Florida weather has been pleasant. If it wasn't for the Christmas decorations and mad people squandering through the malls, I would think it was early fall. The warmer temperatures have the fish feeding more aggressively than usual. Sheepshead has been overly abundant around any structure that supplies them with unlimited barnacles and crabs to mill around. Once you have located an area with good water flow, barnacles, and crabs. Anchor up and chum with crustaceans. Yes, sheepshead can be stirred into a frenzy like any other game fish. If you feel an urge to pursue the convict, make sure you bring three things:
- Light spinning tackle with a sensitive rod.
- Fiddler crabs, shrimp, or a mussel of your choice.
- Most importantly: PATIENCE!
I have seen this elusive bait thief frustrate some of the best anglers to the point that they are angry and throw in the towel for the day. If you are a noob, I would recommend picking up a minimum of 6 dozen crabs. The Sheepshead rig itself, you want to keep super simple. I use the following: Sustain 3000, with a Mojo rod, 10lb Power Pro, 20lb fluorocarbon leader, small split shot, and a 1/0 Owner hook. You will quickly see that sheepshead aren't shy and will feed right under the boat. The key is feeling the subtle bite and setting the hook instantly. Once you get into a rhythm, they aren't too bad, but it takes practice, and even once you get them dialed in, don't expect to catch every fish that bites. Get out there, enjoy the weather and have fun!