From the Carolinas all the way to Texas, it’s hard to top live shrimp as bait for nearshore game fish. Here are three ways to rig these tasty crustaceans:
1. For free-lining or drift fishing with realistic action, hook the shrimp in the top of its head. The hook point should go through the harder “horn” or ridge just above the eyes, so the bait stays on while casting. Avoid the dark spot (the brain), or the shrimp will quickly perish.
2. A snag-free method can be used when fishing in thick grass or around obstructions. Pinch (or bite if you like sushi) the tail flippers off. Run the hook point into and back out the remaining tail section. Rotate the hook shank, squeeze the head and tail into a slight curve and bury the hook point inside the body cavity. This method is also great for dispersing scent.
3. Jig heads are ideal for pinning a live shrimp to the bottom. The jig weight depends on current and desired depth. To rig, start the hook point perpendicular and run it up under the shrimp’s throat, again missing the dark spot. Rotate the shank downward until the point exits the top of the head.