How To Rig Artificial Shrimp In Every Scenario (Backward vs. Forward)

By: Luke Simonds on January 9, 2020
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how to rig artificial shrimp

Everybody knows that scared shrimp quickly dart backward and calm shrimp slowly swim forward.

So if you’re using an artificial shrimp lure, which way should it be facing, and how should you retrieve it?

Should you rig it facing backward and erratically retrieve it?

Or should you rig it facing forward and slowly drag it across the bottom?

In this video, I’m going to share with you:

  • Scenarios for each rigging style
  • How I’ve had the most success with shrimp lures
  • And a nifty little trick to help you save money on gulp shrimp


How To Rig Artificial Shrimp [VIDEO]

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When you’re using artificial shrimp, the best way to rig them depends on the situation you’re fishing.

If you’re fishing in an area that you know predator fish are feeding on shrimp, you might want to rig them forward and work them slowly across the bottom.

This way they look natural and like they’re not yet scared, so fish will think they have an easy meal.

The bad thing about this scenario is that you can’t cover much water because you have to move so slowly.

The other scenario is that you’re covering more ground looking for feeding fish so you rig them facing backward and retrieve them quicker.

Usually when I’m fishing like I’ll do a double-twitch retrieve, which resembles a shrimp darting backward, and I’ll cover lots of water.

The reason this works is that you’re triggering a reaction strike from the fish.

How To Rig Gulp Shrimp

how to use gulp shrimp

Gulp shrimp can be rigging facing forward or backward… click here to see how to rig them for max results.

But what actually matters most here is the motion in the water, not the way it looks on land.

The double-twitch retrieve I just talked about is what gets the fish to strike, not how pretty or shrimp-like they look.

In fact, I’ve caught many fish (including a 38″ snook) on Gulp shrimp without the tail.

It looks like just a soft plastic nub, but the erratic motion is irresistible to fish.

Tip For Saving Money With Gulp Shrimp

Since it’s all about the action, I typically start with a Gulp shrimp rigged forward.

Eventually, the tail will get chewed off and the front will be all soft and torn up, so instead of throwing it away, I’ll just rig it backward.

This allows you to get a few more fish out of these lures.

Related article:

My Favorite “Shrimp” Lure

One of my favorite shrimp lures isn’t really a shrimp it all.

It’s a split tail jerk shad that’s designed to be a baitfish.

But I use the double-twitch retrieve method with this lure as well.

And since the erratic movement resembles a scared shrimp with the darting and falling, it generates a reaction strike and I catch loads of fish this way.

Note: This is actually the exact lure that I used for the balcony snook catch.



I haven’t found a one-size-fits-all approach to rigging and retrieving artificial shrimp.

It really depends on the fish and what they’re looking for that day.

Sometimes I’ll do best dragging shrimp slowly across the bottom, and other times I’ll catch more fish with a faster double-twitch retrieve.

How do you rig artificial shrimp?

What’s your favorite way to retrieve them?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who wants to catch more fish with artificial shrimp, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Rick DanielNickAndy BenedictLuke SimondsSherman Applegate Recent comment authors
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Rick Daniel

Thanks Luke… I took my wife out last Tuesday here in Jacksonville. She caught 13 reds including one that was 20″. I got SKUNKED! The difference, she only fishes with live shrimp and I was hell bent on catching some on gulp shrimp. Since I know the fish were there, I’m thinking either they are finicky in winter months and prefer the live bait OR I my presentation was off. I was rigging my gulp shrimp head first and was slowly bumping along the bottom so not sure what the problem was. I recently caught reds in the fall months using both 3″ and 4″ gulp shrimp and paddle tail.

Andy Benedict

Luke, this was extremely helpful. Thank you! One year ago (February-Panhandle) I took my dad out and got skunked not just for a day but the WHOLE trip (2.5 days of fishing). By enlarge, this was pre-Salt Strong education. I did EVERYTHING wrong. My biggest takeaway at the time was to NOT fish in February. I’m considering challenging this takeaway next month. Will keep you posted!
…..Insider Andy/TN Salt…..GO TITANS!


Love your videos. Thanks for taking the time to make them and sharing them.

Nathan Lindell

My son turned me on to LiveTarget lures. They make a shrimp that is shockingly realistic but it catches just as many fish as the cheap Gulp Shrimp

Joseph Gill

Iv’e had great success with the Savage Gear TPE 3D Manic Shrimp. Lot’s of different colors, sizes and all with weighted hooks pre-rigged. Pretty sure Salt Strong had done a video on these before. The most realistic I’ve seen. Expensive but as stated the tail section is infused with Nylon mesh so all those little fish nibles don’t hurt them. They last a long time.



Michael Collins

Another great video. As you know Gulp is water-based and unfortunately rather soft and doesn’t always last very long. A friend turned me onto using super glue gel to resurrect a few that are torn. It works surprisingly well.

Tom Hood

Very helpful.
Good to know I can rig the shrimp backwards and work it more quickly to cover more ground.
Also liked the gulp tip trick to rig it backwards when it’s getting tore up.

Fred Zaiko

Thanks for another good presentation! I generally use DOA shrimp and I found your comments useful. It is hard to cover a lot of ground quickly with the way one needs to fish it.

Gary Brady

I usually rig my DOA shrimp head first on a jig. I can cast
it further, I use double twitch slow retrieve when cold. When warmer weather hits like this week I use slam shady w jig on steady retrieve near bottom.

Mark Bocchinfuso

How did you get Otis back in the boat after you landed the snook?

Michael Palmieri

Thanks Luke!
Great info!

Ed Leon


I also started using little gulp shrimp pieces like you had suggested in another video for live pin fish bait….
It worked GREAT!!!