How To Hook A Live Shrimp?


Ask any angler about saltwater fishing tips, and for sure, many of them will recommend the use of live bait. In this case, live shrimp is one of the prime choices. Whether you want to catch snapper, grouper, flounder, or redfish, among others, you need to learn how to bait a hook with live shrimp.

Not all hooked shrimps, however, are equal. If the shrimp is poorly rigged or limped, you might end up being frustrated as it fails to attract fish.

Want to know how to hook live shrimp? Read this post and we’ll let you know exactly how you can do it properly.

Why Shrimp Makes a Good Live Bait

The main reason why you should choose live shrimp as bait is that everything in saltwater eats shrimp. It might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but this is true. It increases the possibility of reeling in a catch knowing that it effectively attracts fish.

To add, the movement of the live shrimp is another reason why it makes a great bait when fishing. It moves naturally. This is unlike lures for bass or trout lures that cannot mimic the movements of the shrimp.

The Problem with Live Shrimp

Even if it can prove to be an excellent bait for saltwater fishing, it is also important to point out that using shrimp has its drawbacks. One of the most crucial is that it is hard to keep the shrimp alive, especially if you are on a multi-day fishing trip. Having a fishing cooler with you does not help since shrimp is best used when it is life and not when it is frozen.

Therefore, it is best only to use shrimp when you don’t have to keep it for an extended period. Proper storage of the shrimp is an important consideration. A two-layered minnow bucket is a good place to keep the shrimps during your fishing trip. Cool the water before putting the shrimp. Use an oxygen-releasing tablet or aerator to supply the oxygen the shrimps need to stay alive while in the bucket.

To make the shrimp last longer, it is also best to choose the large ones. Small shrimps are not only ineffective as baits, but they also do not thrive for an extended period.

How to Hook Live Shrimp on its Tail

Now, let us go to the most important part of our discussion.  Whether for sea trout fishing, bonito fishing, or yellowtail fishing, you should know how to hook live shrimp to increase the chances of ending the day with a fresh catch.

If you want to know how to bait a hook with shrimp, one thing that you should learn is how to do it through the tail. This is the preferred method amongst many anglers, so you cannot go wrong with it. It places the head of the shrimp forward, minimizing the likelihood that it will tear off from the cast. Hooking the shrimp on the head puts it in a natural position.

Before hooking the shrimp on its tail, remove the tail fan. This will release a smell that is attractive to the fish. Once you have removed the tail fan, hook the shrimp on the center of its tail until the shank is no longer visible. Check out this fishing hook size guide to help you pick the right one to include in your fishing trip checklist!

As a variation to the method above, you can also double-hook the tail. Simply put, you just have to hook the bait twice, making sure that it won’t be able to escape once it is underwater. The tail of the shrimp will curl under the hook if it tries to escape.

Hooking Your Bait on the Head

As we discuss the basics of how to bait a hook with shrimp, let us also look at how to do it on the head. This is a good method of hooking the bait when casting or trolling. It is good for large shrimps and when you want to present the shrimp vertically.

You can hook the shrimp on its head just behind the horn or the sharp extension that forms part of its shell. Insert the hook just below the head. Push the barb all the way to the top of the head. While doing this, avoid hitting the brain as it can kill the shrimp even before you throw it under the water.

Burying the Hook in the Body

Aside from the tail and the head, you will also have the option to bury the hook in the body of the shrimp. You can wrap the hook in the entire body of the bait from its tail throughout the head. You will need a larger hook for this, especially if you are using large shrimps. This is a preferred method for bottom fishing.

Get rid of the tail fan of the shrimp. Run the hook from the edge of its tail on the meaty part. Push it through the body of the shrimp until reaching the head.

Hook the Shrimp Crosswise

This is another variation that you need to learn. It is especially a great method of rigging your bait if you plan to do float rigging or drift fishing. Insert the hook just below the shell. When you do this, make sure to hit the flesh and not the internal organs of the shrimp. If you hit the organs, the shrimp will end up panicking and this will scare the fish.

Hook the bait under the head. Fasten so that the shrimp stays on the hook. This also prevents possible damage to its vital organs. This is a great method if your goal is to cast further and quicker. The problem, however, is that it can quickly kill the shrimp as well.

You might also like: An Introduction to Freshwater Cane Pole Fishing

Tips and Tricks


Before we end our discussions on how to hook live shrimp, below are some of the tips and tricks that you should know:

  • More than the bait, catching a fish is likelier if you are using the right fishing line. As much as possible, you should avoid monofilament lines because they can scare away fish. Fluorocarbon fishing lines are better because they are less visible under the water.
  • At all times, do not enter the hook through the brain of the shrimp as it will kill your bait. The brain is the visible dark part below and behind its horn.
  • Hooking the shrimp on its head or tail will help to prolong its life under the water compared to rigging it through the mouth. Your goal is to keep the shrimp alive for the longest time possible.

Globo Surf Overview

There are many reasons why you can’t catch fish. Among others, one of the possibilities is because you do not have the right bait. With this, use live shrimp, especially when you are fishing in saltwater. You should be familiar with how to hook live shrimp to increase the chances of going home with a catch.

As noted, there are several ways to hook your live shrimp as bait, such as from the head, tail, or the entire body. Whatever you choose, do it slowly and properly to make the shrimp effective in attracting fish.

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