Derrick Rogers of Weaverville, NC, drives down to the Apache Family Campground several times a year just to fish the Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And on this pier, he only fishes for one thing — sheepshead.
Rogers said sheepshead are found around the pilings of the pier, and he usually picks one piling and fishes it all day. Some days he can catch several fish and other days nothing.
“That’s just fishing,” said Rogers.
While most people consider fiddler crabs to be the prime sheepshead bait, Rogers prefers using fresh mussel barnacles. He and a friend go out at low tide and collect these barnacles by scraping them off pilings and rocks.
Sometimes Rogers will hook straight through the barnacle, sometimes he will use small rubber bands and wrap them around the barnacle and slip the hook through the rubber band, and other times he will wrap sewing thread around the barnacle and slip the hook through the thread.
When it comes to fishing the tides, Rogers isn’t picky, and says he catches sheepshead on all different tides. The main thing is to always fish the pilings that are on the shaded side of the pier.
Although he has no tide preferences, he is far more picky about the rods and reels he uses. He builds his own baitcasting rods, and he prefers a heavy power rating. He uses Ambassador 5000 reels, and he rebuilds them with improved bearings and extra-large handles.
Spooled on the reel is 80 to 100-pound test braided line. Rogers uses the heavy line to turn the sheepshead away from the pilings and get the fish up on the pier as quickly as possible. He uses a Carolina rig, and depending on the strength of the tide and current, he uses a 2 to 3-ounce sinker on each line.
The sinker is threaded onto the braid, and a small barrel swivel is attached to the end of the braid. Next, Rogers ties on a 14 to 18-inch leader of 60-pound monofilament, finishing things off with a snelled 1/0 wide-gap hook.
The Apache Pier is the East Coast's longest wooden pier and is open every day, year-round from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. The pier has a well-stocked bait and tackle shop, an arcade with modern games, and a restaurant and bar.
Several fishing piers are located in Myrtle Beach, but according to Rogers, Apache Fishing Pier is the best one for sheepshead fishing.