Live Shrimp vs. Soft Plastic Lures (On The Water Showdown)

If you had to choose between live shrimp or a rubber worm to catch tons of quality fish… which would you choose?

Everything eats shrimp and it’s tough to beat the real thing, so shrimp should win, right?

In this episode, Luke, Capt. Mark “Hollywood” Johnson, the Salt Strong godfather (our dad, Larry), and I head out of Islamorada to Everglades National Park to test out these two baits against each other.

We got a TON of action and the results were shocking!

Tune into this newest on the water podcast to see which bait won.

You can watch the video version of this podcast below (which I definitely recommend since there’s a ton of awesome fish-catching footage), listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify and leave us a review!

Live Shrimp vs Soft Plastic Lures [VIDEO]

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Live Shrimp vs Soft Plastic Lures [VIDEO]

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Live Shrimp vs. Artificial Lures

The day started out with Luke using artificials and our dad using live shrimp, but after a few minutes, Capt. Hollywood switched our dad from live shrimp to the Slam Shady BOMBER.

Here’s why:

With live shrimp, you’ll get a bite almost every cast if you’re in a feeding zone, but you’ll catch a lot of trash fish.

And when you’re getting a bite every time with live shrimp, you’ll have to put on a new one every time.

If you’re looking to just get as many tight lines as possible, like if you’re fishing with newbies or kids, then live shrimp is a good option for you.

But if you want more quality fish, you might want to switch to artificial lures.

With lures, you may catch fewer fish overall, but you’ll catch more quality fish and fewer trash fish.

You’ll also save time by not having to re-rig every cast.

As soon as Hollywood switched our dad to the BOMBER, he went from catching ladyfish to catching snook!

Luke, meanwhile, was only using artificial lures and was only catching snook.

These Lures Caught TONS Of Fish This Trip

The two lures we were using were the Slam Shady BOMBER and a secret indestructible Brazilian shrimp we’ve been testing.

We just launched the Slam Shady BOMBER last week and as you can tell by this video, fish love it.

It’s made of a tougher material than our other soft plastics, it’s easy to rig weedless, it casts far (which is how it got its BOMBER name), it skips great, and at 5″ long it’s perfect for fall fishing when the predators are honed in on big baitfish.

You can get the Slam Shady BOMBER from our shop here.

Here’s how we were rigging them:

Type Of Spot

Although you’ve seen how powerful using the right lure can be, that doesn’t matter if you’re in the wrong spot.

The main reason we were catching so many fish (and the main thing we teach in the Insider Club) is because we were in a great spot.

Here’s why this spot was so good:

  • It was a point
  • There was a depth change
  • Birds were in the area
  • There was lots of bait (mullet, ladyfish, shrimp)
  • There was lots of current flow

When you find places that have current, bait, and structure, then you’re more likely to find feeding fish.


florida keys snook

What an awesome trip with Capt. Hollywood!

He put us in a great spot, we used proven lures (that actually outperformed live shrimp!), and we caught a ton of snook in a short amount of time.

Have any questions about finding the right spots or using the right lures?

Let us know down in the comments!

You can get the Slam Shady BOMBER from our shop here.

And if you’re in the Florida Keys and want to book a trip with Capt. Hollywood and his crew, you can find them at

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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1 year ago

You cant make that judgement from a couple days of fishing. Right now at anclote ,live shrimp is out fishing. artificial by atleast 6 to 1. Maybe 10 to 1.
I fish 7 days a week. I’m there and I see it. I dont use live shrimp but I’m being out fished a minimum of 6 to 1 . Minimum

Jeff Tutan
1 year ago

Nice! A lot of good fish have been caught at that spot.

Paul Hughes
1 year ago

They say live is better I’m completely new to saltwater fishing just getting started in fact I’m still getting equipment up for salt flats but I love plastics when bass fishing 

1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hughes

You really don’t need any different equipment for flats fishing. All of your bass equipment will work just fine. Baitcasters work well for constant cast and retrieve in marshes. Just remember to rinse off your reels each trip. You can use those same plastics to catch snook, redfish, and trout. My most recent discovery… redfish in the flats will absolutely smash a chatter bait, or spinner bait too. Almost any lure that’s catches bass, catches most saltwater fish too. 3-5” paddle tails on a jig head, or weedless ewg hook are fish catching machines.

Rob S
1 year ago

Being able to bring Luke’s rubber shrimp onboard Hollywood’s boat crossed a major threshold. Allowing Wyatt’s White Claw Hard Seltzer onboard is likely an insurmountable barrier, and even tougher than sneaking on banana contraband.

Richard Fiorentino
2 years ago

why not keep a few ladyfish, chunk it up and use it for snook?

Victor Gatell Jr
2 years ago

Hahaha, “the conclusion; live shrimp is pretty dog gonnned amazing, it works everywhere, it’s the guides choice…”.. ahh, but not this day, lol. That was so much fun to watch. I think every time the plastic caught another snook, the Captain fantasized about throwing both of you into the water with the crocs.. Oh Joe, you were classic; it looks like you took lessons on how to torment that guy.. Made my day!

3 years ago

luke tied the FG in record time here and looked different than what i have see before. can you show how he tied that so fast

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  ROY L NOBLIN

The new technique I use for the FG knot is shown in the top video on this page:

arthur courchesne
3 years ago

I just watched this video. Are you fishing in the Florida Keys? If so, I didn’t know there were crocodiles in the Keys.

Luke Simonds
3 years ago

We were staying in Islamorada, but we fished up in Flamingo. That being said, some crocs do venture down to the Keys as well. But most are in the everglades.

Sam Craparo
3 years ago

If I buy shrimp then I eat them. Artificial’s for the fish

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Sam Craparo


Cody Selph
3 years ago

I see where it says click here to get the slim shady bomber… But I don’t see where it says click here to get the Brazilian shrimp LOL 😂 can’t wait till that thing comes out.

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Cody Selph

Those shrimp are not yet available in the USA… we’re working to fix that soon.


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