Every summer, the state shuts down brown shrimp harvest when biologists begin to notice lots of juvenile white shrimp in trawls. The move is designed to protect those young shrimp, and allow them to reach marketable sizes in the subsequent weeks.
But exactly how quickly the shrimp grow depends on river flows, rainfall and temperatures. Some years it seems to happen overnight, and this is looking like it may be one of those years.
While Capt. Charlie Thomason and I were hunting for redfish in the waters near Hopedale last week, we came upon more white shrimp than either of us could remember seeing in July. Normally that’s an August phenomenon.
Not only were the shrimp plentiful, they were also sizable, with some clearly in the 16/20 range.
The shrimp were a welcome harbinger of fall on a day when the fishing was just so-so. In fact, it was so mediocre, I actually resorted to using live shrimp as bait, a technique I find about as appealing as watching obscure committee meetings on cable-access channels.
Though the fishing has been excellent in the Hopedale area, a 25-mph blow the day before our trip muddied the water, and made the fish considerably less interested in feeding than Chrissy Metz. Still, Thomason put some in the boat using a mix of white/chartreuse Gulp and live shrimp, while I mostly provided good moral support.
Slow days like ours have been the exception, and will become rarer still as the fish key on the shrimp that are now available in the marsh.
To keep up with Marsh Man Masson: