Shrimp are the lowest item on the local food chain readily available to use as bait. From little pinfish to 100-pound tarpon, just about everything eats shrimp. Shrimp are one of the most prevalent forage species in the Charlotte Harbor estuary system. There are a number of species of shrimp living in our waters, from tiny grass shrimp to pink shrimp, which can grow to nearly a foot long. White shrimp are the most commonly available species you’ll find in the local bait shops.
Shrimp work well all year but are most productive in winter, because that’s when they are most abundant in our inshore waters. In summer, there are fewer and smaller shrimp in the area — but they’re still good bait. Just because the local waters are full of whitebait in midsummer, that doesn’t mean that shrimp won’t work just fine. For example, dead shrimp fished on the bottom are often more effective than whitebait for redfish when the water gets really hot.
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