Fishing with shrimp as live bait is a very effective way to catch fish. Almost all the popular sports fish feed on shrimp. So if you are not already using shrimps as a live bait already this article will get you started.
Shrimps has a lot advantages that other baits lack. Shrimps are often very easy to obtain, they are easy to keep alive and they sit well on the hook. Even though shrimps are small they draw a lot of attention to them self. When a fish approaches the shrimp will start to "kick and jump" and this movement will trigger a strike from any fish that has shrimp on the menu card.
Shrimps can be fished in many different ways. Under a cork near the surface, near the bottom using a weight or on tackles that allow the shrimp to be presented in the middle of the water.
To fish the shrimp as live bait it is important that it is hooked the right way. If it is hooked the wrong way the shrimp wont stay alive and you will be fishing with fresh dead bait. Even though a dead shrimp can be a good bait, a live one that is kicking and jumping will normally be far more effective.
A popular way to hook the shrimp is through the tail as showed on the image above. When hooked this way, the shrimp can stay alive for a very long time. The hook should fit the size of the shrimp and in general it is a good idea to use small hooks. The use of small hooks will present the shrimp the most natural way and the target fish wont notice that anything is wrong when taking the shrimp.
Acquiring live shrimps.
The easy way is to by them if you can find a tackle shop or a fresh fish store that sells live shrimp. But in many cases shrimp can be found at the fishing spot.
The image above shows the result of simple shrimp fishing with a handheld net. I this case the net was dragged over a sand bottom on very shallow water. The shrimps rely on camouflage and you cant se any proof of life before you lift up the net and realize that both small fish and shrimps are within a nets reach.
Often anglers aren't aware that there are plenty of live bait available and that it is easy to catch it. Many shrimps and small fish rely on camouflage and they wont start fleeing before it is already to late. The camouflage is so good that most anglers never even realize that they are literally standing in or sailing right over high quality live bait.
The best way to catch shrimp is to get a net and drag it over the bottom. Try along stones and through seaweed and don't forget the "dull" sand bottom. It might look dull but often it is full of life.
How to keep the shrimps
Shrimps are actually pretty though and there are several effective techniques that will keep them alive till you need them. One very effective way is to use a nylon stocking as a small keep net. It can be wrapped around a cup or a small jar to make some space for the shrimps. The stocking is then placed in the water as any other keep net.
Shrimps don't have to be in water to live. The important factor is that they don't dry out. If on a boat you can keep them in a box with some seaweed. The wet seaweed will keep the bow moistened and prevent the shrimps from drying out. Drill some holes in both top and bottom and lower the box into the water once i a while to keep the shrimps wet. If the water is cold and the air is warm it is better to keep the shrimps in the water in a keep net. Sometimes the temperature will hurt the shrimps and if you are using a box try to keep it out of the sun.
A third technique that is a bit more complicated is to cool the shrimps down. You will need a small ice cooler, ice and a newspaper. Fill the ice cooler half full of ice and place a wet newspaper section on top of the ice. Now simply place the shrimps on the newspaper and close the cooler. The shrimps will go into some kind of suspended state when cooled down this way. If kept cool they will last all day. When a shrimp is placed on a hook and put back into the water it will "wake up" and act as if it was just caught.