Split Shot Rig: Simple, Easy & Quick Rig For Sheepshead


This split shot rig is my favorite rig when I’m targeting sheepshead.

It’s easy to tie, let’s you quickly change weights, and it’s cheap, so it won’t hurt as much when you lose a few rigs on the rocks and docks.

And not to mention — it works!

In this video, you’ll learn how to tie this rig and what materials you’ll need, plus see some fun sheepshead catching footage.

Let’s dive in!

Split Shot Rig For Sheepshead [VIDEO]

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Here’s what you’ll need for this rig:

To tie this rig, first tie your leader to your hook using your favorite snug knot (I use a fisherman’s knot).

Then, put the split shot about 3-4″ up from your hook.

The farther the split shot is from your hook, the less likely you are to feel the bite, which makes it more likely that the sheepshead will steal your bait.

That’s why I like to keep it close to the hook — sometimes I’ll even have the split shot touching the hook.

Once the split shot is in place, squeeze it tight with pliers to keep it there.

As I mentioned earlier, this rig is especially great because the split shot lets you change weights so quickly.

In the video above, I was fishing deeper water at first, so I had a #4 split shot on and was dropping straight down.

Later, we went to some shallow rocks and I had a #7 split shot on so I could have a more natural presentation in the shallower water.

(Keep in mind, the heavier the split shot, the lower the number.)


sheepshead rig

The split shot rig is my favorite rig for sheepshead because it’s so versatile and easy to tie.

I target sheepshead in various depths throughout the day and using split shots makes it easy to change weights.

Have any questions about this rig?

What’s your favorite sheepshead rig?

Let me know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who likes to target sheepshead, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Dave Holmes
2 years ago

What kind of bait were you using?

Robert J Borger
2 years ago

Thanks for all the time and effort you are putting in to help those who love fishing. May God Bless and Protect you all for the New Year, 2021.

Austin Moon
2 years ago

Thank you so much Robert!! I love doing it!! I hope you and your family have a blessed 2021 as well!

Pat Ogletree
2 years ago

Good stuff Austin! What power and action rod do you recommend for targeting them around docks in shallow water?

Austin Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  Pat Ogletree

Thank you, Pat!! I almost always use a MH Fast Action!! The Bull Bay Stealth Sniper is the absolute best rod ive ever used for sheepshead!! They are super sensitive and that’s what I look for in a Sheepshead rod so that I can feel everything! If I remember correctly, your a Bull bay owner as well, right?

Pat Ogletree
2 years ago
Reply to  Austin Moon

Thanks for the response Austin. Actually I’m a Star Rod fan, I have several Stellar Lites, Seagis and a VPR. I’ll definitely look into the Bull Bays when I need a replacement, especially when the Salt Strong line comes out.

2 years ago
Reply to  Pat Ogletree

Is the seagis worth the extra 50.00?

Steven Free
2 years ago

Ah ha I see where that pic is at in your conclusion section of this article it’s in millcove by the powerlines yea I see guys fishing those pillings just about every time i fish in that area for reds there are a few nice creeks in that area great for reds on an outgoing tide catch a lot on the old chasebaits flick prawn in jelly color but never fished for steelhead before probably because I don’t use bait and steelhead to be successful at catching them you pretty much need to fish for them with bait but I have seen a video with Joe and like talking about using fake plastic crabs for them and I do have some 2 from chasebaits and 2 from savage gear but I have yet to use them maybe I will sometime soon right now my viewfinder from lowrance is at there shop in San Diego getting repaired so I’m limited on areas I can fish and without a graph millcove is not a good area to go considering how fast the tide can drop don’t want to get stuck but your rig does sound like it would work great and in millcove the tide where that pic I mentioned is at isn’t that strong so a split shot would work great I’m sure but closer to the ocean say ft George river I don’t know the tides thru that area are very strong considering the ocean is less then a mile away anyways glad to see someone else here in North East fl who works for saltstrong do a report thanks for all you do😁

Steven Free
2 years ago
Reply to  Steven Free

Sorry it’s sheepshead my stupid phone likes to misspell words sometimes

Austin Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  Steven Free

Thanks, Steven! I really appreciate that! I want to try out the artificial crabs as well! When I fish a fairly heavy current I will normally switch to a jig or a rig that is easier to use a heavier weight like a dropper rig. Ive fished most of those creeks in the backside of will cove and found some good success. Check out this Insider report that I did in there.

Dana Endorf
2 years ago

Thank you! I’ve been wanting to target Sheepshead, but I wasn’t sure how to do it.

Austin Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  Dana Endorf

Thank you, Dana! Im glad that you liked it!! Definitely more Sheepshead tip to come!!

Jon Green
2 years ago

Thanks for all of the great info Austin. I used to drop shot flies when flyfishing for steelhead in really snaggy areas. I would put a split shot on the tag end and that is what usually would hang up. So instead of losing my whole rig the spit shot would peel off the end and I would only need to replace it for my next cast. I wonder how this method would work for Sheepshead?

Austin Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Green

Thank you, Jon!! That’s a great idea! Id much rather lose a splitshot than a fly or lure! Ill have to try this out next time im fishing an area and getting snagged a lot!

2 years ago

Could share the location(s) for good sheepshead fishing in the tampa/tarpon springs area?

Austin Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony

Absolutely Tony! Likely there will be a lot of places near the inlets around any Bridges, Rocks, or docks. I like to target older structures that have a lot of barnacles and oyster built up. Feel free to reach out to me at austin@saltstrong.com.

Nick Nemeth
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony

Tony, I’ve had some really good days at the local piers. Skyway and Fort Desoto are good options because you can bounce around and check out so many pilings (easy to sight fish). I usually don’t even drop a bait until I’m seeing them on the piling I’m gonna fish. I’ve done really well with this split shot rig, I’ve been using it for years. I’ve also found sometimes putting that weight right on the top of the hook like a knocker rig can help with hook up ratio but I’ll move it up and down depending on how finicky they are. Typically fiddler crabs are the go to bait of choice. Bring enough though because sheepshead are bait stealing artists. Check out Tony Acevedo’s video on how to catch fiddlers yourself if you can’t find them at a bait shop, but it does take a good amount of time to catch them yourself. Good luck.

2 years ago

Good video Austin. You guys put out some very relevant content. Thank you.

Austin Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  Greg

Thanks so much Greg! I really appreciate that!!

A. Rollins
2 years ago

I won’t use a split-shot weight for one good reason. The notoriously light bite of a smaller sheepshead.
Placing the sinker before a bait makes it less likely to feel their bite. That’s why I prefer a drop shot rig or a dropper loop rig to any other presentation for sheepshead, which is 1-3 pounds.
Those two rigs put the weight after the hook, making it more likely to feel a light bite.
Once a sheepshead reaches over 3 pounds, I’ll use 6 or more methods to catch them. Number 1 baited jig/jighead, 2 knocker rig, 3 fishfinder rig, 4 dropper loop rig, 5 float rig, or #6 a drop shot rig.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Rollins
Austin Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  A. Rollins

Thanks for sharing your rigs!! I use a Dropper rig as well and Jig heads. i wanting to try out these artificial crabs! One thing I love about the splitshot rig is you can move the weight all the way down to the hook and it’s similar to a jig head except you can adjust the weight really easy.

bruce barton
2 years ago

Good video Austin
how do you feel about the artificial crab bait. I think you sell them on your site.
unfortunately i don’t currently have a boat,so I’m land locked in the Dayton Beach area

Bruce Barton,aka ref
I am an insider

Austin Moon
2 years ago
Reply to  bruce barton

Thank you Bruce, I appreciate that!!
I personally have never used the artificial crabs for Sheepshead, but I do really want to try it out soon!
Luke has used some of them though and found some good success!! Ill post his review below!


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