Reef fishing season is over for the season. So what’s left? Savvy saltwater anglers go for sheepshead, the white-fleshed culinary delight that is plentiful and easy to catch. You can fill a cooler of the saltwater panfish even after cold fronts.
Catch sheepshead year-round around man-made structures like rock jetties or bridges. Crustaceans make up their diet, and thus the reason for their sheeplike teeth, enabling them to crunch up the shellfish they like to eat.
Sheepshead is well known for their stealth and ability to clean a hook of its bait without even the slightest tap on the line. That adds a sporting element to catching them, and learning just the right time to set the hook is a reward worth the trouble.
The key to catching—and landing—a sheepshead is using a hook small enough to fit inside their small mouth. A No. 1 or 1/0 size hook is ideal and if you can go smaller the odds improve even more. An ideal setup is a dropper rig made of 20-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line with a sinker about 18 inches from the hook. Separating hook from sinker adds just enough sensitivity to the main line so you can feel the nibbling sheepshead.
Another productive rig is a 1/8- or 1/4-ounce jighead impaled with a small piece of fresh shrimp. This rig is ideal for the wind because it casts better than the drop rig.
Above all else, keeping the line tight is a must so you can react when feeling the first bump on the line.
In clear water, you can visually locate sheepshead or chum them up around crusty pilings and riprap where they like to feed.
A great boat to tackle the sheepshead bite and all of your bay fishing needs is the Sea Skiff 21 from Sea Chaser Boats built by Carolina Skiff. Upgrades and improvements matter at Carolina Skiff. The Sea Skiff Series from Sea Chaser is a result of that mission for 30 years and growing.
Durability, versatility, affordability, combined with a 100% composite construction and quality materials all come together in the Sea Chaser 21 Sea Skiff.
Abundant storage is immediately noticeable in the 21 Sea Skiff. Stow, all that gear and there is a cockpit area free of clutter and open for fishing and fun.
Up front are two spacious bow hatches and anchor box with LED light. Entry is made safe and easy with LED-lit molded steps on the front deck. A 12/24-volt trolling motor plug is pre-wired for easy, clean rigging.
The cockpit features a newly designed console with plenty of space to flush-mount today’s wide-screen electronic units. A removable windshield creates more options for mounting electronics. Flush mount rod holders for six outfits keep them at the ready, and a console live-well, and removable 70-quart cooler makes it convenient for storing drinks and fish.
In the back an 18-gallon baitwell with LED lighting for quick access to live bait. Rear jump seats with storage compartments and battery storage feature LED lighting for safety and convenience. For water sports fun the swim platform with stainless steel ladder makes boarding safe and easy.
Hulls are constructed with 100 percent composite materials, and a high-density fiberglass transom core. Patented Box Beam Construction forms each fiberglass stringer as with fiberglass, pre-cast foam logs laminated into the hull one by one. The process allows for an unsinkable wood free hull.
See the full line of Carolina Skiff and Sea Chaser boats at carolinaskiff.com. With 60 different options and models, you can use the Build A Boat feature. On the website, you can find a dealer, request a catalog and more. Check out the loyal following of Carolina Skiff fans and owners on Facebook.