Shrimp Tips

Shrimp are the universal bait- pretty much anything that swims will eat a shrimp. The are readily available year round, inexpensive, easy to keep alive, and can be used to target pinfish to tarpon. Tampa Bay fisherman rely on live shrimp!

Shrimp are graded according to size. “Regulars” are, in fact, small- and sometimes tiny. These are the ones that are left if you don’t get to the bait store soon enough. These are also typically the only size available during the heat of the summer. “Select” or “Handpicked” shrimp are usually pretty hefty. These are the ones you’re looking for if you’re targeting fish larger than a couple of pounds. The largest, “Jumbos” are actually not often seen. If you are able to get a couple dozen of these, forget fishing and head straight for the nearest grill. I’ve seen Jumbos that topped half a pound… scary stuff.

 If you are targeting species that that prefer to attack a lively shrimp, such as snook or redfish, always hook the shrimp through the ‘horn’ at the front of the head, being careful to miss the dark spot (the brain). Size the hook to the shrimp, not to the fish you are after. If you’re after bottom dwells that aren’t particularly picky (say, whiting), then tail hook the shrimp by running the point of the hook through the last tail joint (the thickest part), and threading it up as far as possible through the body, letting only the point emerge. This will provide maximum security for long casts, and at the same time make the bait less susceptible to getting nibbled off by pinfish.

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