Summer Shrimp Run – Halifax River

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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…https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=clsO_8D8iiU

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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.

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Snook harvest seasonal closure in Atlantic starts Dec. 15

Capt. Kyle Busby (Nobigreel.com) had a charter out last Thursday. Daytona Beach Shores' Campbell Buchanan shows off his 28-inch snook from Spruce Creek caught free-lining live jumbo shrimp. Other catches that day included reds, trout and mangrove snapper with some smaller pesky jacks mixed in.

Capt. Kyle Busby (Nobigreel.com) had a charter out last Thursday. Daytona Beach Shores’ Campbell Buchanan shows off his 28-inch snook from Spruce Creek caught free-lining live jumbo shrimp. Other catches that day included reds, trout and mangrove snapper with some smaller pesky jacks mixed in.

The recreational harvest season for snook closes Dec. 15 in Atlantic state and federal waters, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River, and will remain closed through Jan. 31, 2017, reopening to harvest Feb. 1. Anglers may continue to catch and release snook during the closed season.


Gulf state and federal waters, including Monroe County and Everglades National Park, closed Dec. 1 and will reopen to harvest March 1, 2017.


This and other regular season closures are designed to help protect the species during vulnerable times such as cold weather.

For more information on snook, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”

Snook reopens in Atlantic state waters

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The recreational harvest season for snook reopens on Sep. 1 in Florida’s Atlantic coastal and inland waters (from the Miami-Dade/Monroe county line north), including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. The season will remain open through Dec 14th.

In the Atlantic, anglers may keep one snook per day that is not less than 28 or more than 32 inches total length, which is measured from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed while the fish is lying on its side. A snook permit is required to keep snook, along with a saltwater fishing license, unless the angler is exempt from the license requirements. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed when targeting or harvesting snook.

It is illegal to buy or sell snook.

Snook are one of the many reasons Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. As a result, the FWC encourages anglers to use moderation when determining whether or not to take a snook home, even during the open season.

Researchers ask anglers who harvest the fish to save their filleted carcasses and provide them to the FWC by dropping them off at a participating bait and tackle store. This program allows anglers to participate in the collection of data such as the size, age, maturity and sex of Florida’s premier inshore game fish, snook. For a county-by-county list, go to MyFWC.com/Research and click on “Saltwater,” “Snook,” and “Snook Anglers Asked to Help with Research.”

The harvest of snook in all of Florida’s Gulf of Mexico state waters, including Everglades National Park and all of Monroe County, remains closed until March 1. Snook harvested from the open waters of the Atlantic may not be transported through closed water or landed in the closed area.Anglers may catch and release snook during the closed season, but the FWC encourages anglers to handle and release these fish carefully to help ensure their survival upon release. Proper handling methods can help ensure the species’ abundance for anglers today and generations to come. To learn more about fish handling, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Fish Handling.”

For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snook.”

Check out this week’s local fishing report!

Offshore bottom fishing is off the charts good

Don Thigpen
Daytona Beach’s Dr. Don Thigpen holds a 28-inch snook caught in Spruce Creek on a guide with Capt. Kyle Busby last week. NOBIGREEL.COM/KYLE BUSBY

By Godwin Kelly, godwin.kelly@news-jrnl.com

Ocean bottom fishing has been tremendous in the last several weeks and keeps getting better as the summer progresses.

OFFSHORE: Gene Lytwyn at The Fishin’ Hole said anglers, who are bottom-fishing offshore reefs, are producing big numbers of quality fish. “They are doing quite well,” Lytwyn said. “For instance, they are catching mangrove snapper from 10- to 12-pounds and reaching their limit in short order.” Not only that, but fishermen are pulling up fish more common in South Florida waters such as yellowtail snapper and mutton snapper. “That has been going on for a good three weeks or so,” Lytwyn said. “It may have something to do with our water temperature being a little higher than normal. I don’t know.” Ocean anglers are also enjoying a bounty of big-sized triggerfish, some in the 10-pound range. “The world record is 13 pounds, so these are big fish,” Lytwyn said. Jeff Burkhead at Fishin’ Cove Bait & Tackle in New Smyrna Beach had a similar offshore report. “We’re seeing triggerfish, mangrove snapper, and a cobia here and there,” he said. “We had the (charter boat) Southwind come in with a 28-pound cobia.” The bite on the troll has been slim, according to Burkhead. The primary catch has been kingfish and barracuda. Lytwyn was quick to remind that this area has not seen the usual “upwelling,” when colder water rushes in and overwhelms the bath-like temperature water along the coast for several weeks.

MOSQ. LAGOON, INDIAN RIVER: Al Huffman at Lagoon Bait & Tackle in Edgewater said the trout bite “continues to be on fire.” In addition to trout, mangrove snapper are thick and redfish are a brisk bite. “Nothing has changed,” he said. “We’re seeing really good fishing.” Huffman said the most action is seen early in the morning and late afternoon/evening. The Clinker Islands and George’s Bar are producing the most fish right now. Around New Smyrna Beach, river anglers are catching their limit on mangrove snapper, according to Burkhead. “They are everywhere you go,” he said, adding there are quite a few big snook being caught between New Smyrna’s two bridges. “But,” Burkhead said, “you can’t keep ‘em, not until Sept. 1.”

PONCE INLET, HALIFAX RIVER: Capt. Kyle Busby of nobigreel.com said the white shrimp run in the river continues. “I’ve seen local anglers out there seven days a week, sun up to sun down,” he said in an email report. Busby said he is catching keep-sized snook in Spruce Creek around the U.S. 1 bridge area. In the river proper, Busby has been catching mangrove snapper, black drum and jacks. Lytwyn said fishing in the metro area has been pretty good in the cover of darkness. “Night fishermen have been doing quite well with snook and ladyfish; fairly large snook,” he said. “They are being caught up and down the river, especially in the area between Seabreeze and Main Street.” Lytwyn’s customers have been catching mangroves, bluefish and reds in the inlet. Burkhead cited the same fish, but tossed in some flounder as well.

SURF, PIERS: Capt. Chris Herrera of palmcoastfishing.com said he was catching tarpon from the beach at the Flagler-St. Johns County line. “I’ve been spending a lot of time on the beach chasing tarpon,” he said. It’s not so exciting on Volusia beaches. Scott Morrison at Your Rod & Reel in Daytona Beach Shores said his customers are reporting a “smattering of everything.” The short list includes pompano, black drum and whiting. Sunglow Pier’s Amy Jarvis said she has seen a run of keeper redfish being hauled to the planks. “We had a 22-inch red caught Tuesday and others (in the slot),” she said. “We are seeing a lot of mangrove snapper and some flounder. It’s been rocking out here. It’s going strong.” The Flagler Beach Pier has seen a little of this and that, but no run of any particular fish. The Daytona Beach Pier has been “pretty slow,” according the Lytwyn. “They are catching some redfish, whiting and spots at night,” he said.

TOMOKA BASIN, RIVER: Lytwyn said the snook bite has been strong in this area. Capt. Barry Englehardt of fishwithcaptainbarry.com said the waters are infested with pogies, also known as menhaden, and it has stirred up considerable action. “They are in the basin with reds, trout and snook chasing,” he said. “Snook and tarpon are biting in the late evening in the river.” Englehardt said he saw another angler catch a huge redfish from the Tomoka State Park Bridge.

MATANZAS INLET, RIVER: This area has slowed down, likely due to the heat. Devil’s Elbow Fish Camp, which is on the north side of the inlet, reported a light catch of flounder and redfish. “The redfish bite is slowing down a bit, the flounder as well,” Herrera said.

ST. JOHNS RIVER: Capt. Bryn Rawlins, who is stationed at Highland Park Fish Camp in DeLand, sent this email dispatch. “Good catches of bluegill are being brought in from the Norris Dead Run by pitching crickets along the bank,” she said. “If you can stand the heat, you could catch your limit. Bass bite is good early. Wild shiners are the best, but some artificial will produce first couple of hours after daylight.” Rawlins said the swallow-tailed kites are here. “We have one of the largest roosts as the birds migrate and can host hundreds of birds located just off of Lake Woodruff.”

SEND PHOTOS: We want to see your most recent catch. Email your fish photos to godwin.kelly@news-jrnl.com. Be sure to include type of fish, size of fish (weight and/or length), where the fish was caught, first and last names and hometown of angler who caught the fish, and first and last name of person who took the photo. If a child is in the photo, please include their age. The News-Journal will use one or two photos in print each week and the other photos submitted will go into the online gallery called “Readers Fish Photos.”