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We will be targeting sheepshead from pier (Atlantic or Gulf) coming spring, need advice for rod action, power. Will 6' or 7' medium action bass fishing rod work? I also have some medium power catfish rod.

Thanks in advance
 
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6ft-7ft MH Fast action with a very sensitive tip and a lot of backbone with a 2500-3000 reel.
 

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6ft-7ft MH Fast action with a very sensitive tip and a lot of backbone with a 2500-3000 reel.
This, but I like a 4000 with 30 lb braid, to fluorocarbon leader 25-50 lbs depending on structure, with one of these jigs and a fiddler crab. You'll feel everything.



Your a MH bass rod will probably work as long as you have braid main line.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks a lot guys.

I will be start shopping for MH, Fast Action rod. All my bass rods are medium, two of those fast action made by Shimano.

I have two reels ready with 20 lbs braided line, made leaders with 30 lbs fluorocarbon line and 1/0 Owner SST hook, 1/0 Owner Mutu Circle and 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook.
 

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I would ditch the circle hooks.. personally i use owner gorilla light #2, there small so you dont kill your flea or fiddler and small to hide, use a carolina rig with 30 flouro and 3/4 egg sinker , those jigs are good too
 

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Thanks a lot guys.

I will be start shopping for MH, Fast Action rod. All my bass rods are medium, two of those fast action made by Shimano.

I have two reels ready with 20 lbs braided line, made leaders with 30 lbs fluorocarbon line and 1/0 Owner SST hook, 1/0 Owner Mutu Circle and 1/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hook.
Those hooks can be a bit thin when you consider the fish you're fishing for have mouths that crush crabs and barnacles. Definitely had some Owner SSW and Mosquito hooks bit in half. I like something a bit beefier. The circles are ok if you're dedicated to using them but unnecessary... I prefer a hard hookset. I don't gut hook many at all, especially with the jig.

If you're not gonna use a jig, make your leaders short or consider a rig with the hook above your sinker so you feel more than having 18" of loose line laying there fishing for a hard fish to feel. I started with Carolina rigs, you'll catch fish but I now vastly prefer jigs and feeling every little tic.
 

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If you hook a big one you have to put the heat on to keep them out of the pilings. U will catch plenty of smaller fish on the gear mentioned above, but u will be telling your buddy's about that 11 pounder that you lost because you couldn't keep it out of the pilings. A cobia bucktailin type setup rod is a better choice. Circle hooks work fine they bend up after a few fish though. SheepsheadING is soooo fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Those hooks can be a bit thin when you consider the fish you're fishing for have mouths that crush crabs and barnacles. Definitely had some Owner SSW and Mosquito hooks bit in half. I like something a bit beefier. The circles are ok if you're dedicated to using them but unnecessary... I prefer a hard hookset. I don't gut hook many at all, especially with the jig.

If you're not gonna use a jig, make your leaders short or consider a rig with the hook above your sinker so you feel more than having 18" of loose line laying there fishing for a hard fish to feel. I started with Carolina rigs, you'll catch fish but I now vastly prefer jigs and feeling every little tic.
What brands/models hooks will be beefier? The leaders I made are 12 to 18 inch length. Are there jigs made for sheepshead fishing?
 

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What brands/models hooks will be beefier? The leaders I made are 12 to 18 inch length. Are there jigs made for sheepshead fishing?
The picture I posted above is a sheepshead jig. I don't use the split ring anymore. I'll have one bright and one dark jig rigged up, an orange/chartreuse or pink/chartreuse, and dark crabby color with browns, blacks, purple, and a bit of white.

There are also tautog jigs but they're typically bigger and not too useful for us southern folk in my experience. I think they use crab halves or quarters where we're usually using quarter sized fiddler crabs. Sheepshead also have a different shaped, smaller mouth than a tautog and while we get a few in the winter off of SC there are not many so I opt for the smaller hook better suited to a small bait.

On the jig above I have a 1/0 VMC 9260 live bait hook. A #1 would be fine but a 2/0 might be starting to get too big in that hook. Owner Gorilla Lights are great if you're not going through a bunch of hooks. If I was you I'd use the Owners up before I bought new hooks. They should be fine for the average fish. Most people use some kind of small octopus or live bait hook.

The jig also catches a lot of winter black drum when they're cold and light biters... Take some dead shrimp if they're around...

You can catch them on any small octopus or live bait style hook but most will break after a couple fish/hang ups and can get bit through/break on the big ones. Like Eltonjohn said you really don't want to lose the 10 lbers. It's easier where I fish for them on the nearshore reefs depending on what's down there but they'll wrap you up quick if you let them. If you take a bass rod with 10 or 12 lb mono you're gonna be undergunned. You don't lose many after hooking unless you hook them in the little bit of skin/lip in front of their teeth so set the hook hard and get them up. Pick something sized #2-1/0. Small and strong is best for fiddlers.

If I was going to Carolina rig again I'd use a 8-12" leader max...maybe some fluoro on the mainline side too. I drop to the bottom, reel up slack with the rod tip a foot or so off the water and slowly lift up and down and when you feel anything at all set the hook hard. A lot of the time you don't feel anything, it's just heaver than it was last time. In order to feel it you have to get all of that slack out of a Carolina rig. With a jig and braid you feel as much as possible since there's no leader that you have to get the slack out of.

Hope that makes sense. Maybe someone can chime in for inshore, like I said most of my sheepshead fishing is done vertically from a boat on nearshore reefs in the winter and occasionally jetties and ocean piers.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The picture I posted above is a sheepshead jig. I don't use the split ring anymore. I'll have one bright and one dark jig rigged up, an orange/chartreuse or pink/chartreuse, and dark crabby color with browns, blacks, purple, and a bit of white.

There are also tautog jigs but they're typically bigger and not too useful for us southern folk in my experience. I think they use crab halves or quarters where we're usually using quarter sized fiddler crabs. Sheepshead also have a different shaped, smaller mouth than a tautog and while we get a few in the winter off of SC there are not many so I opt for the smaller hook better suited to a small bait.

On the jig above I have a 1/0 VMC 9260 live bait hook. A #1 would be fine but a 2/0 might be starting to get too big in that hook. Owner Gorilla Lights are great if you're not going through a bunch of hooks. If I was you I'd use the Owners up before I bought new hooks. They should be fine for the average fish. Most people use some kind of small octopus or live bait hook.

The jig also catches a lot of winter black drum when they're cold and light biters... Take some dead shrimp if they're around...

You can catch them on any small octopus or live bait style hook but most will break after a couple fish/hang ups and can get bit through/break on the big ones. Like Eltonjohn said you really don't want to lose the 10 lbers. It's easier where I fish for them on the nearshore reefs depending on what's down there but they'll wrap you up quick if you let them. If you take a bass rod with 10 or 12 lb mono you're gonna be undergunned. You don't lose many after hooking unless you hook them in the little bit of skin/lip in front of their teeth so set the hook hard and get them up. Pick something sized #2-1/0. Small and strong is best for fiddlers.

If I was going to Carolina rig again I'd use a 8-12" leader max...maybe some fluoro on the mainline side too. I drop to the bottom, reel up slack with the rod tip a foot or so off the water and slowly lift up and down and when you feel anything at all set the hook hard. A lot of the time you don't feel anything, it's just heaver than it was last time. In order to feel it you have to get all of that slack out of a Carolina rig. With a jig and braid you feel as much as possible since there's no leader that you have to get the slack out of.

Hope that makes sense. Maybe someone can chime in for inshore, like I said most of my sheepshead fishing is done vertically from a boat on nearshore reefs in the winter and occasionally jetties and ocean piers.
I am going to buy either Owner Gorilla 1/0 or VMC 9260 live bait hook 1/0, going to use carolina rig with 8" to 12" leader. I have ordered two medium heavy with fast action rods.
 

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Lightest bottom sweeper jig you can get away with to hold bottom, tip with chunk of blue crab or large fiddler (or two), or giant sand flea. I only fish braid. Never use carolina rigs anymore. Just my 2c.
 
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