That is a great question. The answer is all of the above. A shrimp will swim forward and when he runs into a predator he will start to twitch backwards. That being said, if I am fishing for snook and trout, I like to hook my shrimp up at the head area through the horn, making sure that it is above or behind the black spot which is the shrimps brain. I also use a light wire hook with a needle point for a few reasons:
- The hook is easier to penetrate the hard part of the shrimp
- The shrimp will be able to swim more naturally
- The light wire hook will also penetrate the fishes mouth easier. Snook are suckers for a quick fast moving lively bait and that is why I use that hooking method. I let the shrimp do most of the work.
When I am fishing for redfish, I like to hook my shrimp through the last joint which is just before the tail. Here I like using a 1/8th size jig head. It allows me to cast further but work the bait slowly along the bottom where most of the time redfish are feeding. When I am working the shrimp jig head I sometimes break the tail off for scent. I use the tail to chum with.
When I am fishing for sheepshead I thread the hook from the tail, all the way up through the body, following the natural contour and out the underside of the head. I sometimes do the same with a 1/8th oz jig head. As with redfish at times I will break the tail off of the shrimp and chum with it.
The only difference is with sheepshead, I use a cutting point hook. The cutting point hook will penetrate the sheepshead hard mouth easier. There are times that I will take the shell off the shrimp and then thread it. This prevents the sheepshead from taking the shrimp off so easy.
There are times when I Texas rig my shrimp to be weedless, when there is heavy grass or I need to bring it over shallow oyster bars or rocks.
The most important thing is to experiment hooking the shrimp in different areas and see what works the best. It will change at times depending on the structure and conditions your fishing.
Here are two photos of shrimp with good hook placement:
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