It’s simple and non-pretentious, but unquestionably one of the most effective and user-friendly options for saltwater anglers — the jig-and-shrimp. You’d be hard pressed to find a marine fish (other than mullet) that’ll turn up its nose at a live shrimp. Even the frozen shrimp sold at bait shops appeals to a wide array of fish from sheepshead, to black drum and mangrove snapper.
Pair that crustacean appeal with the weighted convenience of a jig head and you have a rig you can cast, jig up and down, drift downcurrent or dead stick on the bottom. Need to reach fish under a dock? A jig-and-shrimp rig skips nicely.
How you hook your shrimp depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.
For most inshore efforts, set the hook through the tail, bottom to top. If you’re seeking bigger fish like large trout, redfish, etc., sticking the hook through the first tail joint past the fins is fine because they’ll likely suck in the whole deal. Similarly, flounder are more likely to gulp what appears to be a vulnerable shrimp if the accessory is tucked inconspicuously behind the tail.
For deeper water scenarios, such as dropping over a reef site for snapper, you’ll want a more secure connection so the shrimp isn’t ripped off the jig by water pressure. Two options:
- Set the hook through the thicker base of the tail and space it so the jig head rests between the fins.
- Pinch off the tail fins to release more scent and thread the shrimp tail-first onto the hook.