What's hot: Sheepshead are spawning for the next few months, so big schools can be found around most deepwater structure with good water flow. Good places to fish include bridge pilings, docks, seawalls and jetties. The bigger fish most likely will be caught around larger structure near the passes and offshore.
Bait and tackle: The best bait for the big ones is a small crab; sheepshead also will eat all crustaceans, mussels and barnacles. Most sheepshead fishing is done around structure; therefore stouter tackle may be necessary. Big spinning or conventional outfits lined with braid work well. Finish the setup with a piece of light leader, enough weight to get the bait down and a strong 1/0 hook. Sometimes big schools can be found on the beaches or grass flats, which enables an angler to use smaller tackle.
Tactics: Anchor up to the structure you intend to fish so that the baits can be cast to the back side where the eddy is formed. This will keep your bait close to the structure where sheepshead feed. Sheepshead are notorious bait stealers, so be quick to set the hook when they bite. Even watching for movement in your line can help you be more successful.
Seth Leto runs Pristine Fishing Charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 385-0382.