Sheepshead rig

Kristian Ole



With giant black stripes down its body and a mouth full of humanlike teeth, sheepshead are a strange fish but are extremely popular amongst anglers.

These fish make for great tablefare and can put up a good fight, so if you want to learn how to properly catch them you have come to the right place! This sheepshead fishing rig is one of the best rigs you can use to catch these unusual fish. 

What You Need and How to Make The Sheepshead rig

You will only need a few basic fishing items in order to make a reliable sheepshead rig, and these things include:

  • some 15 pound test fluorocarbon line
  • a 1 ½ ounce egg sinker (or similar size)
  • a barrel swivel
  • a red plastic bead
  • and a hook (try 2/0 size)

Once you gather up these items, you are ready to start assembling this rig. 

  1. To get started with this rig, you will want to first slide your egg sinker onto your main fishing line so that it can slide up and down.
  2. After this, thread the red bead on the main fishing line right after it. This bead is to help protect your knot in your fishing line from getting damaged or coming undone by the sinker. The added noise from the collision of the sinker and bead will also help to attract fish.
  3. After threading the bead on, tie the main line onto the barrel swivel.
  4. Now you are ready to create your leader. Take the fluorocarbon line and cut around 3 feet of it off. Attach one end of it to your swivel.
  5. The final step is to simply tie on your hook to the other end of the leader line, and you are ready to bait your hook!

Tip: You can also buy a sheepshead rig kit there is already done here.

Sheepshead fish caught with Sheepshead rig

Bait and Catching Sheepshead

sheepshead rig

One of the best baits that you can use for catching sheepshead is live shrimp. It is best to hook the shrimp through the tail to keep them alive the longest. If you do not have any shrimp, fiddler crabs and sand fleas also work extremely well. 

Find live shrimp near you here.

When you are ready to fish for sheepshead, you should start by looking for them around structures such as rocks, walls, and even shipwrecks. While you take the risk of getting snagged in areas like this, there are usually much more fish hanging out in these areas. 

Final Thoughts

Sheepshead are a strange looking fish, but they taste great and can be a blast to catch. By using this simple saltwater fishing rig, you can be sure to properly catch them every time you are out on the water and enjoy these weird looking fish!


Is sheepshead fish good to eat?

Yes, sheepshead fish is good to eat. They have firm, white, and sweet meat with a taste similar to crab or lobster. However, they have a lot of small bones, so it’s important to fillet them carefully.

Why is it called a sheepshead?

It is called a sheepshead because its teeth resemble the teeth of a sheep. The fish has several rows of flat teeth in the front of its mouth that look like human teeth, making it appear like a sheep’s mouth. The name “sheepshead” is also used for other fish species that have similar teeth, such as the convict fish and the red porgy.

Related saltwater rigs:


About Kristian Ole

Kristian Ole Rørbye, a marine biologist and seasoned angler, shares his fishing adventures and expertise on FishingKris. Join him as he explores the world's waters, one cast at a time.