How To Hook Shrimp Like A Fishing Pro [VIDEO]

By: Joseph Simonds on July 2, 2017
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how to hook shrimp

FACT: Not all hooked shrimp are created equal…

And having a poorly hooked shrimp, a limp shrimp, or having a shrimp that is rigged for the wrong fishing scenario could be hurting your landing/hooked fish ratio… (see some of the wrong ways to rig shrimp here)

But first, let’s talk about the delicious little sea bugs that we all know as “Shrimp”.

If you have ever been saltwater fishing, the chances are good that you have used shrimp as bait before.

Shrimp can catch everything from sheepshead off of the pier, to redfish on the flats, to grouper, snapper, and cobia offshore on wrecks.

Shrimp is that bait that most kids learn to catch their first saltwater fish with, yet it is the same bait that even the most seasoned anglers and fishing guides frequently turn to when they want to catch consistent (and big) fish on live bait.

And out of the countless ways to catch different species of fish in the ocean, the shrimp has remained the most overall used bait (dead or alive) in America.

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live shrimp in hand

But did you know that how you hook a shrimp really can have an impact on how many fish you ultimately catch?

Meaning, you should be hooking your shrimp differently depending on how, what, and where you are fishing.

So in this shrimp rig tutorial, we have put together two of the very best “How to hook a shrimp” videos that go over all of the best ways to hook shrimp (dead or alive).

This first one is from our friend Sam Root (of and Capt. George Valverde, and this particular shrimp hooking technique was a new one for me personally.

I think you will see that this shrimp rig would be perfect for fishing the Florida flats.

Might be a bit tough to pull off with a circle hook, but for those of you that still use J-Hooks, this method is pretty cool. Check it out.

How To Hook Shrimp With A J-Hook [VIDEO]

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Pretty cool way to hook a shrimp, huh?

Below are some other great shrimp tips from the pros.


How To Hook Shrimp (Tips From The Pros)

how to hook a shrimp

Here are a few tips from the pros on hooking shrimp.

  • Never hook a live shrimp through the brain (the darker looking area below and behind the shrimp’s horn on its head).
  • We recommend using a circle hook when fishing with shrimp (or any live bait for that matter) because by using a circle hook you don’t have to set the hook. Simply reel in. And it is better for the fish.
  • An exposed circle hook can help your amount of hookups, but it can also attract extra weeds, so make sure you use the proper hook placement depending on where you are fishing.
  • To go “weedless” with a shrimp, simply run the hook back into the meat of the tail.
  • Remember that shrimp kick backward when fleeing from a fish (predator), so always take this into account when fishing with a live shrimp in regards to how they will be naturally moving.
  • If you are going to be drifting your shrimp in the current or suspending your shrimp using a bobber or popping cork, you will definitely want to hook the shrimp through the hard shell part of its head (without hitting the shrimp’s brain). You can see what this looks like in the very first example in the video below.
  • If you want more casting distance with easier retrieval as well, hook the shrimp through the bottom of his mouth area (and coming up through the top of his head) as he does in example #3 with a jig head in the video below.
  • A live shrimp will last longer when hooked through the top of its head or tail compared to its mouth area.

Now here’s another video showing the best way to hook a shrimp using a circle hook.

How To Hook A Shrimp Using A Circle Hook [VIDEO]

(big thanks to our friends over at for this tutorial)

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Want to know the best size circle hook to use?

Check it out below.

Best Size Circle Hook For Live Shrimp

how to hook shrimp

The Mustad Demon Perfect Circle Hook (size 3/0)

We have received this question about the best circle hook for live shrimp a few times, so we thought we would give our two cents here.

Although we are certainly not the “Shrimp Experts” as we use artificial lures here at Salt Strong more often than not, in the times that we do go fishing with shrimp we like using a Mustad Demon Perfect Circle hook in size 3/0 (or 2/0), but test this out and see if you can find a hook that beats it.

These Mustad 3/0 hooks are big enough to handle even the large fish (like bull reds and grouper), yet still, has a small enough hook to hold your shrimp as bait.

To buy these Mustad shrimp hooks at the lowest price we have found them online, click here or the link below.

Mustad 39940NP-BN Demon Perfect Circle 1X Strong Hook 25pk – Size 3/0

Note: many inshore anglers say go as small as you can on the hook. You’d be surprised what you can catch on a 1/0 and 2/0 circle hook.


Although Shrimp is probably considered the top universal bait for saltwater anglers around the world, it is important to remember that all hooked shrimp are not created equal!

Hopefully, you have learned some new techniques on hooking shrimp, along with how to hook a shrimp with both j-hooks and circle hooks.

Never hook a live shrimp in the dark areas of the shrimp’s head! Those are vital organs and you will go from having a live shrimp to a dead shrimp in seconds.

Finally, don’t hesitate to leave any comments if you have questions, or if we left anything out.

Fish On!

Want to catch more consistent inshore fish?

Then join our private Inshore Fishing Club here.

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or network would like this article and videos, please Tag them or Share it with them. You Rock! Pa-POW!

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Shaunmartin586 Martin

Great tips thanks guys

Fred Zaiko
2 years ago

Very informative!

2 years ago

Great information for us snow birds!😎

2 years ago

Another great video. Which method do you like Joe, for trout and red fish? The biggest issue is keeping off those pesky pinfish and the dreaded catfish!

Ron Mahoney
2 years ago

Another of many great videos, especially the variations on hooking shrimp in various way. I suggest you check out the Owner Mutu Light Circle hooks, I switched to them for mooching/trolling salmon several years ago. Much smaller diameter wire than the Mustad Demon you recommend, so easier to penetrate the shrimp, and the fishes mouth, less impact on movement, especially with live shrimp, and less likely to break a dead shrimp when hooking. Fish On!

Doctor J.
3 years ago

Can’t believe how elusive this info has been. Started fishing down here two years ago with no knowledge of salt water fishing. Gathering bits no pieces from magazine articles, guides, tackle shops, etc. Very fragmented, sometimes confusing and contradictory. Signed up for the seminar two days ago(alas, heading north in a week), and it is a treasure trove. Finally, a comprehensive, systematic approach. Well done, boys!

3 years ago

Awesome tips and i really enjoy the videos. I saw yesterday a video of a man making a shrimp out of straw and now i cant find it ,please can you tell how to find it again

Azmi Osman
3 years ago

Great video… Thanks alot

Jody Comis
4 years ago

I appreciate the tips!

Clark Edwards
4 years ago

Thanks for the great tips , there is always more to learn!

Butch White
4 years ago

Once again I learned something new! Thanks for the info.

Cliff Snodgrass
4 years ago

Great practical video on how to fish shrimp, it is very much appreciated. A++++++

4 years ago


4 years ago

A #8 treble under the horn with a 12″ mono leader and a popping cork on top used to be killer on the flats.

Rudy Valverde
4 years ago

Where have you been fishing ,, I fish east Galveston bay and I hook behind the horn

4 years ago

I bite half of the tail fin off for added attraction it scents the water and becomes the most appealing prey due to its minor injury.