Black drum and sheepshead were great targets during the past week. They tend to like the same things so it only makes sense to find them in the same areas. To tell the difference, black drum have small whiskers and a long pectoral fin, and sheepshead have out-of-place looking teeth; both have black stripes, but the drum outgrow theirs eventually. Top baits were shrimp on a short shank, live bait hook; a No. 1 seemed to be the best size. Fiddler crabs are a great choice if available. For gear, a 30 series reel spooled with 10-pound braid and a medium-action rod are all you need around the rock piles. Use a medium-heavy if fishing docks or piers; 20-pound fluorocarbon leader is generally plenty, and if the bite is lacking, drop to 15. These guys can be found easily by looking at a chart and locating the wrecks and reefs around the bay. Many are untouched and hold fish in great numbers throughout the year. Use enough weight to get your bait to the bottom. Increasing or decreasing weight as the tide speeds and slows will reduce hangups and save terminal tackle, and valuable time can be spent on anything other than rigging.
Tim Whitfield can be reached at (813) 714-0889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.