Live shrimp are a superb bait for any of the saltwater game fish species that grace our waters. But shrimp require enormous amounts of oxygen in the water that typical aerators and air-stones just can’t generate. Also, as shrimp begin to perish, their bodies excrete toxic iodine that further taints the water. Here is a little known but proven method to keep shrimp kicking all day long (and the next!):
Place a layer of ice in the bottom of a cooler. Lay a towel that has been wetted with sea water on top of the layer of ice. Place shrimp directly on the wet towel taking care not to crowd them too closely together. Cover the shrimp with another wet towel and add a light layer of ice on the towel. This method may be repeated several times creating multiple layers of ice and shrimp.
The shrimp’s metabolism responds by slowing down, thus requiring less oxygen. As they are hooked and dropped into the water, the shrimp warm back up and become lively once again. It is necessary though to regularly drain the melted ice water so the shrimp aren’t drowned. Coolers with drain plugs work extremely well; just leave the plug open for constant drainage. It is also a good idea to keep your cooler in the shade, out of direct sunlight.