Sheepshead Fishing Tips (Best Lures, Rigs, & Mistakes To Avoid)


It’s sheepshead time!

Now that the water is getting colder, sheepshead are starting to take center stage.

These are one of our inshore waters’ most delicious species and (if you target them the right way) they can be pretty easy to catch.

However, these aren’t one of those species that you’ll accidentally stumble across.

You’ve got to know what you’re doing and in this video, we’ll show you everything you need to know.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we covered:

  • What the best baits to use for sheepshead are (and which popular one we recommend to avoid)
  • What the best lures to use for them are
  • The best tides and spots to make catching them much easier
  • How to increase your hookup ratio with these notorious bait stealers
  • And much more

You can watch the video version of this podcast below, listen to the audio version by clicking the play button underneath it, or listen to it on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify.

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Sheepshead Fishing Tips [VIDEO]

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Sheepshead Fishing Tips [PODCAST]

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Here’s a timestamped table of contents from my conversation with Tony and Luke about how to catch sheepshead:

2:10 – How to find your own honey holes

3:01 – What NOT to do with your soft plastic lures when storing them

5:30 – When the best time of year to catch sheepshead is

6:45 – Using crab lures to catch sheepshead

8:40 – Why sheepshead are one of the easiest species to catch from shore

9:35 – Best tide to catch sheepshead

12:12 – The best types of spots to catch sheepshead

18:39 – Best crab lures to catch sheepshead on

21:09  – Best baits and rigs for putting kids on sheepshead

23:36 – Using fiddler crabs and sand fleas for sheepshead in the winter

26:50 – Using barnacles as bait and chumming up sheepshead with them

28:48 – How to position your boat or kayak to catch sheepies

31:27 – How to set the hook (sheepshead are notorious bait stealers)

33:40 – Tony’s favorite sheepshead rig for using fiddler crabs or sand fleas

35:00 – Whether or not you should keep the claw on the fiddler crab

35:56 – Best crab lure colors for sheepshead

38:19 – How to cook sheepshead

39:45 – How to fillet sheepshead (including Luke’s sheepshead “amateur sketch”)


best sheepshead rigs

I hope these tips help you catch tons of sheepshead this winter!

Remember: look for them around hard structure (like bridges, docks, and rocks) and use shrimp, sand fleas, fiddler crabs, or crab lures.

Have any questions about catching sheepshead?

Let us know down in the comments.

And if you know someone who wants to catch more sheepshead this winter, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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Richard Tapping
3 years ago

Guys, you mentioned if you miss a bite, they’ll not likely swing back for another try. Should that be the time to move to another structure? Presumably, a missed bite means the fish could be spooked?

Luke Simonds
3 years ago

Not exactly… there are sometimes large groups of sheepshead hanging in the same area, so if one gets spooked there are still others who may be very willing to eat.

John Segelken
3 years ago

Another tip…use hi-vis braid for the main line. Often, you have to keep an eye on your main line. They are finesse eaters and you may never feel the actual bite, even if you are keeping the line taut. You’re only aware of the bite when you see the line “twitch”, or the line will begin to travel. Set the hook when this happens. And it’s real hard to see the moss green braid color and some others. The high-vis yellow braid will definitely help when the bite is subtle.

Dana Endorf
3 years ago

Great information. Thank you. I’ve been wanting to target sheepshead but I didn’t have any idea how to do it. I’m going to go give it a try. Thanks again.

Robert Schneider
3 years ago

Great job with the information and attached comments. Has anyone had any luck with Fishbytes as bait for Sheepshead?

Landon Gordon
3 years ago

Great job once again guys! Can’t thank you guys enough for everything yall do to teach everyone!!

Jim Crawley
3 years ago

How effective has Gulp crabs been for sheepies?

Paul Surko
3 years ago

Are sheepshead good to eat?

3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Surko

Is an elephant heavy?

James Waugh
3 years ago

Another great pod cast guys. I have a suggestion for some exploration and a possible pod cast or insider video that is kind of off the beaten path. My suggestion is some research in and ideas for catching squid inshore. They are pretty prevalent inshore in Georgia because I catch small ones in the cast net quite often. I have done research on catching them at night with a light and a special jig. They make great bait and are also good to eat. There isn’t alot of information about fishing for them that I could find. Squid are especially useful offshore. Just an Idea for y’all for a new video or pod cast. I am not sure about there distribution though. Like I said since I catch them in the cast net I would guess there are bigger ones to catch on a pole. It seems to me one of your guys might have already done a video on this but I can’t remember. Thanks again guys!

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  James Waugh

Thanks James! I’ll be sure to do some research on squid catching… that is something I’ve never targeted before.

3 years ago

Another great podcast. Your right Luke, they make great table fare. I guess when all you eat is shrimp and crab, the sheepys got to be good. Hey Luke looks like you have a new crib. Keep up the great work, be safe!

Luke Simonds
3 years ago

Thanks for making time to leave the nice comment Charles!

Robert Harris
3 years ago

I have improved my dropper rig for fishing around structure. Instead of tying on a weight I just put a split shot on the end of the line. If it gets snagged the split shot will slide off of the line with minimal pulling and I don’t loose the hook with it. If i need more weight i just slide a bullet weight on above the split shot.

Luke Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Robert Harris

Thanks for making time to leave the helpful comment Robert!


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