In a previous post we looked at collecting shrimps in freshwater using bait traps, now we’re going to look at converting them into fish! Freshwater shrimps are one of, if not the best bait in freshwater, especially in the stocked impoundments, and are a great for getting kids into freshwater fishing, or if you just want to relax out on the water! Just about everything in the fresh will take shrimps readily, but often it’s bass, yellowbelly, silver perch and eel-tail catfish on the target list.
Once you have your shrimps, it’s worth taking a bit of care to keep them alive, as live shrimp will outfish dead shrimp any day of the week! A submersible bait bucket, or esky with a Rapala Compact Floating Aerator will ensure you can keep your shrimp alive for at least a day or two, which is especially handy if collecting your shrimp in a different area and transporting them to your chosen fishing venue.
There are a few rigs that work well when fishing shrimps, but the three most effective are a running sinker rig, unweighted rig, and float rig. With each of these, wide gape hooks such as the Black Magic KL Series or Mustad Demon Light Gauge Circle Hooks are great, as they allow the fish to hook themselves in the corner of the mouth, reducing rates of gut-hooked fish so they can be released safely.
Finding an area to soak your shrimps isn't difficult, with many choosing to anchor off points or next to standing timber in 10-20ft of water, and dropping their bait down vertically near the bottom. If you don’t see fish on the sounder, they should show up fairly shortly if shrimp is on the menu! If you don’t have a boat, finding an area where there is deeper water close to the bank is a good idea. If possible, keeping your shrimp off the bottom is preferred, as live shrimp will burrow into the mud if they get a chance, and are less likely to be eaten if they disappear into the mud.
Fishing shrimps unweighted or with a float is a great way to get your shrimp in amongst fish-holding cover, just be ready, as shrimps won’t last long! Just flick them into the danger zone and hang on! Having good quality trace is important with hard-pulling species such as bass and yellowbelly, and Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon Clear Leader, Wilson FC Shock Leader Fluorocarbon and Daiwa J-Thread FC Leader make great trace material.
There is no shame in fishing with bait in the freshwater, and if you want consistent action in any of the dams around Australia, make sure you trap some shrimps. You’ll have a ball!
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