Common Grass Shrimp Palaemonetes pugio

The Common Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio) are a popular bait for many species of small fish, freshand saltwater. Especially the popular white perch in the winter.
There are a few kinds of grass shrimp, but we mostly use the common grass shrimp for bait. Daggerblade Grass Shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio), Marsh Grass Shrimp (P. vulgaris), and
Brackish Grass Shrimp (P. intermedius) are the other three types found in our estuaries from Texas to Massachusetts.

Also known as jumpers, glass shrimp, popcorn shrimp, glass pawns and hardbacks. Depending which state you are fishing.
These are not the same as ghost shrimp (glass shrimp) that are for sale in the aquarium trade. However if I had an aquarium of predatory fish, I would definitely feed them grass shrimp. I have a small aquarium on the counter full of grass shrimp we like to take fishing.

grass shrimp fish tank
My grass shrimp counter top fish tank. It’s fun to watch and occasionally we take them fishing.

Catching grass shrimp is easy. Most bait shops in or area do not carry grass shrimp. A small mesh minnow net will work wonders catching grass shrimp. There are several places to look. Bulkheads are usually the easiest. Just scrap the net along the bulkhead. Usually along the shallowest sections. Scraping along grass banks and mussel beds works too but can be messy. Inland bay beaches at a dead low tide, scrape the “junk” on the bottom, it will be loaded with grass shrimp like below.

Grass shrimp scooped up with some bottom debris and macro algae. Notice the net mesh size.

Hooking a common grass shrimp is simple. Just put it on the hook. You can get fancy wit the larger ones and a smaller hook. Slide the shrimp head first onto the hook and feed the hook into the abdomen (meat), while moving it up the hook shaft. Much like a soft bait would be rigged. This helps increase hook ups with fish that suck the bait off the hook. You can usually scoop up so many shrimp in a quick trip that putting four on a hook isn’t a big deal.
Common grass shrimp are a great bait and easy to catch substitute for bloodworms. Most everything eats grass shrimp. In the fish tank on the counter they eat each other.

Learn To Fish The Inland Bay Marsh Banks to find more fish. These areas are also where we catch grass shrimp. aw well as all the grass lines along the rivers and creeks.

  • grass shrimp fish tank

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