper-slot redfish. “We’ve seen some reds that are around 26 inches, and round like a football,” Lytwyn said. “They are also getting some nice pompano and some big sheepshead.” The Flagler Beach Pier report catches of black drum, whiting, bluefish and trout.” The Sunglow Pier has had a run of whiting in the last week.

OFFSHORE: Burkhead said offshore fishing has been quite productive in the last week. “We’re seeing some very good fishing,” he said. “We’ve had several boats get out and they’re all doing good.” The offshore catch includes cobia, dolphin, wahoo, jacks, sea bass and various types of snapper. “Trolling, bottom fishing, it’s all good,” he said.

PONCE INLET, HALIFAX RIVER: Capt. Kyle Busby of has been fishing the Port Orange area with a lot of success. “The trout bite continues to be the best thing going inshore,” Busby said. “We are focusing fishing around islands (in the river). Top water in the morning is always a good option and the incoming tide has been best. We’re also catching a bunch of small reds, black drum, sheepshead, bluefish, jacks and ladyfish.” Busby said he has hooked into some snook in Spruce Creek. “The bite is average and the water is pretty dirty,” he said. Around the metro bridges, Lytwyn said fishermen are catching trout “really early in the morning.” He said half the trout are keeper-sized. “We got a few guys catching snook, but they have all been shorts,” Lytwyn said. Burkhead said the primary inlet catch has been sheepshead.

TOMOKA BASIN, RIVER: Capt. Barry Englehardt of said he has been fishing the incoming tide around the islands separating the Intracoastal and basin. “We’ve been very productive on reds and trout,” he said. “The sun late in the morning and afternoon has sparked a snook bite in the river.” Just north of Tomoka, Lytwyn said one of his regulars “caught a mess of trout” around Highbridge. Norm Echelberry, who is an avid angler from Ormond Beach, said there’s a school of juvenile tarpon in a Tomoka Estates lake near the river. “They’re not biting on anything,” he said in an email report. “I have tried lures, live shrimp and mullet. Nothing is working.”

MOSQ. LAGOON, INDIAN RIVER: Al Huffman at Lagoon Bait & Tackle in Edgewater said the bite has been generous. “Black drum and redfish around Tiger Shoals, plus decent trout around Eldora and Slippery Creek, and we’re seeing snook just about everywhere.” Anglers are catching all sorts of bruisers in Haulover Canal, according to Huffman, who said he’s seen photos of a 50-inch redfish and a 42-inch black drum that have come from those fertile waters. The river around New Smyrna Beach has slowed up, but Burkhead said anglers are pulling up mangrove snapper and sheepshead around docks, plus black drum in the south bridge area.

MATANZAS INLET, RIVER: Karen Miles at Devil’s Elbow Fish Camp north of the inlet said redfish are thick on the flats, plus there are big schools of trout “all over the place.” And she added there were “bluefish galore.”

ST. JOHNS RIVER: Capt. Bryn Rawlins from Highland Park Fish Camp in DeLand said speck fishing has steadily picked up. “With a little more consistent cooler weather, we are seeing more catches and bigger fish come in,” she said in an email report. “Open water in Lake Woodruff has been the best for catching them. Right around the new moon on Feb. 7 should be a good time to go after them. Bass fishing is also doing pretty fair. Decent catches coming in ranging up to 8-pound fish.”