Tide rips, ledges and shells mean sheepshead

Sand fleas, aka mole crabs, are prime bait for sheepshead, which feed mostly on crustacaens, including crabs, mollusks and barnacles.

Capt. Ryan O’Neal said that one look in a sheepshead’s mouth shows exactly where to look for them: around crustaceans, mollusks and especially barnacles for them to eat.

“(They look) just like human teeth,” he said. “Some (people) would kill to have a set like that.”

Sheepshead are large, round-bodied fish that relate to vertical structures — so a ledge that drops off from a sandy shelf cut by a tide rip around the edge of an island may be perfect. Find a spot like this along the sound side of Wallace Channel with lots of shells at the bottom and you may be on fish.

Black drum larger than 15 pounds may be mixed with sheepshead on such spots, although the drum may be out in slightly deeper current away from such a ledge.

Both species love sand fleas, which may be easy to collect in surf wash, but make sure your bait bucket is full, because sheepshead are great bait stealers. A simple double-hook bottom rig with a 2-ounce bank sinker is sufficient, but keep a tight line.

“You won’t feel the bite with that much line out,” O’Neal said.

Fish weighing 5 to 7 pounds are common, and they are regularly caught up to 12 pounds.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply