There are very few baits in the world that always seem to work. It’s difficult to find a bait that receives consistent strikes regardless of the season or time of day. Shrimp, however, are an exception. Live shrimp, shrimp plastics and even shrimp flies are always an attractant for saltwater fish.
While the aesthetics of shrimp are tempting for the fish, you have to fish them with the proper technique otherwise you won’t have as much success.
General Understanding of Shrimp Lures
Understand the movements
Shrimp aren’t a complicated species when it comes to their movements. However, if you’re choosing to use artificial shrimp, you must understand their movements to catch the amount of fish you desire.
When in distress, shrimp will flee backwards quickly. You can accomplish this movement by jigging shrimp on a popping cork or on a jig. A quick tug will give the appearance that the shrimp is fleeing whatever fish may be nearby. It’s a great way to attract fish and give off a natural appearance.
A second common way shrimp move is to slowly swim with the current. The toughest thing to control when trying to imitate this movement is to prevent your artificial shrimp from spinning in the water. The fish will know something is wrong when the shrimp are jerking around in the current.
The third movement is the most simple. Shrimp often fall through the water column to rest on the bottom. This obviously doesn’t take much technique to accomplish. It mainly requires the proper weighted jig to reach the ocean floor.
Pay Attention to Water Clarity
Depending on your artificial shrimp, it may be more realistic looking than others. In order to have your shrimp be enticing enough for a strike, it needs to be fished in the proper water quality.
If the water is clear, use the most realistic looking shrimp you have. The fish will have time to take a long look at the bait to determine if it is real or fake. Some shrimp made by LiveTarget and Savage Gear are going to be extremely realistic. These are great to use on sunny days in clear water.
If the water is cloudy, feel free to use your more elaborate models. You can choose shrimp imitations with flash and extra color to gain the attention of the fish. Also, be sure the eyes of your artificial shrimp are reflective. Live shrimp have reflective eyes and fish rely on these to find them.
If you’re using flies, be sure to match the color of the fly to the water color. The darker the water, the darker the fly and vice versa. The fish sometimes prefer flash over realistic looking bait.
You can fish artificial shrimp in as many ways as you would like. As long as the shrimp looks natural, the fish will eat. There are, however, a few techniques that have proven to work!
Yes, popping corks are useful. Check out this article for an in-depth look at fishing with popping corks. The general idea with popping corks is to keep your bait at the proper place in the water column. You can attach the cork anywhere on the leader and keep your fish at a certain depth.
Finding the proper depth can be difficult. It’s never a bad idea to start with the shrimp at the bottom of the water column. Here, the current isn’t as strong and you won’t have to worry about the bait spinning as much. To keep the bait from a lot of movement, tie a split shot near the hook. This will increase the weight and provide a more solid appearance.
Popping corks aren’t meant to be fished like a freshwater bobber. They need action. These are especially helpful in the cloudier water. If you need some extra attention on your bait, use the popping cork. A sharp tug on the line every 20-30 seconds will bring attention to your cork.
You may see the fish take a swipe at your cork before it finds your bait, but don’t worry, it won’t take long for the fish to hit your bait.
You can also tie the artificial shrimp directly to your line. This is smart to do if you’re interested in jigging or fishing the shrimp via topwater.
If you do choose to jig and the current is strong, tie on the shrimp with a 1/2 ounce jig head to ensure it reaches the bottom. A jigging motion up and down near a school of fish will almost guarantee a strike. This is a great technique to use if you’re fishing near structure.
If the current isn’t as strong, you don’t need the extra weight and can topwater fish the artificial shrimp. Topwater shrimp strikes are amazing!
If the fish are surfacing, toss the shrimp without any weight near the fish and see what happens. A slow retrieve works. Otherwise, let it drift in the current. The fish will be able to locate it as soon as it hits the top of the water.
Different Artificial Shrimp Baits
One main thing to understand about artificial shrimp are the different types. You can find shrimp patterns in soft plastics and hard bodies. All of these work well as long as you use them properly.
The Hybrid shrimp combines both hardbody and softbody materials. The body is made of plastic and the soft portions are the legs. This design provides an extremely accurate representation.
The two treble hooks are weighted accordingly to ensure a proper free fall. The LiveTarget shrimp is very realistic and is well-known to catch fish. When fishing with the LiveTarget, you can either tie it on a jig or use it under a popping cork.
If the water is a bit dirtier, use it on a popping cork. You’ll receive more action and gain more attention from the fish as a result.
The TPE shrimp is great for jigging. It’s a soft plastic that has enough movement to look natural, but not overly loose. It has a mesh-infused body with leg and tail designs that are solid representations. Tie this on a swim bait hook and see what happens.
The TPE Shrimp is great to fish in shallow water with current. It’ll drift naturally and not spin as much as other types of artificial shrimp. It also works tied to a ½ ounce jighead. Either way, the fish will assume it is real!
The WANBY artificial shrimp come pre rigged with hooks and swivels. These are great options to use under popping corks. Choose where you would like them to sit in the water column and fish away.
These shrimp will need a split shot tied near the hook. They’re essentially weightless so the added weight will keep them where you would like in the water column. It’s not a bad idea to soak these lures with fresh feed so the baits smell like shrimp.
A great feature of the WANBY soft plastic is that there is a plastic bead built on its leader. This creates an added amount of noise. Saltwater fish like action and noise so the WANBY is a great option. It’s versatility makes it a wonderful bait to use in different fishing conditions.