Dear Captain " What setup should I use to catch sheepshead? "
I would start by using a fishing rod made of some type of glass like the Shakespeare Inshore Select, model # ISSP11701M. I would use a Penn Fierce spinning reel Model # FRC3000. I would fill it with 20 lb braided line, hi-vis would be my first choice. I would use 30lb fluorocarbon leader.
Now for hooks: I would use the new Eagle Claw Saltwater Lazar Tro-Kar hooks. Model # TK3-1/0. These are by far the best hooks on the market. The triple sided surgical point, easily penetrates the rock hard mouth of the sheepshead. This outfit is excellent for sheepshead, but very multi-versitle for many other types of fishing you would do from land and land based structures like bridges, seawalls, piers, docks, etc.
There are many rigs described in the below articles and I recommend have a couple of rods and reels rigged up already, so you can switch your presentation and tactics to the sheepshead. They all are effective at one time or another. As far as tides, I find the first and last quarter moon phases with neap tides to be easier to fish and more productive. Strong tides make it harder to fish for sheepshead, since you can not keep the bait tight to the structure where most of the sheepshead would be. They will sit in the eddy area on the backside of the structure during these strong tidal currents. The biggest mistake made when sheepshead fishing by most anglers is! They fail to chum for them. Chumming can be a great way to draw them from another piling far away from where your fishing and to the piling your at, but also when they are present and not eating fire them up to eat.
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