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]

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

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.


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.

Do You Want To Quickly Find New Fishing Spots In Your Area?

Then you’ve got to see this private fishing club!

Here’s what you’ll receive today:

  • Weekly fishing reports and TRENDS revealing where the inshore fish are feeding all year long
  • Weekly “spot dissection” videos that walk you through all the best spots in certain areas
  • Exclusive fishing tips from the PROS you can’t find anywhere else
  • Everything you need to start catching fish more consistently (regardless if you fish out of a boat, kayak, or land).

Click here to join today.

Related articles:

Related categories:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
roy noblin
1 year ago

another great video and how you got so close cast after cast to the mangroves and not catching them is something i only wish i could do. it was really great to see otis again. he still gets so excited but has learned to stay in the boat and how he did not slip in a couple times there i do not know. he has grown into the perfect fishing mate thanks to your patience. good job luke

Bennie Thomas
1 year ago

Those were some great cast to get up by the mangroves. Over the years, how many times has Otis went into the water? The better question would be, how many times has he pushed you into the water? Thanks for all the great videos. Sometimes I watch them on my lunch break and it makes me want to leave work and hit the water. Keep up the great work!!!

Glenn Acomb
1 year ago

Luke: Enjoyed the video a lot. I marvel how Otis is so interested in fishing – what a fishing buddy. So you don’t pop the cork but just use it to hold the shrimp at a fixed depth?

Randal Jones
1 year ago

Great video Luke, thanks. Always educating and entertaining.

Friend Friend
1 year ago

Good video Luke. Really like the explanations of set up and techniques. Not just what you are doing but also why. Much appreciated.

MIke Connor
9 months ago

Most of my fishing here in Southern CA (Dana Point and San Clemente areas) are from a kayak. I am looking forward to trying some your these techniques on the fish here to see what works and what doesn’t. We do get Sheepshead in the kelp beds, along firh Calico bass, etc. Will keep you posted.

Jayar Narciso
6 months 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.  

Brett Laws
6 months ago

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

Brett Laws
6 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Thank you for the quick response, Luke.

Paul Bates
28 days 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

Richard Van Gilder
21 days ago

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


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

Other Fishing Tips You May Like :

4 Tips To Find The Best Fishing Spots (Online And On The Water Tactics)

Want to know how to find the best fishing spots? Learn how to use online maps and on-the-water tactics to find feeding zones and catch more fish.
See Full post

Strong Angler Of The Week: Steve Glover

Can you imagine catching loads of trout and giving your sons the time of their life on the water? That's exactly what this Strong Angler of the Week did!
See Full post
1 comment
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x