Super Sheephead Sunday

Like I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, when I am not hunting you can probably find me fishing and that was just the case on a cool but nice weekend in February. Because we had sold our boat last year I knew we would be fishing from the bank, which is just as awesome – sometimes a little frustrating but it didn’t matter because I wanted to go fishing!

The first trip was actually Saturday – I tried a few different spots but the tide was heading out and I was on the wrong side of it. I headed down to another spot but the water was quite rough for the day and wasn’t worth the hassle. Finally, I headed to another spot, a very rocky spot; but this time of year is great for catching a certain fish that loves structure and rocks. The saltwater Sheepshead is a unique fish that loves to hang out by rocks and structure and gets its name from an unusual body part – its teeth. Saltwater Sheepshead actually have sheep teeth (some even say human-looking teeth) that can crush barnacles, crustaceans and even the occasional finger which is why they congregate near structure. The barnacles, oysters and shrimp that live in these areas make it prime feeding grounds for them and that’s where I was headed. Some fish you can reach in their mouth and wiggle the hook out (bass, trout, etc) but DO NOT put your finger inside the mouth of a sheepshead; they will bite it and it will hurt!

Because I got to the spot a little later than normal I was already getting low on my bait (live shrimp) and the tide was slowly starting to turn which was going to make it a difficult round of fishing. With a little persistence and finesse the end result was 6 sheepshead for the day before running out of bait. The bag limit is 5 per person, per day; please know my husband and I were both fishing so we were legal! I knew we had to try again on Sunday now that we had found ‘the spot’ and that’s just what we did.

Sunday morning we wasted no time getting back to the spot we were at the day before and sure enough the tide and current was working in our favor. These aren’t the easiest fish to catch because of their teeth and behavior; but to catch the fish, you must think like the fish and understand the fish. The Sheepshead will stay towards the bottom near the rocks which meant I needed a little weight to get to the bottom and to keep the current from taking my bait straight past the honey hole. Although the weight will get you to the bottom, it can also be your enemy and get you hung on the rocks. Trust me, you will lose tackle, especially when the tide changes and the currents start ripping through the area, but it is worth it.

Once you get your line out where you want it, usually yards away from the spot you are aiming for, you allow the current to drift your line and bounce along on the bottom of the rocks, always keeping your rod tip up, constantly feeling your line for the tug. For the novice fisher, it’s hard at first to determine hitting or getting pulled by rocks to the bite of a Sheepshead and it gets even more tricky when you think you just got hung up. Sheepshead are sneaky little fish and will trick you into thinking you are hung on a rock, but if you are patient you will be rewarded. They like to grab your bait and swim under a rock; you will want to pull and yank on your line but if you just wait many times they will swim out to finish off the snack on the end of your line and then it’s FISH ON! Patience is also important when you DO get hung up on a rock. Don’t pull right away! If your hook and bait get stuck on a rock, just wait; more times than not a Sheepshead will see an ‘easy target’ of a stranded shrimp and go for it; in the process the fish will remove your line and hook from the rock and you might also be able to set the hook on him! Two in one! You get your line ‘unstuck’ and you get a fish!

So after a lot of ‘finesse fishing’, a little bit of lost tackle, and a whole lot of fun we were able to limit out on day 2. A total of 10 Sheepshead was our reward for just 3 hours of fishing! It’s a great day when you have bait left over and you have your limit! Oh and I almost forgot to mention, the Sheepshead put up a great fight, even if they are small because they are trying to get back to the bottom and they are a great tasting clean white fish to eat. Many people do not like to keep them because they are a bony fish and require more finesse when cleaning them, but it’s well worth it!

Mar 19, 2013 | Category: Blog | Comments: 3


3 comments on “Super Sheephead Sunday

  1. Tom Payton

    Sounds just like our Tau Taug ! Black fish. Rock loving shell fish eating Ghost! Human liking teeth as well! Crazy hard to catch, but worth it . Phenomenal table fair.

    • Candace

      Right on Tom! They require some finesse to catch but are so worth it! Thats cool ya’ll have a similar fish! Ill have to look them up!!

  2. Candace

    Right on Tom! They require some finesse to catch but are so worth it! Thats cool ya’ll have a similar fish! Ill have to look them up!!

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