Ok lets get right to it.
How to get them fresh yourself, many don’t realize that shrimp start to move as winter pulls in, not many but some nights enough to fish with and leave you a couple of nice appetizers for the next dinner the next day.
Now to do this you must be close enough to the water to be able to use a dip net and you need enough light to illuminate the water to get the shrimp to come up off of the bottom.
I see them around inlets and off of the Broward piers. Now as you see them swoop under and dip’em, you can use a cast net in some areas but I don’t find enough to make it worth the energy loss of throwing the net.
I see shrimp from Dec to February scattered with some nights thick enough to call it shrimping, our shrimp time is not until February to April but none the less they are there during the times I have mentioned.
Now these show at winter and best to get in the day but can also be had at night.
First good to have some oatmeal and a chum bag with a fine chum, the chum gets them in your area and the oatmeal brings them right to you. One way is to cast net them, but the other way is hook and line.
Hook and Line Method:
A 4inch float and a leader of 8lb test, 18 inches long to a long shank Beak hook Number 10 or 12, a very small piece of squid or shrimp and when I say small I mean small like 1/8 inch by 1/8inch.
Now once they have moved in close after tossing a little of the oats you then toss out your Bally rod and as the bait slowly sinks you just need to give a slight pull to keep the bait an inch or two under the surface, in the day you can see them take the bait but at night not so easy, so this will help.
Get a pack of 8 inch glow sticks and use a glow stick in the 4 inch float I prefer comal “Brand” weighted 4inch orange and white floats the glow stick fits perfect in the center, now at night when the Ballyhoo takes the bait you will see your float and glow stick straighten out and this lets you know your on, when your not on the float and glow stick will kind of do what a compass does back and forth.
Ok you have three choices one should work but be prepared with all the gear needed because these can be finicky and you can never know what they are hitting on until you try.
Goggle eye Bug – locate cloud of google eyes on bottom cast out past and allow to sink to bottom and 2 to 3 jigs and let sink to bottom again you will slowly move into them and through them and you should be on before you get it back in
1.Crappy Jig slow retrieve across the top of the water where you know they are.
2.Goggle eye Bug cast and let sink to bottom and 2 to 3 jigs up off the bottom and let sink and do it again until you get one. Again this method helps if you know they are there.
3. Sabiki number 6 or 8 light jig on edges of the “light” shadow lines and sometimes helps to bait hooks.
White Bait – Pilchard-Thread Herring- Blue runners
Again you want to work the edges of lights, Use a number 4 green or red Sabiki and soft jigging at night they are finicky, in the day not so.
All else this is my secret to getting bait when there seems like there is none.
Sabiki 4-green or red, I place on edges of lights on shadow lines, I put the last hook just under the water 4 inches and set rod down on rail or what ever and allow the motion of the ocean to jig it and every once and a while a take my finger and tap the tip of the rod down 6 inches and let it bounce until it comes to a stop and usually I will at that point have a bait on, I know it sounds wacky but it works try it.
Last bait that will work well at night for Snapper is Grunts I like the silver ones about 2 to 3 inches long, tail snipped off and casted out, that Pink Lady Mrs Mutton snapper love them in the winter.
Good Luck, the Boatless Fisherman