If I had to choose one inshore bait over all others, it would definitely be a shrimp. I can’t name a fish that doesn’t eat shrimp. It’s especially effective for trout, drum, snook and tarpon. Here is a technique for rigging a soft-plastic shrimp with a snelled weed guard that makes it easier to fish through mangroves, marsh grass, docks and all the other thick places that hold fish.
Tools: Needle nose pliers, 80-lb. fluorocarbon line for the weed guard, 20- to 50-lb. fluoro for the leader, a red or brown Sharpie marker to color the antennae/weed guard, a pre-rigged soft-plastic shrimp.
• Carefully remove the hook from the pre-rigged soft plastic shrimp.
• Cut a 7-inch piece of 80-lb. fluoro. Pinch it at the center with pliers and bend it backward against the natural curvature of the line to create the antennae.
• Push both tag ends of the 80-lb. line through the backside of the hook eye. Leave about 1 ¼ inches of the loop that’s created on the backside of the hook shank.
• Thread a strand of the 25- to 50-lb. leader material through the backside of the hook eye. This will be your snell.
• Using the leader material on the shank side of the hook eye, make a loop about the diameter of a baseball.
• Take this loop and snell it to the shank of the hook, which secures the antennae/weed guard.
• Trim the tag end of the leader material as well as the closed loop of 80-lb. line against the hook shank.
• Bend the antennae back along the length of the hook, and trim them just past the barb of the hook.
• Use the Sharpie marker to color the antennae.
This same weed guard can be snelled onto almost any hook for a variety of applications. Substitute heavy-duty hooks to target species like tarpon and large snook.
The 80-lb. fluoro is stiff enough to fend obstacles off the hook point and gives the shrimp a realistic appearance. Fluorocarbon is highly preferred for its stiffness, but some monofilament lines like Triplefish and Ande are stiff enough to use for this purpose.
This might appear to be complicated, but it is a very simple way to kill two birds with one stone. By snelling it, you secure the antennae/weed guard to the hook and create a leader at the same time. Check out the video linked below to see the techniques used in this rig.