How To Catch Fish With Live Shrimp In The Shallows (Spots & Rigging Tips)

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It’s shrimp time!

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about using live shrimp to catch fish in shallow water, so I went out and documented this adventure where I caught redfish, snook, snapper, and sheepshead all on live shrimp.

The plan was to go out and get some sheepshead and snapper for dinner, but if you’re using live shrimp nearly anything will eat it, so I ended up with some accidental redfish and snook—not a bad bycatch!

And just for fun, to complete the slam I went out to some sandy potholes and threw a Slam Shady for a nice little trout.

Here are some reasons why you might want to use live shrimp for bait:

  • You want to catch sheepshead and snapper (like I was doing)
  • You want tons of fish-catching action (you’ll see I caught lots of fish in the video below)
  • You’re fishing with kids or new anglers (who just want tight lines)
  • Tossing out a shrimp under a cork is easy (another reason why it’s great for kids and beginners)

In the video below I’ll show you where I was fishing, why I chose that area, how to rig shrimp for more bites, and the best strategies to catch fish with them.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you want the behind the scenes footage where I reveal the exact spot on the map I was fishing and more, click here to join us in the Insider Club.

How To Use Live Shrimp In The Shallows [VIDEO]

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If you want to see exactly where I was fishing, and why I chose that spot, click the link below (Insider Club only)

And if you’re not part of the Insider Club, but want access to reports like this, discounts on fishing gear, and the best local fishing spots, click here to join.

Alright now, let’s break down the tips and strategies I used on this trip.

How To Rig Live Shrimp

how to rig live shrimp

Before we get into rigging the shrimp, let’s talk about hook size.

At first, I had on a 1/0 hook, but some of the shrimp I was using were only about 2 inches long, so I decided to switch to a #1 hook.

This is important whenever fishing with live bait because if the hook is too big, it’ll weigh down the bait and it won’t be able to look natural.

As far as where I was hooking the shrimp, when fishing them under a cork I like to hook them below the base of the horn, while making sure not to go through their brain.

Check out the image above to see exactly where I hook them.

And for this trip, most of the fish were caught underneath a popping cork.

I like using a cork in the shallows because it allows me to drift over the oyster bars and along the mangrove shorelines without getting snagged.

I’ll talk more about this later, but first let’s talk about where to find feeding fish.

Best Fishing Spots While Using Live Shrimp

live shrimp as bait

So now that you have your shrimp rigged up, you need to know where to go.

Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Bait
  • Structure
  • Current

If those three things are present, there are likely to be feeding predator fish around.

Since I had been to this spot once before, I knew that there was bait around (plus I had seen lots of sheepshead and snapper).

Also, there were several elements of structure around, including:

  • Points
  • Deeper mangrove shorelines
  • Oyster bars
  • A deeper channel between the two mangrove islands

Like always with structure, the more the merrier.

And finally, since it is a funnel point between two mangrove islands, there is plenty of current.

Now let’s get into the strategies that actually helped me get fish in the boat.

Casting Strategies

sheepshead on live shrimp

Two things that helped me catch fish here were:

  1. Casting the shrimp close to structure
  2. Presenting the bait naturally

In the first spot where I caught the snook, you can see I cast the shrimp within about a foot or two of the point.

Predator fish, like snapper and snook, are hiding out near the mangrove roots waiting for an unsuspecting fish or crustacean to swim by.

By placing my shrimp close to where they’re hanging out, I’m more likely to catch their attention and coax them into coming out and eating.

Now the second tip that allowed me to catch the bigger snapper and sheepshead was presenting my bait naturally.

I spotted a point in the cut that I thought would likely have fish holding on it, so I cast upcurrent of the point and let the current naturally take my shrimp through the strike zone.

This strategy paid off with a sheepshead and a keeper snapper.

Conclusion

mangrove snapper on live shrimp

If you want to catch lots of fish, are fishing with beginners or kids, or want some sheepshead and snapper for dinner, throwing out a live shrimp under a bobber or with a split shot is a great idea.

And to find the feeding zones, make sure to look for areas with structure, current, and bait.

Have any questions about using live shrimp in shallow water?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who uses live shrimp, be sure to TAG or SHARE this with them!

P.S. If you want the behind the scenes footage where I show you the exact spot on the map I was fishing and more, click here to join us in the Insider Club.

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Carol Garcia
3 months ago

Great video and instruction. Can you tell me if you use minnows and if so, how do you hook them?
=

Jessica Margiewicz
4 months ago

I love you guys!(: And I love Otis!! 😀

Wes White
4 months ago

Enjoyed the video. I took my 6 yr old son fishing for the first time and he caught a small mangrove snapper with shrimp. We were fishing off a dock near New Smyrna. He was so excited. Thanks for the tips!

Modzar Yunus
6 months ago

nice video, in my place sarawak malaysia, i 100% will be using live shrimp, and in some condition of flowing current river, sometime i will rig it in the head if the current is fast, and rig it to the tail if current is slow or fishing bottom

Kelly Grizzard
6 months ago

The locals where I fish inshore suggested tearing the head and tail off. Not sure how that’s helpful.

Warren sutton
3 months ago
Reply to  Kelly Grizzard

All ya need is boiled and butter

Kelly Grizzard
6 months ago

I am an amateur. But I love to try. I just don’t know how. I also happen to know what a sheepshead, a pompano, and a redfish are. But how do I catch them. And omg was this bit of information helpful. Don’t be sold to the frozen iodine saturated stuff the bait shop sales you. The fish don’t like that. Once it turns red.. it’s done. But live stuff… It’s nature for crying out loud. Makes a lot of sense.

Richard Van Gilder
8 months ago

Confused!! Thought previous videos recommended tearing off the tail and inserting hook so it came up through the top?

Paul Bates
8 months ago

I fish Econfina and aucilla River ways and flats of Florida in the area including port Saint Joe bay and Indian pass. Suggestions for this area?? I don’t get to go much s as I am handicapped. But love it

Brett Laws
1 year ago

Luke, do you go with lighter action rods than you typical inshore set-up when targeting snapper and sheepshead?

Brett Laws
1 year ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thank you for the quick response, Luke.

Jayar Narciso
1 year ago

Hey Luke,

Love everything yall do and love all the videos. I have followed yall for a few months now and thinking about purchasing the inside membership.  

I am pretty new in fishing and definitely a little frustrated when I don’t go home with any catch.  

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