How to Hook a Shrimp Like a Pro

December 8, 2016

Alive or dead, frozen or fresh, shrimps are excellent baits for fishing. In fact, you can catch a variety of fishes when you use this crustacean as bait. You can catch bonefish, black drum, flounder, grouper, jack fish, redfish, pompano, sea trout, snook, tarpon, and much more.

But, the question here is how to hook a shrimp like a pro? Having a poorly rigged shrimp or having this crustacean hooked in a wrong way can be such a pain in the butt. Plus, it can affect how you land and catch the fish. However, there are a lot of ways to hook a shrimp like a professional fisher. It does not matter whether you want to rig these shrimp dead or alive.


Using Shrimp as a Bait

But, before we jumped into the methods applied to hook shrimp, let us discuss first how shrimp is an excellent bait. To increase your chances of catching loads of fishes when you go saltwater fishing is to use prawns as baits.

When you use shrimp, you can catch different species of fishes like sheepshead, grouper, redfish, cobia, and snapper. Also, for your kids showing an interest in fishing, you may introduce shrimp as their first bait. They will easily learn how to catch their very first saltwater fish.

But, did you know that this kind of bait is also ideal for seasoned fishers and anglers? They usually turn to shrimp when they are planning to have a big catch. Also, using shrimp as bait is the most used method when it comes to fishing in America.

How to Store Live Shrimp

To keep your live shrimp for fishing, here are the steps you must follow:

  • Select Your Bucket Wisely

To keep live shrimp, you may use either a one-layered bucket or a two-layered minnow bucket. However, many experts suggest using a two-layered minnow bucket because you can quickly change the water if needed. Also, some fishers utilize a 15-gallon bucket to store their bait.

  • Determine What Portion Your Bucket Can Hold

When you save live shrimps, you need to know how many shrimps your bucket can hold. Making the bucket too crowded with shrimps means that they will most likely die because of lack of oxygen. As one dies, the other shrimps will die gradually. Thus, do not overfill your bucket.

  • Allow the Water to Cool Down

Before you put in the baits, you need to check the temperature of the water. If it is too warm, lower its temperature by adding ice to it. To make the water fresh and clean, you must make sure to change your water from time to time.

  • Oxygenate Your Shrimp

All marine creatures need oxygen to live. Thus, shrimps need enough oxygen to breathe in the water. You can supply the bucket with oxygen by using two methods: using an aerator or utilizing an oxygen-releasing tablet. You may use both of these devices with the minnow bucket. Additionally, it will work well with shrimps.

How to Store Dead and Frozen Shrimp

To keep the freshness of your bait, you must follow these instructions:

  • Preserve Your Dead Shrimp Using Small Jars

You can conserve dead shrimps in brine. Also, you can carry them in little jars just like fishers hold pork rind in their tackle box. To store them in containers, you need to obtain a pound of shrimp. Then, you have to get rid of the heads, shells, and tails.

  • Place Some Salt in the Bottom Of the Container

You may also add a layer of salt onto the bottom and the top of the jar. Then, put another layer of salt on the shrimp itself. Add another piece of sliced shrimp on top of the other. Lastly, you need to repeat the process of alternating salt and shrimp layers until your container is full. The salt will make the shrimp retain its freshness to allow it to last longer on the hook.

  • Keep the Shrimps Frozen

You can pack and refreeze your shrimps to use them for another fishing adventure. You may keep them frozen as long as they are not yet spoiled. Hence, you need to check their freshness regularly. You also need to separate the packages of frozen shrimp from other frozen foods. Then, put a label on the frozen baits.

Ways to Rig Live Shrimp

Here are steps to effectively hook a live shrimp for fishing:

  • Hook the Shrimp’s Head When Trolling or Casting

A lot of pro fishers start off by hooking their shrimp’s head. You can do this by manipulating either the two of these approaches. For the first way, you may try to insert the hook below the shrimp’s head. Then, thrust the barb out on the top. However, you must avoid damaging the vital organs of the bait.

For the second method, you may put on the hook atop the shrimp’s head. You have to work your way under the vital organs of the shrimp before you push it out on top of the head. However, there is a drawback in rigging a shrimp via the head. Shrimps usually fall off the hook when you utilize such method.

  • Fasten the Shrimp Crosswise for Float-rigging or Drift Fishing

You may begin by poking the hook below the shell of the shrimp. But, you must prevent damaging the pancreas and stomach. These organs may appear as dark marks on the body of the shrimp. You may avoid hitting these parts because it will cause your bait to panic. You do not want this to happen because it will scare away the fishes.

Next, you have to hook the shrimp under its head and use a thread to fasten the crustacean. It will allow the hook to come out in the middle of the carapace, which is a space between its critical organs. By using this method, you may cast further and get the shrimp faster. However, a downfall is that your shrimp may die faster when you use this approach.

  • Rig the Shrimp Via the Tail as You Cast for Cruising Fish

Using this method will allow you to cast farther compared to hooking the shrimp via the head. With this method, however, you will propel the shrimp farther without damaging its body. What you need to do is to break off the bait’s tail. Then, use the thread to hook via the tail. Next is to push it out through the base of its tail. You need to do it far enough to cover the hook eye with the shrimp’s body.

  • Put the Hook in the Shrimp’s Body

When you utilize this approach, you have to know that it is quite similar to self-weedless hooking that bass fishers do when catching plastic worms. All you need to do is to crack the crustacean’s tail. Next is to run the point entirely via the tip of the shrimp. Then, poke out the shank and start rotating the hook. It should face the bait’s base. Lastly, you need to bury the meaty section of the shrimp’s tail.

You need to make sure that you obtain a ¼ ounce of sliding sinker onto your line. Then, you have to tie it on the swivel. On the other side, you have to tie around 6 to 12 inches of leader and hook. Then, you have to bait it with the shrimp. It will make your baited hook sink to the bottom. Also, the swivel will prevent it from sliding its way to the bait. The leader will allow the bait to rise just above it.

You can also utilize this approach with a three-way swivel. Then, connect your line to an end of the pin. Your leader and bait should attach to the second end of the pivot. The ¼-ounce sinker must affix to the third tip.

Ways to Hook Dead or Frozen Shrimp

Here are some methods to rig dead or frozen crustacean:

  • Tear the Body of the Shrimp Apart

Live shrimps will attract fish when they start to swim. However, dead shrimps can entice the fish because of their smell. Because of that, you have to dismember the shrimp. You may start off by smashing the feet, head, and the tail before you put the rest of its body to the hook.

  • Hook from the End of the Head or the Tip of the Tail

You can also thread from the edge of the shrimp’s head or the end of the tail. Either of these two approaches is efficient. Make sure that you cover the whole shank of the hook with the shrimp.

  • Sweeten the Jig Using the Dead Shrimp

Dead shrimps are perfect for the jig. You may use them with a soft plastic body or a skirt. If you are planning to tip your jig, you have to cut the crustacean with a knife into the shank length. It will make sure that the bait has the correct length. Then, you have to slice it instead of smashing it. By doing so, you will retain the firm flesh of the shrimp, and it will stay longer on the hook.


A lot of pro fishers and surf anglers use shrimps as a go-to bait for different saltwater fishes. You may place them in different areas using a single or double hook rig. These crustaceans draw fishes to strike when other baits fall short.

However, you need to make sure that you rig them properly using the methods mentioned above. Doing so will make them last longer on the hook, and that only means catching more fishes. Thus, you will become more satisfied with your fishing trip!

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About the Author


Hello, fishing world! My name is Bella. Yes, you got me right, I am a woman! But, I am a woman not only fond of cooking and shopping. I am a woman who shows interest in everything that covers topics regarding fishing. Don’t get me wrong! I believe that the world of fishing is not exclusively for men! In fact, I, myself enjoy fishing. That’s why I created this website.

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