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What Type of Rig and Hook Size to Use for Sheepshead Fishing

man with fishing rod on the beach

What Type of Rig and Hook Size to Use for Sheepshead Fishing

If this is your first time going on a fishing trip in Northwest Florida, then you need to know about a little sea critter called the Sheepshead fish. This bizarre creature is known for its rows of human-like teeth which is unique to his species of ray-finned fish. Since the Sheepshead is quite different from other fish, you need to know the correct hook size and setup if you want to catch one.

How to Choose the Correct Hook Size for Sheepshead Fishing

Since Sheepshead has such a unique mouth, they are notorious for stealing your bait. This can be very frustrating if you’re trying to catch your dinner. If you want to prevent this, you need to choose the correct hook size and avoid using heavy-duty hooks.

When fishing for Sheepshead, you should use a standard light wire hook, typically size 2/0 or 2. This type of hook is fine for catching an average fish, but when it comes to a sheepshead fish – it’s not strong enough.

As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Light wire hooks are cheap and will break easily. Instead, it’s recommended to use a few high-quality hooks that you can trust with your life.

The Best Rigs for Catching Sheepshead

Getting the right hook size is one thing, but what about the bait and how you set it all up? Next, we’re going to look over the best rigs for catching Sheepshead.

When selecting your bait, it’s important to remember that Sheepshead is not picky. They will eat just about anything you throw in the water. They will eat everything from shrimp, to crabs, to catfish, to small fish, and even your smaller lures.

The best way to catch a Sheepshead is by using a live shrimp of about a quarter to half a pound in weight. That is the best size for catching a Sheepshead, especially when you are just starting out. Let’s look at some of the best rigs to use when fishing for Sheepshead.

1. Freeline Shrimp Rig

Use this kind of rig when fishing in shallow water. The key to this rig is to use a lightweight size four hook attached to the top of the line. The shrimp should be tied a few feet below the hook.

This rig is good for when you’re fishing in open water. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding some spots to flush your bait. It’s a good thing to use when you’re fishing in a place that is known for Sheepshead.

2. Popping Cork Rig

The Popping Cork fishing rig is one of the best rigs you can use to catch larger fish. You can use this rig in deep and shallow water, but it’s better suited for deeper water.

If you decide to use this rig, it’s suggested that you use a heavier weight. This will make the rig more sensitive and easier to detect the strikes. Use a size 3-12 hook and a live shrimp.

3. Weedless Shrimp Rig

This is one of the best fishing rigs to use during the winter months and early spring when the water is really cold.

The main advantage of using this rig is that it’s very easy to use. The shrimp is tied directly to the hook, so there is nothing you have to worry about.

The only problem with this rig is that it’s not ideal for deep water.


Choosing the correct hook size for Sheepshead fishing is not that difficult. We’ve shown you the different types of hooks, along with some rigs that are best suited for catching Sheepshead. Remember these tips when going on your next fishing trip and get yourself a couple of Sheepshead for lunch.

If you’re up to go for a quick nautical adventure, Showintail Inshore Charters is the place to be. We offer full-service inshore fishing charters in Navarre, FL, where we can help you with any of your fishing needs. Enjoy a great time with your family or fellow anglers when you join Captain Bryant and the rest of the Showintail Inshore Charters team. Book your trip today!

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