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How To Use Shrimp For Catfish Bait (Tips and Techniques)

catfish on dock caught with shrimp

Since the beginning of time, every fisherman has claimed to have their favorite bait that they swear works every time. It’s their go-to bait. We all have them. For me, when it comes to catfishing, my go-to bait is either chicken livers or a home made stink bait that I’ve put together.

But what about using shrimp as catfish bait? Can you catch catfish with it? Yes…yes you can. And although shrimp is not my first choice of bait to use for catfishing, it’s definitely one I recommend trying.

Catfish are opportunistic eaters, meaning they’ll eat anything they come across as long as it looks or smells appealing. So those are the senses that you want to capitalize on when using shrimp for catching catfish.

Shrimp will catch catfish. Here’s how.

Read More: The Best Rod and Reel Combo For Catfish

How To Use Shrimp for Catfish Bait

When it comes to using shrimp as catfish bait, you really have three different options to choose from: stinky, not stinky and cured. I almost always, without exception choose cured or stinky shrimp bait.

Stinky Bait

It’s not difficult to make stinky bait for catfish. When it comes to making shrimp stinky, it can be as simple as placing fresh shrimp in a Zip-Loc bag and setting it out in the sun for a few days. Just make sure that you keep that bag of spoiled shrimp closed tightly. The smell can easily churn the toughest of stomachs.

Getting your hands on fresh shrimp is pretty easy too, and doesn’t even have to be expensive. Just ask your local seafood market if you can take their expired shrimp off their hands. If you let them know you plan on using it as fishing bait, there’s a good chance they’ll just hand it over to you for free.

Cured Shrimp

But I like to take things one step farther. I’ll cure the shrimp along with a batch of livers. That way I have a variety of bait to use if one doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.

It’s really as simple as taking fresh bait and curing it right along with the livers in the same batch with salt and plenty of garlic. Then I’ll allow the shrimp and the livers to sit out in the sun for 5 hours on each side.

In the end what you have is a nice batch of stinky cured shrimp and livers ready to be used as catfish bait.

Not Stinky

Using fresh shrimp for catfish bait can work, but it shouldn’t be your first choice. Even though fresh shrimp does have a scent to them that attracts catfish, compared to the stinky or cured shrimp, it really just doesn’t do well.

If, however you do decide to use fresh shrimp while catfishing, try adding a nightcrawler, chunck of liver or small baitfish to the hook as well. This way when the catfish is attracted to the bait by the scent of the shrimp, it will recognize the other baits and be more apt to strike.

Does Shrimp Work As Catfish Bait?

In my experience of catching cats, I’ve found that shrimp does work and is an effective bait. Like I mentioned, catfish are opportunistic feeders, and as long as the bait is appealing, they will take it.

With that said, I’ve also learned that shrimp is an excellent bait for catching smaller catfish in the 2 to 5 pound range. If you’re fishing for monster cats, then shrimp is not the first bait I’d go to. Livers and nightcrawlers and baitfish are going to serve you better for the larger cats.

But if you’re fishing for eating size catfish, shrimp is an excellent bait.

How To Catch Catfish With Shrimp (VIDEO)

Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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