Georgetown sheepshead are biting on fiddler crabs
One of the hottest bites in the Georgetown area this week has been the sheepshead bite. Capt. Spencer Lynch of Southern Inshore Charters said these fish are plentiful on nearshore reefs as well as the Georgetown jetties. And these fish are hungry.
“This time of year, with the weather fluctuating like it has been, the nearshore reefs are a little more consistent. Water temperature swings will push them off the jetties, so recently, we’ve had the most luck on the nearshore reefs. But as it continues to warm up, the sheepshead will move back to the jetties in big numbers,” said Lynch.
Lynch said any of the area’s nearshore reefs that are in between 40 and 60 feet of water are good choices. And fiddler crabs are his bait of choice.
“Right now, finding bait is the biggest part of the battle. If you’ve got fiddler crabs, you’ll catch sheepshead,” he said.
Three-way swivel works best on the reefs
On the reefs, Lynch fishes his fiddler crabs on a three-way rig. He ties his main line to a three-way swivel. From the swivel, he attaches a leader with a 3- or 4-ounce weight. From the third ring on the swivel, he attaches a Gamakatsu 2/0 octopus hook with a shorter leader.
“You want to rig it so the hook sits off to the side and above the weight,” he said.
When fishing the reefs, Lynch said it’s important to have your boat anchored directly over the structure.
“I can’t stress enough how important that is. If you’re just a few feet off, you can fish all day and catch nothing. And if you’re right on it, you can catch one on almost every cast,” he said.
When it comes to casting, he suggests anglers simply drop their bait straight down. Once they feel the structure, he said they can either reel up just a hair, or leave the weight on the structure and get the slack out of the line.
Lynch isn’t dead set on fishing either an outgoing or incoming tide. But when fishing at the reefs, he said the fishing is slightly better during the last two hours of any tide cycle.
Stick with Carolina rigs at the jetties
When fishing the Georgetown jetties for sheepshead, Lynch (803-429-6219) said Carolina rigs are the better choice. But he sticks with the same bait.
“Just the way you anchor and the way the structure is situated makes a Carolina rig work better than the three-way when you’re fishing the jetties. And at the jetties, I prefer the outgoing tide. You can catch them throughout the tide cycle, and I will fish on any tide. But if I had my way, I’d fish the outgoing tide here,” he said.
Whether fishing the jetties or reefs, Lynch said the majority of the sheepshead he and his clients have been catching are quality fish. And he said they’re also occasionally catching some keeper-sized black drum.
“Right now is a great time to fish. The weather is warming up and the water temperatures should be stabilizing. A number of species are starting to heat up, but the sheepshead bite has been super, and it should continue for the foreseeable future,” he said.