Sheepshead are moving into the gulf to spawn, which is an opportunity to catch one weighing more than 5 pounds. They will hang over the rock piles on the outside of Egmont Key, most of the markers near the shipping channel, and the drop-off along the edge of the shipping channel. Most of the breeders are 4-7 pounds. To locate them, drift over the rocks and look for them schooling on the edge of the rocks. On the edge of the shipping channel, target areas with a hard bottom. Use a 20-pound line and 30-pound leader. A 1/0 hook works in most areas. Go smaller if you can't get a hook-up. Chum the areas where you see fish with small pieces of cut shrimp. This puts them in the feeding mood and pulls them away from the rocks. For bait, free-line a piece of cut shrimp into the area you chummed. In strong current, add a small weight to get the bait near the fish. Sheepshead are a fun fight, and taste great.
Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 347-1389.