Many plastic imitation lures are successful, but almost none are as good as the real thing. That's not the case, however, with some soft plastic shrimp. Properly rigged, these amazing lures can not only match live bait, but may even out-fish it at times.
|DOA wrote the book on plastic shrimp, and they're still one of the best choices for trout, reds, snook and any other species that likes live shrimp. The lures are impregnated with farm-raised shrimp, so they add scent to the lifelike movement of the molded legs and the slow, natural fall of the body. They're available in a wide variety of sizes, but the most effective all-around are the 3-inch and 4-inch versions. They can be rigged on a hook of your choosing, and they come with a weight, which can be slipped into the body to get them deep when needed.|
|The LIVETARGET Shrimp, also available in 3- to 4-inch sizes, pre-rigged and scented, is without doubt the single most exact match for the real thing. It's hard to tell which is which when you put one down by a live shrimp. They are considerably more expensive than others, however, and given the tendency of sheepshead and pinfish to nip them up, this can be an important factor.|
|The Savage Gear TPE 3D Manic Shrimp is another extremely life-like lure—reportedly fashioned from live scans of shrimp. It includes a flexible tail section attached to the body with nylon mesh for added durability. It's available in sizes from 2.5- to 6-inches and pricing is moderate.|
|The Berkley GULP! ALIVE! Shrimp looks less lifelike than the others because the materials used don't lend themselves to exact molding. However, the scent of these lures is apparently an aphrodisiac to gamefish—particularly fish that rely on scent to feed, like flounder and redfish. They often come long distances to pick these lures up, even when the shrimp are sitting absolutely still on bottom. In fact, there are times when these are the only lures that will fool reds in ultra-clear and very shallow water. The lures come in a jar of scent solution, and can be restored to full potency anytime they wash out by being dropped back into the jar.|
All shrimp lures work best if fished very slowly. In fact, the ideal approach is simply to cast them upcurrent and then let the tide flow provide all the movement. Sometimes adding a bobber to extend the drift is necessary where the flow is slow and the water is shallow. But in general, you simply fish the artificial shrimp exactly like you'd fish a live one. When you feel a tap, set the hook!