Biscayne Bay Shrimp Run Means Great Fishing

By Steve Waters.

Many South Florida anglers are fond of saying that “everything eats a shrimp,” which makes the month of February a great time to catch tarpon in and around Biscayne Bay, as well as many other species in the bay and in Miami-Dade County’s offshore waters.

This month is when shrimp run, and hungry fish target the tasty crustaceans as they are carried by the tides through the bay and local inlets.

“February usually is when the best of the tarpon fishing starts to show up in Miami. It’s all live shrimp or artificial lures,” said Capt. Bouncer Smith (, who fishes out of Miami Beach Marina on Bouncer’s Dusky 33. “If the shrimp are running it can be fantastic fly fishing at night. If the shrimp are running, the tarpon are popping on the surface. It’s like sight-casting to brook trout.

“With those shrimp runs come large numbers of mangrove snappers in the inlets and snook around the jetties and bridges. It’s really, really a fun time to fish. Also with the shrimp running, you’ll find good numbers of Spanish mackerel and kingfish relatively near shore. As the shrimp come out (the inlet) on the outgoing tide at the crack of dawn in the morning, it can be really, really exciting to fish a bucktail jig, or if you get some live shrimp, drift live shrimp just off the coast.”