Can You Use Shrimp For Catfish Bait? Full Guide And Tips

Written by Joshua in Fishing
Image Credits: Pixabay.com

Can you use Shrimp for catfish bait? Using shrimp for catfish bait is one of the best methods you can use when fishing for catfish. It does however depend on several different factors. It makes a difference which species of catfish you are targeting and where you are fishing.

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It’s also crucial that you present and use the shrimp correctly to increase your odds of success. Shrimp for catfish bait has been used for many years and continues to be a top pick among catfish anglers.

I don’t think this is going to change anytime soon. This blog is all about how to effectively use shrimp, present it and ultimately land more catfish at the end of the day. A few quick pointers and this guide and you can be catching more catfish in no time.

Reading around and being an active part of other fishing forums, it seems that many anglers and more specifically, beginning catfish anglers struggle with shrimp when they start or don’t seem to have the best of luck, so the goal here is to change that and get everyone up to speed. It lands its self into my full guide for catfish fishing, so I figured it’s worth a quick discussion on how to use it properly for the best luck possible.

Let’s dive in.

Does Shrimp Catch Catfish?

Easy question and easy answer. 

Does shrimp catch catfish? Shrimp does catch catfish and is the go to catfish bait as long as you are fishing for channel catfish.

I’ve noticed it’s only a top go to catfish bait for channel catfish. I’ve never had killer luck using shrimp to catch flathead or blue catfish. Simply put, if your targeting channel catfish, you’re in the right place but if your targeting flatheads and blue’s, you may be better served using different baits to catch them more effectively.

Is Shrimp One of The Best Baits For Catching Catfish?

I don’t know if it would fall into my top three baits for channel catfishing, but it cracks the top 10. It’s easy to use and works with high efficiency for channel catfish. Depending on a few timeline factors or how much additional time you have before needing the shrimp for bait, there are simple steps you can complete to add to the potent power of using shrimp for catfish bait.

Pros And Cons of Using Shrimp For Catfish Bait.

Pros of Using Shrimp For Catfish Bait:

  • Easy to use
  • Comes in abundant quantities
  • Easy to purchase
  • Easy rig set up
  • High effectiveness for channel catfish

Cons of Using Shrimp For Catfish Bait:

  • Costly when purchased in stores
  • Other bait options may be more effective
  • Highest efficiency needs a 72-hour wait before use

How do You Rig Shrimp For Catfish Fishing?

The first thing to remember when rigging your shrimp is that best practice is to remove the skin and the tail from the shrimp. Leaving it on will diminish returns and diminish the overall scent the shrimp is putting off under the water surface. Let it breathe. Here is the breakdown and steps you can use to hook your shrimp correctly.

Hook the shrimp through the head at the pointed end of the hook.

  • Method 1: The Hook Through The Head Method
  • Method 2: The Hook Through The Broken Tail Method

Method 1

If your Bottom Fishing Hook the shrimp through the head by coming out the other side of the head, not be stringing the shrimp all the way to the tail. This will allow the shrimp to sit more correctly and give a better bait presentation on the bottom of the water.

The problem you will run into doing this is the shrimp can fall off the hook much easier than stringing the hook through the entire body of the shrimp down towards the tail.

Method 2

If you’re looking for cruising catfish or catfish not hanging out in the deep holes, you can use a different approach to how you slide the hook into the shrimp. Start by snapping off the tail of the shrimp. This is going to add some great scents and put off some natural attractants into the water. Once the tail is split off, you can place the hook through the rear of the shrimp and have it exit mid-torso.

This is going to provide a few distinct advantages to your channel catfishing game. Here are the benefits of using this rig and hooking method for shrimp.

Added Casting distance. The shrimps head being adjacent from the hook will add weight in the direction of momentum needed to cast further.

The nice added smell and attractants are releasing into the water and making your bait a little more irresistible for the channel catfish.

Frozen or Thawed Shrimp For Effective Catfishing?

Either technique will work to catch channel catfish but the absolute best way to use the shrimp is to give it time to rot away in the sun or outside for 3-5 days before using. Yes, it will get horribly stinky and could cause the neighbors to have some concern, but the added stink and scent makes it that much more powerful when it comes game time for hooking into some nice channel catfish.

You also have the option to keep shrimp live. Obviously, the store purchased shrimp isn’t going to work for this, but it is an option for those catfish anglers that prefer live bait or nothing at all. Personally, I haven’t noticed a big difference or anything worth the additional work of keeping the shrimp alive.

Overall, I prefer just to store purchase the shrimp, let it rot and spoil over the few days leading up my fishing trip (of course keep it away from possible rodents and wildlife) that may wander into your yard and don’t do this inside your home unless your prepared for a smell that’s going to be tough to get rid of.

Don’t Purchase Shrimp From Bait Stores

I know it’s easy when you’re picking up a few other needed items in the bait store to just grab the shrimp from the bait store and be on your way. Store purchased shrimp is going to serve you better. It comes in larger quantities, and its higher quality shrimp overall.

It may cost just a bit more to purchase from the store, but overall the success rates of catching more channel catfish or catfish, in general, will be much higher.

Should You Ever Cook The Shrimp Before Using as Catfish Bait?

Should you cook the shrimp before using as catfish bait? You can cook the shrimp before using it as catfish bait. However, you will have better luck with the raw shrimp due to the smell it puts off into the water, but cooked shrimp can still catch channel catfish. 

For the sake of time, I’d recommend against it, but some anglers prefer it.

If you’re on a cold streak or have recently had some rough outings out there trying to land channel catfish, take a shot. Cook it. See how you do.

Mixing things up can never diminish luck. You don’t know if you don’t try and without trying you have no real data to go off of. I have caught channel catfish with cooked shrimp. The only difference with me is I didn’t cook the shrimp with the intentions of fishing with it.

I just happened to have some leftovers and decided to take them out.

Garlic or no Garlic And What About Other Additives?

This one is entirely up to you. It’s not necessarily needed, but anything you can do to stink up bait is never going to hurt. If it gets the channel cat’s attention, they aren’t going to be too picky about what they eat. I’d say go for it if you’re looking for the added punch and flavor.

If not, the time may not be worth using to go through the additional step considering the shrimp with no other additives or ingredients is going to get the job done just as well. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Other Considerations Using Shrimp For Catfish Bait

For the most part, shrimp is going to be sufficient for channel catfishing any time of the year and in most weather conditions. Again, and I can’t state it enough. It’s not necessarily the best choice of bait for the larger flathead and blue catfish.

Shrimp is a bait you can use catfishing in the winter or summer. It’s never too cold to use shrimp for catfishing. You can also use shrimp during storms and other weather patterns to effectively try and target the channel catfish.

Overall, it’s incredibly versatile and an excellent easy bait to work with. I’d recommend at least giving it a try before knocking it.

Are you going to begin using shrimp for Catfish Bait?

Using shrimp when catfishing can be excellent but other great baits are also always options. It’s not an absolute must try bait. If you already have a preferred bait of choice just like I do with my “go to” stink bait and dip worm methods then stick with it. Don’t fix what’s not broken.

On the flip side, it is an easy, non-complicated bait to get fishing with so can easily be recommended to beginning catfish anglers just trying to get their feet wet with the hobby and learn the ropes slowly. Either way, shrimp, if appropriately used falls into a category of my top 10 catfishing baits.

Let it thaw and spoil for a few days, rip that tail off and slide the hook through and your well on your way to landing some nice channel catfish the next time you hit the waters.

As always, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletter for the most up to date blog post and all my new recommended fishing gear that I release on a weekly basis. It’s free and silly not to get the inside scoop.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. See you next time.

About Joshua
My name i Joshua, and i am one of the authors on BonFireBob - I especially like writing about fishing and fishing gear.

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