Fishing near / behind shrimp boat / etiquette

Plan to head offshore next week and want to try something new. Usually fish offshore from Sanibel 15-35 miles. Have seen a shrimp boat doing its thing from time to time and always wondered the best way to fish it. TV shows make it look like a feeding frenzy behind them but I am guessing that may happen when the bycatch is released - and the rest of the time - not so much.

Just curious if anyone has insight as to how to "politely" fish the shrimp trawlers? I don't want to interfere or snag their nets - but also don't want to miss an opportunity. Would love to pick up a couple blackfin tuna (my goal).



  • nuclearfishnnuclearfishn Posts: 8,356 Admiral
    You need to be out there at first light when they are culling their catch. If they still have their nets in the water, just back off and wait. Don't get too close to the boat until they get their nets in. Bring a case a beer and they will fill your cooler up with by-catch.
  • mtbrider85mtbrider85 Posts: 341 Deckhand
    It's not really the time of year for tuna behind the boats, but I wont say its out of the question. I usually fish for them in the spring and there are typically lots of BFT then, but it can at times be tricky to get past the Bonita's. Cobia, kingfish, sharks and other game fish will be behind the boat as well. If you are friendly with them(the shrimpers) they usually don't mind if you tie off on their stern, but its not necessary. If conditions allow, I prefer to chum the fish away from the shrimp boat and get them fired up behind us. The tuna can often run you under their boat and cut you off on their anchor lines and rigging if you fish to close behind them.

    Also, if your in a productive shrimping area there should be a number of shrimp boats anchored, bounce around until you find a productive one. For some reason the fish will hold on only a select few. If you find one that's productive, other fisherman might show up as well. Its ok to share a stern but be courteous and ask first if you are not the first one. I typically will try to find my own rather then have multiple boats trying to catch fish off the back of one.

    Its worth trying to barter for bycatch and every boat is different. Often the deck hands have to get permission on what items to barter bycatch/shrimp for from the captain. Beer or liquor works but sometimes the captain doesn't want everyone on his boat to be drunk. I'm told a female angler in a bikini is the best person to bring along fishing the shrimpers...

    I'm curious if what you are seeing is a productive shrimp boat. They generally are in an area SW of Marco by a good bit. Either way its worth a stop if you have bottom fishing numbers to fish nearby.
  • PilchardPilchard Posts: 1,373 Officer
    Most shrimpers are in TX this time of year.... I have a friend that just lost 8 of his 12 boats in the storm.
  • winterbeater89winterbeater89 Posts: 49 Greenhorn
    Thanks for the responses. Last shrimper I watched was about 5 miles south of the 240 ledge - didn't get right next to him - but was close enough to get my wheels turning. So it sounds like spring is the best bet for tuna?
  • SerotoninSerotonin Cape CoralPosts: 203 Deckhand
    I saw one in Charlotte harbor before the weekend rain. Last one i saw anchored was at the power pole reef a few months ago

    Tv does make it look awesome, something i would like to try if I see one early enough
  • AlwaysLearningMoreAlwaysLearningMore Posts: 90 Greenhorn
    Should probably be a little cautious about bartering with shrimpers, or at least about posting about bartering with shrimpers, since it's illegal for them to sell shrimp that way. I am not sure about selling bycatch, but wouldn't be surprised if that's a legal no-no also.
  • winterbeater89winterbeater89 Posts: 49 Greenhorn
    Got the idea from a tv show - but would really like to get into some black fin. Any suggestions for this time of year?
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