How to Bait a Hook with Shrimp
Shrimp are a great bait for numerous species, and if you’re going to learn how to fish with shrimp you’ll need to know the best way to put them on a hook.
In many areas of the nation, if you stop at a tackle shop to gear up on your way to the docks, the local sharpies will recommend you try fishing with live shrimp. A wide variety of fish eat shrimp, and once you learn how to bait a hook with shrimp you’ll be well on your way to a successful day of fishing.
So, just how is it done? And, can you learn how to hook a live shrimp without killing it, so it tempts the fish into biting with its lively wiggle?
Check out our How to Bait a Hook with Shrimp video, to learn the basics.
How to Hook a Live Shrimp Without Killing It
- Hold the shrimp firmly but without crushing it, between two fingers, just in front of where the tail meets the carapace.
- Look for the dark area behind the eyes, which are part of the shrimp’s organs.
- Slide the point of your hook through the shrimp’s body in the light-colored area between the eyes and the organs.
- Bring the hook point out through the other side of the shrimp.
- Take a cast!
Using this hooking method the shrimp will live for quite a while, and when a fish sees it kicking, there’s a very good chance that fish will soon have your hook in its mouth. But what sort of hook you choose also has an impact on just how long the shrimp will live.
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What is the Best Hook for Live Shrimp?
Anglers may disagree as to which specific make or model is the best hook for live shrimp because there are so many good choices hanging on the walls of the tackle shops.
Good shrimp hooks do, however, share one common feature: they’re generally thin, so they go through the shrimp’s carapace easily without cracking or shattering it.
- They should also be sized to match the size of the shrimp and the fish you’re catching, because a very large hook that’s thin for its size may still be too thick to put through a smaller shrimp without killing it.
- When learning how to fish with shrimp you may also see some anglers who put the hook in through the bottom of the tail and out through the top.
- Some others put the hook in through the bottom of the shrimp’s head and out through the top, behind its eyes.
Neither of these methods is “wrong,” they’re just different, and anglers in different areas tend to have their own ways of doing things. But the method we’ve detailed here is a great way to hook a live shrimp without killing it, and if there are fish within casting distance who like to eat shrimp, you can’t go wrong using it.
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With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk, he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.