Last Updated on August 4, 2023 by Eric Bonneman

A picture of The Best Baits for Catching Sheepshead with Avid Angler in St. Augustine

Sheepshead is a popular gamefish known for its unique feeding habits, black and white stripes, and human-like teeth. These fish are notorious for being picky eaters, but using the correct bait can make all the difference. Let’s take a look at the best baits for catching sheepshead.

The Best Baits for Catching Sheepshead

When it comes to sheepshead fishing, using the right bait is crucial. Here are three of the best baits to use for catching sheepshead.


Shrimp is a versatile bait that works well for inshore fish, including sheepshead. The only drawback to shrimp is the possibility of nuisance fish or poachers stealing the bait off your hook.

You can use live or frozen shrimp as sheepshead bait. Weighted jigs are a preferred rigging technique for presenting shrimp to sheepshead. This presentation helps prevent possible snags and hang-ups.

If you prefer artificial bait, you can use Power Prawn USA to maintain a shrimp presentation without using real shrimp. The best time to switch to artificial bait for sheepshead is when the tide slows down, and you can creep up on bridge pilings and structures without battling the current.

A picture of The Best Baits for Catching Sheepshead with Avid Angler in St. Augustine

Sand Fleas

Sand fleas are another excellent bait for catching sheepshead. Live or dead sand fleas work best, but you can also use frozen sand fleas. Remember that frozen sand fleas need time to thaw out a bit, or they may thaw underwater and fall off the hook.

To rig sand fleas, use a bottom sweeper weighted jig. The sickle-shaped hook design is perfect for rigging up sand fleas. You don’t want much hanging off the hook for a fish to come and steal your bait.

Sand fleas often die quickly when used as bait. The most common reason for this is they die from the urine that accumulates in the container fishermen keep them in. Keep an eye on live sand fleas throughout your trip.

A picture of The Best Baits for Catching Sheepshead with Avid Angler in St. Augustine

Fiddler Crabs

Fiddler crabs are an excellent option when targeting sheepshead. The dime to nickel-sized fiddler crabs is best. When rigging fiddler crabs on hooks, use a bottom sweeper-style jig.

To rig fiddler crabs, slide the hook into the last two legs of the crab until the barb is secure. Then, twist the crab around and on top of the weight to rest underneath the hook’s barb. When a fish comes to eat the crab, it’ll also end up snagging the hook in its lip.

It is helpful to remove the larger claws off of fiddler crabs to avoid giving the fish anything to grab hold of the hook with.

A picture of The Best Baits for Catching Sheepshead with Avid Angler in St. Augustine
fiddler crabs in Canaveral National Seashore

Get Your Bait and More!

When it comes to sheepshead fishing, using live shrimp as bait has long been regarded as the ultimate choice for many anglers. However, alternative options such as sand fleas and fiddler crabs have also proven their effectiveness in luring these elusive fish. It is important to remember that despite popular belief, sometimes even the smallest baits catch the most sizeable fish, leading to ecstatic moments of triumph for anglers. So, whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to sheepshead fishing, it’s worth visiting knowledgeable establishments like Avid Angler in St. Augustine, FL, where live and frozen bait options await your selection. Coupled with expert advice from experienced anglers, you’ll be well-equipped for a successful and satisfying sheepshead fishing adventure; check us out!

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