How to Fish with Frozen Shrimp as Bait

How to Fish with Frozen Shrimp as Bait

Fishing with frozen shrimp is done almost the same way as if you were using fresh shrimp. You put it on the hook and drop your line in the water, hoping the fish will bite.

Shrimp is one of the most widely used baits for fishing. Some prefer to use live shrimp, but others prefer frozen shrimp. Which is better will depend on what you are fishing for and the fisherman’s preference.

Can I Use Frozen Shrimp for Fishing?

You can use frozen shrimp as bait when saltwater and freshwater fishing. Frozen shrimp can be an effective bait for catching a variety of fish species, particularly those that are bottom-dwelling or feed on crustaceans.

Frozen shrimp is usually used to catch sea trout, redfish, black drum, snapper, tarpon, snook, sheepshead, grouper, and flounder.

Pros and Cons of Using Frozen Shrimp

Many bait shops will take any shrimp that dies in their shrimp holding tanks, bag them, and freeze them, selling them at a discounted price. Another way you can get frozen shrimp bait is from a distributor.

These bags of frozen shrimp bait range in quality from shrimp that have been frozen and thawed many times, which reduces the quality of the bait, to shrimp that was freshly frozen for bait. 


  • It is generally widely sold in bait shops, some department stores that sell bait, and along the coast, you may find them in a convenience store.
  • Transporting frozen shrimp bait is easy as it can be stored in a cooler, tackle box, or any container. To make it ready to use, you can just thaw it in the water.
  • Frozen shrimp bait is not as expensive as fresh shrimp bait.


  • There is no live action on the end of your line, so dead shrimp will not attract fish that need to see the movement of their prey to attack it.
  • It will attract more bait thieves because a small fish can eat the shrimp off the hook without the fisherman even knowing it.
  • It will come off the hook easier because the freezing and thawing process will soften the meat and shell.

How Do You Fish with a Frozen Shrimp?

Here’s a basic method for fishing with frozen shrimp:

  1. Thaw the Shrimp: You’ll need to thaw it before rigging it. Read below how to thaw a frozen shrimp.
  2. Prepare the Hook: Choose an appropriate fishing hook size based on the size of the shrimp and the fish species you are targeting. You can use a single hook or a double hook rig, depending on your preference.
  3. Hook Placement: Depending on the size of the shrimp, you can either thread the hook through the body of the shrimp from the tail end towards the head, or you can hook it through the tail section.
  4. Bait Holder: To secure the shrimp on the hook, you can use a bait holder, which is a small rubber band or thread.
  5. Cast and Retrieve: Once your shrimp is rigged on the hook, cast your line and allow the bait to sink. Retrieve it in a slow, steady motion, mimicking the natural movement of prey.
Shrimp as bait
Shrimp as bait

Do You Thaw Frozen Shrimp for Bait?

Yes, I recommend thawing the frozen shrimp before using it as bait. Thawing helps improve its texture and makes it easier to handle when rigging it on a hook or using it as bait.

To thaw a shrimp, place it in a sealed plastic bag or container and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. This is the slowest method but helps maintain the quality of the shrimp.

You can also place it in a sealed plastic bag and submerge it in cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it remains cold. The shrimp should thaw within 1-2 hours, depending on the size of the shrimp.

If you’re in a hurry, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave to thaw the shrimp. Be cautious not to cook the shrimp.

Once the shrimp is fully thawed, remove it from the thawing method and drain any excess moisture.

After thawing and drying the shrimp, you can rig it on a hook by threading it through the body or tail. Alternatively, you can use pieces of shrimp as bait by cutting it into smaller chunks.

How Do You Rig Frozen Shrimp on a Hook?

Rigging frozen shrimp can be tricky at times. The reason is that there is a possibility that the frozen shrimp have been thawed and frozen again, which makes their body and shell turn soft.

Use a jighead to keep the shrimp from coming off the hook easily. If you do not want to add more weight to the hook, you can just put the shrimp on a plain live bait hook.

The best way to rig the frozen shrimp to the hook is to go through the rear of the shrimp instead of the head. If you go through the head, it will not work because the head will easily come off.

The first thing to do is remove the tail so you can insert your jighead or hook into the body of the shrimp. Slowly thread the shrimp onto the hook. Remember that it may be soft if the bait has started thawing. 

Once you have the hook or jighead threaded deep into the body of the shrimp, push the hook out the bottom side of the frozen shrimp. This is the most durable way to use frozen shrimp for bait.

Many fish will not be attracted to frozen shrimp bait because it is dead and not moving. To remedy this problem, break off the tail fan, head, and feet before putting it on the hook. The reason is that it will now draw fish to your hook by the way it smells.

How Many Frozen Shrimp Should You Use?

The number of frozen shrimp an angler should use to catch fish can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the shrimp, the fish species you are targeting, and the fishing conditions.

Your fishing method can also influence the amount of shrimp you use. For example, if you’re using a single hook or jig, one or two shrimp may be sufficient. If you’re using a bait rig with multiple hooks, you may use multiple shrimp to increase your chances of attracting fish.

How Should Frozen Shrimp Be Stored?

To store frozen fish for use as bait, keep the shrimps in their original packaging if it is sealed and intact. The packaging helps protect the fish from freezer burn and contamination.

Place the frozen shrimp in the coldest part of the freezer, such as the back or bottom shelf. Minimize temperature fluctuations by avoiding frequent opening and closing of the freezer door.

The storage duration for frozen fish bait can vary. It is generally recommended to use the frozen shrimps within 3-6 months of freezing for optimal freshness and effectiveness.

What Should You Do if You Can’t Find Frozen Shrimp?

If you are unable to find frozen shrimp for bait, there are several alternative bait options.

You can use fresh bait. Some popular choices include fresh fish chunks, squid, clams, mussels, or worms. These can often be purchased at local bait shops or seafood markets.

You can also consider using natural substitutes found in the fishing environment. For example, you can try using small crustaceans, insects, or small fish that are commonly found in the area as bait.

Check out: How to Fish with Ballyhoo as Bait

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