Fishing With Shrimp: What Fish Can You Actually Catch?

Did you know that you can use live, dead, or store-bought shrimp to catch both saltwater and freshwater fish? A living shrimp will give you better results but you might want to consider giving them a try the next time you’re out fishing.

What kind of fish can you catch with shrimp? The most common saltwater fish you’d catch with shrimp would be anything that feeds along the bottom. The most common freshwater fish you’d catch with shrimp would be catfish. You can also use live shrimp to catch bass or other larger fish but I generally use it in saltwater, and it’ll catch pretty much anything.

If you’re fishing in freshwater, you’ll have the best results with live shrimp. You can use store-bought (dead) shrimp to catch catfish but it doesn’t seem to be the best for other types. You can toss a live or dead shrimp on the hook and catch a variety of things on the ocean but again, something living tends to do a bit better.

How To Hook A Shrimp Without Killing It

If you have a dead shrimp then it doesn’t really matter how you rig it but that’s not the case when it’s alive. You’re using live shrimp because you want them to be able to move when they’re in the water. That’s what the fish are used to so it’ll give you the highest chance of catching fish. You want to make sure you’re doing it right though because you’ll kill them if you’re too rough. Here’s a video to show you how:

If you’re not going to be casting very far, the best way to rig a live shrimp is by hooking it just below the horn. It’ll have a small horn above its head and that’s one of the hardest places on a shrimp. You’ll want to make sure you don’t go too deep because its brain will be directly under. Just enough to stay on the hook will be perfect.

If you’re going to be casting the shrimp then my favorite place to hook it would be the hard part of the tail. You’ll want to go in through the bottom of the tail and bring the hook out the top. The shrimp will still be able to swim and you’ll have a lot of good action in the water.

The final thing you can do is take off the tail and insert the hook like you would with a soft plastic worm or grub. This will make the shrimp seem wounded and it’ll put a bit more scent in the water. All you have to do is put your hook in the meat of the shrimp and then bring it out through the bottom of the shell.

How To Fish With Shrimp

Fishing with shrimp is a pretty easy process and the only thing you really need to do is keep it around the bottom. That’s where shrimp will be so you want to have them where the fish are used to seeing them. If you’re using live shrimp then you don’t need to worry about reeling it because the shrimp will do all the work. Here’s a video showing how to fish with them:

The first thing we’ll talk about is what fishing rod to use. The easiest thing to use is going to be a spinning or baitcasting rod. The only thing you’ll want to make sure is that you’re using a medium-heavy or heavy fishing rod. There is a lot of big fish sitting on the bottom so you want to make sure your rod can handle whatever bites the hook. If your rod is too light, you might break it trying to reel in a fish or you might not be able to get a good hookset in.

The second thing to figure out is what fishing line to use. Again, you need to make sure your line can handle whatever bites. I almost always use a braided line (30-50 lb test) as my main and then a small (16 inch) fluorocarbon leader (15-20 lb test). There’s really no reason to use a lighter braid and I like it because it’s not going to break. Your leader line will depend on what type of fish you’re after but 15-20 lbs are normally good enough.

The final thing you’ll want to do is attach some weight to your braided line (I like bullet weights) and then put on your swivel. Connect your leader line to the other end of the swivel and then tie on your hook (#2 normally works well). If you’re targeting small fish then you could go with something smaller but this seems to be a good size.

Now that everything’s setup, it’s time to start fishing. You’re going to have the best results if you can find where the shrimp are most likely to be (that’s where the fish will be). This is normally around bridges, rocks piles, or things like that. You’ll want to target these places if you can but you can still catch fish if you don’t.

All you really have to do is cast out your line, let the shrimp sink down to the bottom, and then lift your line up a foot or so. You can let it swim around the bottom but I’ve had a bit better luck doing it this way. You’ll want to twitch the rod, let it sit there for a few seconds, twitch the rod, and repeat.

If you’re fishing for catfish, you can just let the shrimp sit on the bottom and wait for a bite. If you’re targeting a different type of fish then you’ll want to do a little bit more work, and if you do, you’re going to catch more fish.

Happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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