How to Catch Shrimp for Bait

Written by erin ringwald
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How to Catch Shrimp for Bait
Shrimp make excellent sportfish bait. (shrimp image by Lukasz Ozimek from

Shrimp is a very effective bait to use on many fish, including sportfish. Shrimp make appealing bait because they are hearty and easy to keep alive until you are ready to use them, plus they fit nicely on a fishing hook. They are readily available at fishing and bait stores, but if you prefer, you can easily catch your own. Shrimping can be a fun experience itself.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Net
  • Boat
  • Storage container

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  1. 1

    Drop your net into the water. The type of net you use will depend on the state-specific regulations for the area you will shrimping.

  2. 2

    Drag it across the bottom of the water. If you are shrimping out at sea, drop the net as low as it will go. If you wish to shrimp at night, you want to do it in shallower water, since the water is cooler and the shrimp move inland. During the day, when it is hot, the shrimp move to deeper, cooler waters so you will need a boat.

  3. 3

    Pull the net up. The net will be full of shrimp and other sea life. Shrimp use camouflage to protect themselves. If the area you are shrimping seems devoid of life, it is still likely fish are present.

  4. 4

    Remove the shrimp and move them to your preferred storage container. Shrimp should be kept alive until you are ready to use them as bait. You can do this by placing them in a keep net in the water. Or you can place some seaweed in a cooler or tackle box and place the shrimp in there. They do not need to be submerged in water to stay alive; they just need to remain moist.

  5. 5

    Release any other sea life back into the water. Many marine species are protected and cannot be removed from their natural habitat.

Tips and warnings

  • If you prefer, you can obtain a shrimp pot, also known as a shrimp trap. These are placed in the water and left for a period of time. You can then check the traps later on to see what has been caught. You should place shrimp bait in the pot prior to setting.
  • You can shrimp anywhere they are found; however, certain coastal states, such as Florida, Alabama, Georgia and North and South Carolina are good destinations. Contact the state's department of fish and game to obtain a recreational shrimping license.
  • Obtain a list of the state's specific rules and regulations regarding shrimping. Each state varies on the times of year you can shrimp, what size of net or pot you can use and the amount you are allowed to catch. You can get a copy of these regulations from the Fish and Game department when you obtain your license.

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