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Shrimp Rigging

We all know that shrimp is a staple for many inshore game fish, but do we all know how to rig them for different situations? Wonder if you want distance out of your cast, can this be done using the same rig as for free-lining?  Pictured below are different methods and techniques that can be used when using live shrimp as bait.  Remember that small to medium shrimp will take a lot of smaller fish, but when your going after the bigger fish, the largest shrimp available will be more appealing to them plus it will discourage the smaller fish from stealing your bait.  Another tip would be to use the smallest hook and the least amount of weight that you can to do the job.
Short distance casting rigs
Shrimp1 The horn rig will maintain the liveliness of you shrimp if you avoid putting the hook through the stomach (dark or translucent spot behind the eyes, or it's pancreas, the dark spot behind the stomach).

1) Gently insert your hook under the shrimps horn making sure that you go between the stomach and pancreas taking care not to damage these organs. If hooked correctly the shrimp will remain alive and active as it settles to the bottom.  This rig will also work well when using a float or popping cork. Care must be taken though when popping the cork as to not getting to aggressive and tearing the shrimp off.

shrimp2 The in-line rig also will keep the shrimp alive and active.  This rig can be used for slowly working the shrimp along the bottom.

1) Again avoid the shrimps stomach and pancreas.  Put the hook under the shrimps chin and up through it head avoiding the vital organs.  Try to bring the hook out through the top of it's head as close to center as possible to maintain balance.

2) You can slowly retrieve it, and pause it every now and then to allow the shrimp to twitch and snap on it's own.  The shrimp won't live as long with this rig as it does with the horn rig.     

Long Distance Casting Rig

When a long cast is essential embedding the hook deep within the tail will reduce your chances of whipping the bait off.  If you remove the "tail fan" this will emit a scent that also attracts fish.

1)  Remove the tail fan at it's base

2) Lay the hook along side the shrimp to see where the hook should exit.

3) Like rigging a plastic worm push the hook into the center of the tail and thread the shrimp onto the shank.

4) Push the hook point through the center of the shrimps belly concealing the hook eye if desired.

Weedless Option

1) Remove the tail fan at it's base.

2) Insert  the hook point through the center of the tail.

3) Slide the shrimp along the shank and up to the hook eye.

4) Reverse the hook point and embed it in the shrimps body.  You now have a shrimp that can be fished through grass and weeds, as well as over jagged structure.

Free-Lining Options
Offset tail rig

A number of experts prefer tailhooking their shrimp in these situations, enabling the bait to swim in an almost unrestricted fashion. Furthermore, when a fish consumes the shrimp head first, the hook is easier to set because it protrudes from the baits tail in a straight, direct fashion.

Run the hook sideways through the base of the tail, just slightly ahead of the fan.  The hook should be centered to maximize its holding potential during cast and strikes.  This arrangement is also almost weedless due to the hook placement.

In-line tail rig

Some anglers prefer running the hook through the center of the tail base, which keeps the point on top of the shrimp and away from weeds and other bottom snags.  To further restrict the shrimps ability to flee from fish, and to lesser degree to emit traces of scent, some anglers remove the two outer tail fans.

Jighead/Shrimp Combination
For fishing bottom or a specific portion of the water column, a live shrimp impaled on a jighead is a hot combination.  A long-standing producer of snook, tarpon, redfish, and flounder in deep holes, and around bridges, the jighead takes the shrimp down to the bottom while the shrimp provides the the action.  Depending on species, the jig is usually bounced very subtly along the bottom or even jigged as it carried by the current.  It's important to be gentle when jigging this combo in order to keep the shrimp from sliding or falling off the hook.  Plus, you'll enhance the shrimp's action, which is what you're relying on to tempt the fish. 

1) Visually detect the stomach and pancreas.

2) Insert the hook through the shrimps chin and out of the center of it's head, avoiding the vital organs.  Make sure the shrimp is straight and firmly positioned on the hook.

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