Shrimping on Florida’s East Coast

The Riverbreeze boat ramp in Oak Hill seems to be THE place to launch a boat for going shrimping where I live. Shrimping is done at night, and this place is packed with boat trailers during shrimping season (which, in my county, is whenever the shrimp are running).

My son and I stopped by the Riverbreeze boat ramp one day after eating at Goodrich’s restaurant, and I got these photos of a nearly empty parking lot and totally empty boat ramp. It was a very windy day, which makes fishing less than enjoyable, and could be the reason for the sparse collection of boaters. It was also during the week and in the middle of the afternoon.

Riverbreeze boat ramp
Riverbreeze boat ramp

We used to put our pontoon boat in at this ramp years ago. It’s nice and big with four spots to launch and a huge parking area for trailers and vehicles. There is also a separate boardwalk / dock, restrooms and a playground. Just across from the ramp area is the River Wood camp ground.

When we drove through, there were 4 boat trailers parked – which is the least crowded I’ve ever seen this place. Believe me, it’s much different in the evenings when everyone is going out to catch shrimp!

Riverbreeze boat launch parking lot
Parking at Riverbreeze

My sons were out shrimping last night and caught the 5 gallon limit of shrimp within a few hours. Today we will be processing the shrimp to eat and freeze. This mainly means removing the heads. Crabs can get caught in the net, but they won’t go to waste. We will use them as bait when we fish. Crabs can only be eaten when they are cooked fresh (living crabs only).

blue crabs
Crabs and little fish, hauled in with the shrimp

Because the shrimp are caught at night, there isn’t time to do much with the catch before bed. As long as they are kept cold in a good cooler (this brand is a Sportsman), they can be dealt with the following day.

There are state regulations for shrimpers to follow. Also, there is more than one way to catch shrimp. Some people use a cast net and some use traps with bait.

The way we do it is take the boat out and sit where a strong current runs from the backwaters into the channel. Timing it so the current is running well is important, and this must be done during darkness. Certain times of year are better for shrimping, and other factors come into play. Read more about shrimping at the Florida Shore Fishing site.
We are new to this, but it has worked out well and saved us money. We won’t have to buy shrimp from the grocery store for a long time!

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Emma Cownie says:

    I am going to ask a daft question now but is there any control over shrimping, like its only allowed at certain times of the year or the tiny ones get thrown back? How are the numbers protected, if at all?

    Like

    1. Dustytoes says:

      Hi Emma, your question is a good one! I (we) are new to shrimping, but I’ve heard of people here in Florida doing it for years. The control consists of maximum limits for those on boats, or shrimping from shore. Also the way it can be done has controls (size of nets, no moving while collecting, and more.) A few counties have restrictions with certain months of the year being off limits, but everywhere else we can go shrimping any time. But as I understand it, only twice a year the running of the shrimp is really good. This seems to be one of those times. My info comes from the Florida Fish & Game / Wildlife site (myfwc.com), and I can only assume that someone looks out for the numbers so the shrimp population stays large. (Probably the same people who monitor fish, manatees, and other wildlife.) All in all, it seems that the amount of shrimp must be huge so there is plenty for the commercial vessels and boaters like us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Emma Cownie says:

        Glad there’s someone looking out for the shrimp, fish and of course the manatees!

        Liked by 1 person

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