For the kids: Sheepshead fishing is fun for the entire family and often the children will outfish the adults. The action has started with passing cold fronts that have delivered cold water fishing conditions in which sheepshead thrive. The bite will only get better through winter and into early spring.
For the parents: Sheepshead fishing can be very simple even if they are top bait thieves. The kids seem to pick up on setting the hook. Rig the family rods with light braided line for added sensitivity, 20-pound test leaders, small stout hooks, and just enough lead to hold the bait in the feeding zone. Shrimp is the easiest bait to use but fiddler crabs, barnacles, and oysters, might work better. You don't need a boat to target sheepshead — piers, bridges, and residential docks are excellent fishing grounds.
Bonus catches: The added bonus of using shrimp for bait is the variety of additional species that can be caught at the same locations holding sheepshead. Depending on the structure, redfish, snapper, flounder, grouper, white grunts, sea bass, black drum and an occasional snook could be hooked. Always be advised of state regulations related to these additional species concerning closed seasons and size restrictions.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at [email protected] and (727)510-1009.