Sheepshead are biting, and John Long of East Columbia Sport Shop has been catching them all around Fripp Island.
Armed with fiddler crabs, Long has been fishing with 14-pound monofilament on a medium-heavy rod. He uses a Carolina-rig with a one-ounce egg sinker, a barrel swivel, and 3/0 Owner hooks.
"On these unseasonably warm days, you can find fiddler crabs at low tide in any of the creeks around here having bait is not a problem," he said.
Long (803-776-8320) has been catching his fish in different places around the island, including the rock wall in Fripp Inlet that faces Hunting Island.
"The best place on this rock wall is where the big loose boulders were dumped years ago," he said. "These rocks have tons of barnacles that attract sheepshead, so the fish are there. It can be tricky to fish this spot because you're exposed to the wind and current, and the best fishing spot changes as the tide goes in or out, so you have to keep a close watch on your location. I fish straight down in what some people call a jigging fashion, so you really have to stay on the fish when doing it this way.".
Another spot Long has a lot of luck in is at the jetty on the corner of Fripp Island, facing the surf.
"This is really my favorite fishing spot in the area, but it's the least protected spot too. You're subjected to the surf wind, and current, but it is definitely a hot spot for fish," he said.
"It's a small jetty, but it holds fish as well as any jetty along the coast. I anchor from the front of the boat so that the current puts the back of my boat as close to the jetty wall as I can get. Sometimes, I'll throw another anchor into the jetty if I need it to keep the boat from moving. I fish straight down, and these fish have a subtle bite, so if I feel anything at all, I set the hook," said Long, who has had his best luck at low tide in these two spots.
At high tide, Long also catches sheepshead in the creeks around Fripp, and he said scouting is the key to catching sheepshead in those places. Long said to keep your eyes open at low tide and find structure, even if it's just a small group of old cinder blocks that stand a foot or so above the bottom. Fishing fiddler crabs there as the tide comes in can fill your cooler in short order.