How To Rig The Best Baits For Sheepshead Fishing

Last week we discussed the TOP 3 baits and in this video, we’ll talk about how to rig the best baits for sheepshead!

Below, you’ll learn how to rig shrimp, sand fleas, and fiddler crabs on a sheepshead jig.

Take a look!!

Rig The Best Baits For Sheepshead Fishing [VIDEO]

Sign up for FREE to receive the latest saltwater fishing videos, tutorials, product reviews, and fishing product discounts!

➡Join the Insider Club and get the Smart Fishing Spots App for FREE


When it comes to fishing with shrimp, I prefer to remove all of the appendages including legs and antennae.

This gives smaller baitfish or predatory fish something to grab onto that isn’t buried in the hook.

First, remove the head of the shrimp (you can use the head later on if you want, but it gives fish chances to steal your bait).

You can leave the tail on if you prefer or you can twist or pinch it off.

If you remove the tail, you can slide it on the jig later in the day to get the most out of the bait you have.

You want to use bite-sized pieces that will match the size of your hook.

When you have the shrimp pieces cut and ready, slide one of them onto the hook and thread it over the barb.

The hook is now buried in the shrimp and if something wants to eat it, it has to take the whole jig!

Sand Fleas

When it comes to rigging sand fleas, you want to have it so the bait rests on top of the weight on the jig.

First, insert the hook point through the bottom of the sand flea near its rear and out through the top.

Due to the shape of this sickle hook, if you turn the sand flea around, it locks it into the barb.

Fish can’t steal this bait because very little is hanging off the back.

Anything that tries to eat this sand flea is going to get the hook point buried in its mouth.

This is the best way to secure your bait and keep the hook point fully exposed.

Fiddler Crabs

To start, remove the larger claws off of the fiddler crabs.

Take the hook point and insert it in between the bottom two legs of the crab.

Then let it hover above the weight like so.

Anything coming over to eat the crab has to bite down over the entire jig.

The barb of the hook will bury itself into the fish’s mouth.

As soon as you feel any tension, you can set the hook and it will latch onto the fish.


With that said, there is a MYRIAD of different rigging techniques and methods.

I’d love to hear your feedback and the different ways you like to rig any of these baits for sheepshead in particular!!

What’s your favorite bait to target sheepshead?

If you know someone who wants to learn more about how to rig the best baits for sheepshead fishing, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

Oh, and if you Join the Insider Club TODAY,  Smart Fishing Spots is absolutely FREE! Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

Related Articles:

Related categories:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 months ago

you probably know this, but I could not help but notice then differences between sheepshead in your area and then ones on the left coast.
comment image

Andy Hong
5 months ago

Holy Schmoly, Rich!

These are amazing tips. So often, we anglers just put bait onto a hook without thinking about how target fish and trash fish will be biting the bait.

Several times, I said “DUH” out load to myself as I watched your video. Your explanations were so clear as to why we need to consider how the bait sits on the hook. Duh!!!


Richard Natoli
5 months ago
Reply to  Andy Hong

I’ll tell you what Andy…I often say “DUH” to myself out on the water when I realize I’m not doing certain things that I should. I actually sometimes watch my videos just to remind myself! Sometimes we just need a reminder.

Robert Kuralowicz
5 months ago

Would you recommend the rigging for blackfish?

Richard Natoli
5 months ago

Great question. This is the exact same rigging I use for blackfish when I’m using the smaller whole crabs (sand fleas and shrimp are unchanged). When fishing the larger crab baits for blackfish (green crabs or whiteleggers) I will often halve or quarter the crabs and will put the hook through the leg sockets…but as in the video I try to keep the bulk of the crab above the hook point.

Gregory Davis
5 months ago

Great tutorial for rigging ‘bottom sweeper’ style jigs. I just looked up Capt Hank’s Sheppard Jigs. Great value for this type of jig at only $2/jig…special painted. (about to place an order) 🙂 Many thanks for the tips. Cheers!

Richard Natoli
5 months ago
Reply to  Gregory Davis

I hope it helps you get on some great sheepshead this season!

Mark Kiene
5 months ago

Y’all need to check out “ Wrap Fishing System “ at Mossy Head Baits, best Sheephead killer ever!

Richard Natoli
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Kiene

I’ll check it out. Thanks for the tip Mark!

5 months ago

Just wondering how you fish this jig with the baits on it. I haven’t caught many sheepshead, but I always thought you would fish the live bait without a jig?

Richard Natoli
5 months ago
Reply to  robert

The method I use is fairly simple. I try to work the entire water column when fishing high vertical structures (such as bridges). In this case I drop the jig about 4 feet down and just bounce the jig slowly. If no hits I drop another 3 to 4 feet and repeat. If no hits I just continue this pattern. You actually don’t need to move the jig at all if you are fishing the bridge pilings..the fish will bite if they are feeding. If working a low-relief structure like rocks or a sodbank I drop the jig to the bottom and just bounce it slowly off the bottom.

Randy Taylor
5 months ago

I enjoyed the video own baiting for Sheepshead. Shrimp, Sand Fleas, & Fiddler Crabs. Thanks. Do you have any tips own Catching Spots, or Whiting Running Down East Coast, North & especially South Carolina next Month around the 15th of October. Thanks


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

Here’s what you’ll receive today when you join:

Other Fishing Tips You May Like :

Dissecting The Best Saltwater Fishing Spots In America

We're dissecting the BEST saltwater fishing spots in America. Having fishing spots is great, but there's just a little bit more to it...
See Full post

Insane Juvenile Tarpon Bite!! [Fishing Report]

Last week, I got into an INSANE juvenile tarpon bite!! They were crushing lures within inches of my kayak. I chose to fish a backwater...
See Full post
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Get Instant Access To “The Inshore Fishing Manifesto” PDF Now

You’ll automatically be emailed a private link to download your PDF, plus you’ll be added to the Salt Strong Newsletter.
(Please double-check your email below to ensure delivery.)