5 Reasons Why Using Shrimp for Catfish Bait is Good

Shrimp for Catfish Bait

All of you probably know that catfish love smelly and disgusting baits. From chicken liver and stinkbait, boilies to cheap hotdogs, this fish will bite on almost anything.

Shrimp may seem too “normal” for catfish, but they are actually working surprisingly well. Of course, for the best effect, you will have to spice them up a bit.

Shrimp for catfish bait has numerous advantages. It is easy to get, fairly cheap, natural, and can be spiced up with various flavors. It is easy to use even by beginners, and of course, it is very effective!

The best of all is that shrimps will attract various species of catfish. You can even use frozen ones if you don’t have any other options.

When it comes to bait preparation, your options are almost unlimited. From adding garlic, to keeping them out to start spoiling, everything has a potential to work in your favor.

Here I will tell you more about using shrimp for catfish bait, and give you a few tips on how to spice it up.



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Can you Catch Catfish with Shrimp?

The answer is definitely YES! Shrimp can be a great catfish bait if you prepare it right. I will tell you a bit more about this a bit later on.

You can use this bait in almost any water, and in all seasons, although it works best during summer. There are two reasons why. Firstly, in summer, catfish are on the move and are feeding actively. They can’t see well, but they can smell the food from a great distance. So, when they sense the smell of spiced up shrimps, catfish will come close, and maybe even bite if you are lucky. This is especially important for beginners who don’t always know where exactly to find fish.

Secondly, smell can travel further away in warm water. Although effective, shrimps are not the smelliest bait, so you need to use them in conditions where nature is working in your favor.

How do you Prepare Shrimp for Catfish Bait? [Best Ways]

Shrimp for catfish bait has to be prepared right in order to be effective. First of all, you have to buy it.

Freshwater shrimps will work excellent; however, they can cost a lot in baitstores. Buy them in supermarkets or catch them yourself. Some anglers use saltwater shrimp, and when spiced up, they too can do the job.

The next step is to spice them up a bit. There are a few options.


KoolAid, or any other strong flavored juice powder can be an excellent marinade for catfish shrimp. Take the powder, spice up the shrimps, and let them sit for at least one day before you use them. The longer they marinate, the stronger the taste will be. Another option is to add garlic powder.


You can buy liquid attractants in many tackle stores. Mostly, people use those for carp, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t buy some strongly scented ones to marinade shrimp for catfish. Go for strong flavors and add generously into the shrimp marinade. Let it sit for a day.


Some anglers will leave shrimp to spoil in the sun. I will mention this option a bit later.

Shrimp for Catfish Bait - Using

How to Make Garlic Shrimp for Catfish Bait?

Garlic shrimp for catfish bait is probably the most popular option. It is a well-known fact that garlic is loved by catfish (like carp do). It is also cheap, easy to use, and you can buy it in any supermarket.

Simply take the fresh shrimp and add garlic powder. Let it sit at least a day, but it can be longer if possible. Some anglers will let it sit for up to 5 days. Just keep in mind that the smell is horrendous.

I have seen some anglers cooking shrimp before adding spices like garlic but in my opinion, it is a mistake. Cooking will kill the natural “fishy” smell and it is a shame to do so when that smell is so effective. When you cook them, the only smell will come from garlic and that is not enough to attract hungry catfish. Raw baits work the best.

Is Frozen Shrimp Good Bait for Catfish?

Frozen shrimp for catfish bait can be effective if you prepare it right. To make it efficient, you will have to plan in advance.

Buy some frozen shrimp 3-4 days before your planned fishing trip. Defrost them, open the package, and let them sit outside for a couple of days. Don’t do this inside of your home because the smell of spoiled seafood will become horrible and you won’t be able to get rid of it for days.

After a few days, they will start rotting, and that is the best time to present them to a hungry catfish. If you are going for this option, additional spices are not necessary.

Shrimp for Catfish Bait - Frozen

Can You Fish With Dead Shrimp?

The answer is YES, of course you can, as you already figured out in the previous chapters where I mentioned rotten shrimp.

Live bait is excellent for many fish, but when it comes to shrimp and catfish, it is not the case. Live shrimp won’t be as interesting as the spiced up smelly one whose scent can travel a great distance. The only exception from this rule is if you are fishing for catfish in waters where freshwater shrimp naturally live and catfish feed on them. Then, using live ones can have some advantages over dead ones.

Also, keeping shrimp alive requires too much effort and it is not worth it because the result won`t be any better. So, make your life easier, and use dead ones.

Do Catfish Like Rotten Shrimp?

Well, this is a tricky question. I already mentioned that in some cases you could let the shrimps sit outside to start rotting, but that doesn’t mean to let them get completely rotten.

As the shrimps starts to go bad, the smell will intensify. When this happens, they are ready to be presented to catfish. It is a beginning or rotting process. If you leave them for too long and they become completely rotten and start decomposing so much that you can’t even hook them properly, you won’t have any luck using them.

So, stinky and a bit spiled yes, but completely rotten, no.

5 Reasons Why Using Shrimp for Catfish Bait is Good

Using shrimp for catfish bait is really good when you consider all the pros and cons.

Here are the reasons why. Some of them were already mentioned before.

#1 Accessibility

Shrimp can be bought almost anywhere. You can find them in supermarkets, on fish markets, or even in baitstores. Last option is the priciest, but if you don’t care about that, it is also a great place to do some shrimp shopping. You can even get some frozen shrimp for catfish bait and keep it at home for as long as you want to have it ready for some future fishing trips.

#2 Price

Shrimp may not be the cheapest bait, but they are not too expensive, depending on where you buy them. But you can make this bait completely free if you decide to catch it yourself. It is not too hard to do it, and you will be sure that you are getting a fresh product.

If you don’t want to bother with catching but you want to save some money, here is a tip:

If you have some fish market nearby, you can ask the sellers if they have some spoiled shrimp to sell you for a lower price. Tell them it is for bait, and you might get lucky.

#3 Versatility

Shrimps are one of those baits that can be used dead or alive, in all waters, during any season. Yes, they are the best in summer, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to catch a fish in spring or fall. You will just have to try a bit harder.

Also, you can use them plain and let them spoil, or you can spice them up with different powders or liquids.

#4 Effectiveness

Shrimps are very effective baits for catfish. A lot of fish species prefer natural baits, and shrimp is natural, even if you spice it up. They live in the waters where catfish feed, and many catfish feed on them on a daily basis.

When you present them, nothing will seem suspicions or out of order, so the fish won’t hesitate to bite. Also, you can control how far will their scent travel by adding more spices or letting them marinade longer.

#5 Ease of use

I already described how to get the shrimps and how to prepare them for fishing. No matter how inexperienced you are, you will do the described process easily. Nothing can go wrong and even kids can do it.

Also, hooking a dead shrimp is very easy. Live ones can be tricky and it is easy to kill them, but because dead ones are even better, you don’t have to worry about it.

In addition to this, you don’t have to be careful when transporting or storing them. If they spoil in the heat, it is even better for fishing!

Shrimp for Catfish Bait - Garlic


Catfish are opportunistic feeders (and also bottom feeders fish) that will eat anything that can fit into their mouth. This is excellent for the anglers who can experiment and try out various baits (like liver, hot dogs, cheese, etc.).

When using shrimp for catfish bait, make sure to increase its appeal by adding strong scented flavors like garlic. It is effective for many catfish species of all sizes.

There are numerous reasons why this bait is excellent, so get some shrimp and try it out yourself!

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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