How To Catch Fish With Live Shrimp In The Shallows (Spots & Rigging Tips)
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.
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]
If you want to see exactly where I was fishing, and why I chose that spot, click the link below (Insider Club only)
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Alright now, let’s break down the tips and strategies I used on this trip.
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
So now that you have your shrimp rigged up, you need to know where to go.
Here’s what we’re looking for:
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:
- 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.
Two things that helped me catch fish here were:
- Casting the shrimp close to structure
- 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.
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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you need not to bring a dog too disturbing
Will Vudu shrimp work on the kind of fishing you were doing? I saw that the dead shrimp you used took a lot longer to be hit.
The Vudu shrimp are mostly for deeper water scenarios, and they aren’t weedless, so I would not have considered using them for this type of fishing where I was in shallow water with seagrass, oysters, and mangroves that the fish were holding close to.
If I were to use a lure, it would have been a Power Prawn USA Jr rigged on a Hoss hook because it would be a weedless presentation that does a great job covering shallow water.
Great video and instruction. Can you tell me if you use minnows and if so, how do you hook them?
Thanks Carol! I do use small baitfish on occasion. The hook placement depends on multiple variables like the species/size of the baitfish as well as the speed of the current flow. You can see more live bait tips on this page: https://www.saltstrong.com/article_categories/live-bait-fishing-tips/
I love you guys!(: And I love Otis!! 😀
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!
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
The locals where I fish inshore suggested tearing the head and tail off. Not sure how that’s helpful.
I’m not sure why that’s helpful either… the pro is that it’ll help disburse scent, but the con is that it’ll leave a lot of meat exposed which makes it easier to the small baitfish like pinfish to tear it apart before a bigger predator finds it.
All ya need is boiled and butter
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.
Confused!! Thought previous videos recommended tearing off the tail and inserting hook so it came up through the top?
Just like most things, there’s not a 1 size fits all answer so it’s important to be knowledgeable of both options for using live shrimp. The tail-off method (max scent) generally works best when soaking a shrimp on the bottom next to hard structure when trying to get as many strikes as possible.
The method shown in this video (max action) in which the shrimp is free to dart around in the water is generally best when drifting under a popping cork off the bottom.
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
The access to those rivers seems pretty far upriver, but shrimp should still work. Otherwise, I’d go with some small baitfish because pretty much everything eats those too.