Going Shrimping For the First Time

shrimp
Big shrimp

This is mostly my son’s story and not mine, but he went shrimping the other night with some friends for the first time. The three guys collected about 3 gallons of shrimp and divided it up between them.
These shrimp look really large, but once the head is off they look more normal size. With the cost of store bought shrimp being quite high, I’d say the boys made out quite well.

The other day we went fishing and bought live shrimp from the local bait shop which had been caught out here on the river, and the shrimp were huge. Once my son had the equipment needed (shrimping light and big net) he had to get out and catch his own.

shrimp in the sink
The catch

When we used the live shrimp for bait, we caught some nice fish. Getting a live shrimp on the hook can be tricky, and their barbs, or spikes, which are on their heads and tails, will hurt if they stick you!

shrimp head with spike
Live shrimp have spikes on their heads and tails

Shrimping is done at night. A light is put down into flowing water – the tide must be moving to move the shrimp along to be caught. Then they are scooped into the net as you see them go by.  No “bait” is needed.  Each person on the boat can collect up to 5 gallons of shrimp!  Check out the link at the end of this post for more info about shrimping in Florida.

Because shrimping is done late at night, I may never go. I’m at the age where I can’t stay awake too late.  My son and his friends didn’t get home until 3AM! And apparently the boat dock was packed with trailers because so many people were still out catching shrimp – even at that hour.

I enjoy daytime boating with some fishing, manatee-watching (they are back out in the waterway now that it has warmed up) and lots of beach-combing.

The Shrimp:  Freeze Some and Grill Some

Once we began processing it, most of the shrimp was de-headed and put in bags to freeze, but we kept out a few to grill.  I didn’t have time to make a fancy meal because I was heading out to see Avengers: Infinity War with my other son (good movie).  So I sliced some onion and green pepper (fresh from my garden) to cook with my shrimp.

My son put a seafood seasoning on his and I chopped up fresh herbs to mix with olive oil and little Tamari for mine.

Here’s my exact ingredients for the marinade which I soaked the shrimp in for about an hour: Chopped fresh basil, parsley, and fennel (all 3 from my garden) mixed with a small clove of garlic (chopped), some olive oil and a dash of Tamari (which I would leave out next time I think because shrimp tends to be salty all on it’s own. If my limes had been in season I would have used some lime juice once they were cooked.

Grill on each side 2-4 minutes.  Mine cooked for a total of 4 minutes and were perfect.  The vegetables were crisp.

grilled shrimp kabobs
Grilled shrimp 2 ways

Here’s more info at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation site if you are interested in going shrimping yourself.  Rules vary from county to county it appears, and you must have a valid fishing license.

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