Top 2 Sheepshead Rigs (And When To Use Them)


Sheepshead are smart, wary fish that have a knack for stealing baits.

So if you want to catch them, you need to get your bait down to them in a way that’s natural, yet allows you to feel the strike and get a good hook set.

In this video, you’ll learn my two favorite rigs to use when targeting sheepshead, as well as when to use them, so you can catch more sheepshead.

Check it out below!

Top 2 Sheepshead Rigs [VIDEO]

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When you’re fishing for sheepshead, you’re either dropping your bait down vertically or casting out to structure at an angle.

The best rig for you to use will depend on which way you’re approaching them, so let’s dive into them.

Dropper Rig

A dropper rig is when you have a weight at the end of your line and the hook about a foot and a half above it.

The dropper rig is great for either approach, but especially for when you’re casting to structure at an angle.

Here’s why:

If you’re casting to a piling at an angle, there will usually be a bow in your line because of the current.

When there’s a big bow, it’s harder for you to feel the strike, so you’re more likely to miss out on fish.

But when you use a two or three oz. bank sinker at the end of a dropper rig, you can keep your line tight, take out the bow, and feel strikes much better.

Check out this post to learn how to tie a dropper rig.

And here’s a list of what you’ll need:

You can also use this rig for dropping straight down below you, but it is more complicated to tie, so you might want to use this next rig.

Jig Head

A simple jig head is a great way to rig up baits for when you’re dropping them straight down into sheepshead territory.

You don’t need to worry as much about a bow in your line, so you only have to use a weight that’s heavy enough to get down to the bottom.

I like the bottom sweeper jigs for sheepshead because they let your bait sit up naturally on the bottom.

You can also use the same octopus hook from the dropper rig and just put a split shot above it to get it down to the bottom.


chum for sheepshead

A dropper rig and a simple jig head are the only two rigs for sheepshead you really need.

A dropper rig can be used in all situations, while a jig head is best for when you’re dropping your bait straight down pilings.

Have any questions about these rigs?

What’s your favorite sheepshead rig?

Let me know down in the comments.

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

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Mel Crissey
3 months ago

Tony, what are your thoughts about using a pyramid sinker instead of a bank sinker on the drop shot rigging for catching sheepshead?

Malcolm Carter
3 months ago

Great TIPS

Farris L'Abbe Powell
3 months ago

I fish Destin And Choctawhatchee Bay, Been fishing for sheepshead for years. We don’t have a lot of places to fish for sheepshead. Plus we have more and more people fishing for them. My problem ,Pin fish have moved in to my best spots and are stealing baits before the sheepshead have a chance to bite. I have searched the internet and no one discusses how to get past the pin fish Any answers??????

Jonathan Getz
3 months ago

To avoid the pinfish, I’d use fiddlercrabs or crab/shrimp imitation lures. Pinfish will tear up shrimp quickly. Check out some of the related articles above the comments.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jonathan Getz
Larry Fox
3 months ago

Thanks, Tony!

Dan Pender
3 months ago

Circle hooks work great for sheepshead. You will get some perfect hook ups in the corner of the mouth and also some catches in the roof that can hold till you get the net under them. The j hook will slide off the hard palate most of the time. It also helps weed out the small ones. I also snell my hooks because it makes the hook pull a straight line so the circle is more effective

Trevor Farrar
3 months ago

Good video!! I enjoy sheepshead fishing with my kids. We mostly fish close to structure and I use the bottom sweeper jigs a lot of the time. On some of my fish, I have found that my hook set is outside of the mouth. So what Tony says about getting a better hook set I find is true with those jig heads.

3 months ago

Thanks for the demonstration on rigging and reasoning for each method in fishing Sheephead. Great presentation. Will be joining soon.

3 months ago

I’m a huge fan of circle hooks… you don’t actually set the hook, and get a perfect corner mouth hook set to release them. I know it works exceptionally well on reds/trout… but I’m not sure about on old sheepys. Maybe their small mouth and buck teeth aren’t a good fit with circle hooks. Anyone know?

Joseph Bartolone
3 months ago

Great video. How do you determine how long the dropper line to the sinker should be. I fish some docks that are in only 3′ to 4′ deep. Also is there a general rule of thumb regarding the length of the line with the hook. e.g. the hook line should always be half of the length of the sinker line.

Jonathan Getz
3 months ago

In my opinion, you can have the hook relatively close to the sinker (6-12″). The halfway guideline makes sense, but the main focus for the leader is to keep the braid away from structure and give a little stretch.

Jason Stewart
3 months ago

Hey Tony. Great video. Question: do octopus hooks need to be snelled to work properly on hook sets with that offset eye?

Jason Stewart
2 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thanks Tony


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