BUBBA BLUE. WHO CAN forget the lovable shrimp-loving character from the 1994 classic "Forrest Gump?"
His diatribe on fried shrimp, boiled shrimp, shrimp sandwiches, shrimp gumbo, shrimp creole, etc. inspired Tom Hanks iconic character to found the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
While we humans love shrimp, speckled trout are even more appreciative of the delectable crustaceans. Here are different shrimp presentations that would make ol Bubba proud and might just help you ice down a limit of specks.
This rarely utilized technique involves taking a soft plastic shrimp and essentially skipping it across the surface. Throw it out amongst feeding under birds or where you see nervous shrimp, reel it in quickly so it does not sink and give it a hop here and there. It will drive the trout crazy.
Here is another one for soft plastics that will catch good trout, especially when you need to get down deep. Rig with a ½-oz egg weight above a swivel, attach an 18-24 inch long fluorocarbon leader with something like a DOA Shrimp. This can be great under the birds if you want to see out the big fish below the surface fracas or if you find big trout in deeper water in a channel.
Hook a live shrimp just behind black area on the head on a wide-gapped hook, put a split shot 6-12 inches above it and pitch this against rocky cover like jetties or rip rap. The only drawback (if you call it one) is sheepshead love it too.
Remember the old "Speck Rigs" that had two lures attached to one lead? Well, you can easily make a tandem shrimp rig with either a soft plastic or live shrimp and drive the fish crazy. You might even catch two at a time. Texas-based Logic Lures has an awesome scented tandem rig that while not exactly a shrimp imitation mimics their shape and movements close enough to make it part of my shrimp buffet arsenal this fall.
Over the years there have been a handful of topwater plugs on the market designed to imitate surface popping shrimp. Currently the Bomber Saltwater Grade Pop-N-Shrimp fits the bill. The best thing about these lures is you can throw them farther than most shrimp imitations and cover more water.
The drop-shot rig is super popular in bass fishing circles but it is gaining popularity along the coast for anglers fishing vertically. The drop shot can be killer for trout fishermen utilizing piers and live bait. Simply lure the shrimp down and gently move it up and down to draw a predatory reaction.
Bassmaster Elite Series and Berkley pro gives the advice for putting together the drop shot that is the easiest way I have seen it explained.
"Generally I like to suspend the bait about 14-inches or so off the bottom and the drop shot rig makes it easy. Simply tie the hook on leaving at least a foot and a half from the tag end. Use a Palomar knot. You always want the point of the hook up so it will stick the fish better and wont get hung up as much," Reese said.
"To make sure its up run the tag line back through the top of the eye of the hook. Drop shot weights are available everywhere now. I only use 3/16-ounce tungsten most of the time. If the water is deeper than 30 feet, I will use a 3/8-ounce just because I get tired of waiting for it to sink. These drop shot weights just clip to the line. Run the lines tag end through the eye of the weight and wedge it in place at whatever depth you want."
Alabama Rig Shrimp
The Alabama Rig took the bass fishing world by storm last year when angler Paul Elias won big with it in the rigs namesake state. It has proven effective in saltwater but mainly fishing small mullet mimicking swimbaits. Why not rig it with shrimp and fish it amongst schools in the fall? Many soft plastic shrimp are essentially swimbaits anyway. I have seen trout caught on Alabama rigs right here in Texas and will be trying one rigged with faux shrimp as soon as the first big cold front blows through.
Retired guide Capt. Skip James would throw out a shrimp imitation in the fall and reel it in as fast as he could.
At first I was hesitant to follow his instructions since I was so used to working the lure with up and down movements, however once he started putting far more fish in the boat than me, that changed.
This is a great method a few days after fronts when trout are feeding super aggressively. The best part is it is easy and a great way to introduce kids or other inexperienced anglers to using lures.
Very few Texas anglers use live shrimp on a jighead but it is a great way to get some casting distance and work the shrimp efficiently. For best results hook the shrimp under the chin and up through the head avoiding the organs.
Popping Cork Shrimp
Last but not least, there is the popping cork rig. No rig is more exciting and perhaps as effective as this classic. Using a live shrimp, Gulp or soft plastic, a proper popping cork mimics the sound of a feeding trout on the surface and draws the competitive fish in for a kill. For live bait fans, the Texas Rattlin Rig produced by Texan Steve Walko works amazingly well and even has a cool tweak designed to agitate the shrimp and get maximum action.