3-Step Method To STOP Missing Sheepshead Bites
Sheepshead are notorious bait stealers.
They’ve left many anglers clueless and frustrated as they drop down a bait and reel up a bare hook a few minutes later.
Has this ever happened to you?
If it has, then you’re going to love this 3-step method to catch more sheepshead and stop them from stealing your bait.
In the video below, I’ll show you what the three steps are, as well as some fun fish-catching footage where I put these steps into action.
3-Steps To Catch More Sheepshead [VIDEO]
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Step 1: Feel the bite
Most people miss out on sheepshead bites because they’re not paying attention to their line.
The sheepshead nibbles off the bait before they even realize they were there.
To stop this from happening, you have two options:
- Keep the line tight so you can feel every little nibble
- Let the line lay loosely on the surface, but watch it for subtle movements
I recommend most people do the first option.
The second option won’t work in an area with current because your line will always be moving.
The first option also lets you quickly move onto step #2…
Step 2: Determine if a sheepshead is on
One big mistake many people do is feel a bite, then immediately set the hook.
The problem with doing this is that when you’re using live bait near structure, there are likely small pinfish and snapper tugging at your bait, making you think you have a fish on.
If you set the hook every time you think you have a fish on, you’ll keep ripping your bait out of the strike zone.
And every time your bait is pulled out of the strike zone, you’re wasting time by not giving yourself an opportunity to catch fish.
Instead, you need to determine if a sheepshead is on by lifting up your rod tip and feeling for a sheepshead.
If you lift your rod and your bait lifts up, too, then you’ve got nothing on and you can set it back down.
But if you lift up your rod and you feel something heavy on the other end, then it’s time to go to step #3…
Step 3: Set the hook
If you feel a sheepshead on, then it’s time to set the hook.
They have small mouths with lots of teeth, so you’ll need a good hookset to stop yourself from becoming just another stolen bait victim.
You don’t need to be Bill Dance’ing these sheepshead, but a sharp tug will do the trick.
Of course, if you’re using circle hooks you don’t need to set the hook, just start reeling once you feel the fish on.
Catching Sheepshead With Artificial Lures
If you’re really sick of sheepshead stealing your bait, there’s another option: use artificial lures to catch them.
Crab lures work great for sheepshead and you don’t need to worry about sheepshead sucking them right off the hook.
Check out this live fishing trip video where Joe and Luke caught several nice sheepshead with crab lures.
Here’s how to catch more sheepshead:
- Feel the bite
- Determine if a sheepshead is on
- Set the hook
By doing these three steps, you’ll start catching more sheepshead, and stop them from them stealing your bait.
Have any questions about these tips?
Or do you have any other suggestions for how to stop sheepies from stealing your bait?
Let me know down in the comments.
And if you know someone who’s sick of sheepshead stealing their bait, please TAG or SHARE this with them!
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What size hook do you use? Do you use a circle hook?
Great tips, Austin. Thanks.
Were you keeping the rig very close to the pylons or were you letting it drift away with the current? You cannot really tell from the video.
Thank you, Larry!
In this case I was keeping my weight on the bottom and only moving it after a few seconds without a bite then setting it back down on the bottom. The area I was fishing had rocks on the bottom and had pylons. So I was looking for Sheepshead around both of them!
Thank you, Austin. o, to be clear you were either at the pylons or between them, on rocks, correct?
Also, was it the drop shot rig you had spoke about?
I never see anything about using a cork.
Thanks for the comment, Joe!! Ive actually never used a float for sheepshead, but I know that it can be done! When the opportunity arises ill have to give it a go!!
Thanks for the comment, Joe! Ive personally never used a cork when sheepshead fishing, but i know that it can be done! When the opportunity arises ill have to give it a go!
What rod and reel were you using in this video? Drew Danko
Hey Drew! Thanks for the comment!
I was using a 7′ MH fast action Bull bay Stealth Sniper with a Diawa BG 2500 and 15Lb PowerPro.
💯% bro.. Nice post Austin!
Thank you, Robert!! I really appreciate that!!
Thanks Austin … a little coaching before going after these Beasts is helpful. Awesome video! Simplicity works.
Thanks for taking the time to write such a nice comment, Buddy!! Your awesome!
Thank you, Pablo!!
Use 1/0 or 2/0 Stand-out drop shot hooks (I use 2 about 12” apart) and a 1/2 to 3 oz. weight 18 inches below them with Shrimp or fiddler crabs and you will dramatically improve the hook-up rate for Sheepshead.
Just be aware that sometimes they mark #1 hooks as 1/0 and they are too small. My local BPS only carries small (too small) Stand-Out hooks so I special order them.
I have caught 2 16+” Sheepshead at once this way.
That’s awesome Andrew, thank you for sharing! Ive never caught 2 at a time before thats really cool!
I may be incorrect but I believe in Florida waters using multiple hooks with live or dead bait for Sheepshead is illegal (as is true for pretty much all of the fish here). Is that incorrect?
Break it down and Keep it simple. 1, 2, 3 … fish on! Thanks Austin!
Yes sir!!! Thank you Gary!!!
That was really helpful, now I need to go and test it out.
Thank you Dominique, im glad you enjoyed it!! I hope you do great!!