One of the absolute best baits for fishing in Florida waters is live shrimp. Live shrimp can be bought at most bait shops near the coast in Florida and are fairly affordable. The most difficult part of using live shrimp is keeping them alive!
There are three main factors that kill shrimp in bait buckets. Overcrowding, lack of oxygen and heat!
Many anglers will buy a large amount of live shrimp to last them the entire day and place them all in a small bucket only to find that with in a few hours they are all dead. To help avoid this it is best to keep large amount of shrimp in a large container or multiple small ones.
A good rule of thumb is to keep no more than one dozen shrimp per gallon of container for any long period of time. If all other conditions are met, 50-60 shrimp can live almost all day in 5 gallons of water.
Lack of Oxygen
Shrimp in a small container will quickly deplete the oxygen in their water and die shortly after. A good solution to this is either a bubbler or a water circulation pump. Both of these disturb that water surface quite a bit and cause the water to absorb more oxygen. The more shrimp that are in a container the more water movement and oxygen that is needed.
Another simple solution for this is to use flow through bait buckets. These are the buckets that have holes in them and all the angler to lower them into the water so the bait always has a source for clean and aerated water.
Heat is a killer of all bait, and in Florida this is always a concern. When trying to keep bait alive for long periods of time it is best to keep the container in the shade. One of the best bait containers is a modified color. One that has just a small hole drilled in it for an airline to fit through. These types of bait containers help keep the water a stable and cool temperature.
Another good idea is to place a small frozen bottle of water in with the bait to keep the water cool. Do not put ice directly into the water as this will dilute the salt and possibly kill the shrimp!