One of the most commonly used baits in the southern coastal regions is shrimp. Shrimp are incredibly prevalent in these waters. The most frequently sought after fish such as sea trout, redfish, and flounder all often dine on crustaceans much like humans. They can be caught live by throw net or bought at a local live bait shop. Like live shrimp, equally as available are frozen shrimp. How do you compare fishing with live shrimp versus dead shrimp?

Avid fishermen have likely used both live or dead shrimp. During particular times of the year, live shrimp may be hard to come by, leaving only frozen crustaceans available. For the most part, live bait is more difficult to find in the colder months. 

Live Shrimp 

Live crustaceans are one of the best baits available to catch the most prized fish in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.  No matter if you’re catching the bait or buying, it is essential to keep them alive. If they are not kept living, they become no different than buying a bag of frozen shrimp. 

Pros Of Live Shrimp

  1. They are alive. A shrimp that is moving around creates motion and vibration that can attract fish from farther distances away. Also, they attract more prized fish like trout, who prefer livies. 
  2. Live shrimp are much harder to pick off of a hook by fish. The bait is firm and does easily break apart.
  3. If you’re not the type of fisherman to catch your bait, shrimp are frequently available at bait shops. 

Cons Of Live Shrimp

  1. Depending on the season, catching live crustaceans can become more challenging. In the cold winter months, they don’t cruise near the surface or in shallow waters to toss a net over them. 
  2. No matter if you’re buying or catching the bait, equipment is required to keep them alive. Battery-operated live well pumps must be used to keep them from dying before placing them in a boat’s onboard live well system. 
  3. Because of a bait shop’s effort to catch and keep the bait in tanks swimming around, live shrimp are more expensive than frozen. 

How To Hook Live Shrimp

Without shrimp remaining alive they no longer are considered live bait. Live bait shrimp must be hooked properly in order to prevent them from being killed.

Here is How to hook live shrimp properly to avoid killing the bait. Hold the shrimp between the thumb and pointer finger. With the opposite hand hold the hook and push the point in the direction from one eye to the other beneath the rostrum. The rostrum is the elevated part of the body above the head. Never push the hook through the body near the head because it will kill the shrimp.

Live bait shrimp when hooked correctly are one of the most effective at catching inshore and offshore saltwater gamefish.

How To Fish With Live Shrimp

Live shrimp require little to no effort once they are properly secured to the fishing hook. The bait moves naturally in the water when fishing suspended beneath a float or weighted on the bottom. A live shrimps motion entices fish to strike therefore you will not be required to move the bait through the water.

Frozen Shrimp

Nearly every tackle or bait shop you stop in around the coastal regions, frozen bait almost always available. 

Pros Of Frozen Shrimp

  1. They come at a much lower price point than purchasing live bait from a bait shop.
  2. Shops that carry live bait will most likely have freezers full of frozen shrimp. Let’s face it, shops can sell it all, or they die in the live wells. These become the bait you pluck out of the freezer. 
  3. When you’re headed on vacation, buy a frozen bag of bait and place it in the cooler. This is one of the easiest to transport.

Cons Of Frozen Shrimp

  1. While redfish, shark, and flounder will readily eat dead shrimp, it is not as attractive as an active bait moving in the water.
  2. Frozen shrimp easily breaks into pieces when it is placed on a hook. Because it is fragile, small fish and blue crabs pick the bait quickly off the hook.
  3. The coloration of live versus dead is significantly different. Live shrimp are nearly opaque, while dead are redder in color. 

How To Hook Frozen Shrimp

Fishing with dead shrimp vs live shrimp is entirely different. Dead shrimp become soft and mushy resulting in them being picked free of the hook with ease.

When fishing with frozen shrimp avoid placing the hook in the head because it falls free away from the body with ease. Run the tip of the hook through the center of the body or near the tail. Using frozen shrimp presents its challenges because of the inability to remain securely attached to the hook.

How To Fish With Frozen Shrimp

Frozen shrimp for bait does entice fish to strike readily because of the lack of scent and motion. When using frozen shrimp as bait don’t allow the crustacean to remain still. The combination of motion and limited scent will increase the likelihood of a fish taking the bait.

Fishing with dead shrimp is frequently the only option because live shrimp becomes challenging to find by commercial fishermen, particularly during the winter months. Learn how to fish with both live and dead shrimp to catch fish year round.

So What Is Better Frozen Shrimp Or Live Shrimp

When it comes down to the decision of buying live shrimp over dead, the decision is clear. Live shrimp will easily outperform that of its counterpart. In the southeastern states of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, the most frequently used shrimp for bait is brown shrimp. Ensure that you have all of the necessary equipment to avoid spending unnecessary money because they will wind up become equal to purchasing frozen shrimp. Remember, if you have bait leftover at the end of the day, don’t toss them overboard. Bag them up and drop them in the freezer. This way, you can have a back up if you have a great day and run out of the live ones.