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Sheepshead around Oyster Bars??

BonecrackerBonecracker Posts: 111 Deckhand
Anybody ever had any luck targeting Sheepshead around oyster bars?? My normal redfish have disappeared and I am seeing tons of Sheepshead and I know they are good to eat!! Tossing my normal redfish lures at them only seem to make them laugh!! On the other hand I have caught them around pilings by scraping and dropping fiddler crabs!! These fish just seem to cruse up and down the oyster bars looking for an easy meal!


  • snookaffinitysnookaffinity Naples, FLPosts: 1,285 Officer
    I have not targeted them on oyster bars but have caught them on jigs tipped with small pieces of shrimp on the oyster bars.
    "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." - Mark Twain
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 3,963 Captain
    Fiddlers and shrimp. Patience is key. You can't fish for them like a redfish. They're very finicky as you know.

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  • FlfjackFlfjack Posts: 646 Officer
    i like to use fiddlers, circle hooks, and small split shot weights.
    East Boynton
    IG jack.bbi
  • mickeyd44mickeyd44 Posts: 55 Greenhorn
    Try a small jighead with the little white Gulp and let it sink slowly with a popping(slowly) retrieve. Keep casting just to the front or side of the critters. I also like the small circle hook with a small piece of peeled shrimp either free lined or with a small drop shot. You are right...they are tasty.
  • FibberMckeeFibberMckee Posts: 12,826 AG
    This time of year Sheepshead are getting ready to spawn & can have the Feed Bag On. Their gluttony this season is quite the opposite of being "very finicky". However Sheepshead don't go after lures or fish baits, you need to use Shrimp, Crab, or Shellfish for bait - My favorite is Oysters. Sheepshead can't seem to resist Oysters. Virtually every Sheepshead I've ever opened up had a belly full of Oysters.

    Also reject the idea that "Patience is key". Have seen far too many newbees who had endless "Patience" feeding, but not catching Sheepshead.
    Reel Teal wrote: »
    Fiddlers and shrimp. Patience is key. You can't fish for them like a redfish. They're very finicky as you know.

    IMO, Timing is key, along with the right baits & hooks. The old adage about having to set the hook before Sheepshead bite, is of course over stating it. But it is a dual, you have to be quick to recognize Sheepshead's distinctive bite, or all you'll have is "Patience".

    Another key is sharp hooks. Anyone who has looked inside a Sheepshead mouth knows they have what looks like cobble stones for a tongue & palate. Sheepshead's mouths are designed to crush Oyster, which they gobble like potato chips.

    You get a split second to set the hook in these mini rock crushers, then your bait is gone. Not nicknamed Bandit Fish for nothing. The hook needs to be sticky/needle sharp to find a purchase, unless you're Dialed In.

    As Sheepshead begin aggregating to spawn they're particularly vulnerable to chumming. When they respond to the dinner bell it's hard to keep a bait in the water for more than a few seconds. Their pre-spawn schooling behavior makes it like Shooting Ducks in a Barrel.
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 3,963 Captain
    Finicky I meant light leader and small hooks. By patience I mean you won't always see them when you pull up to a piling, so be patient and chum them up and you'll start getting them. I do find your write ups funny though.

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  • HunterSThompsonHunterSThompson Posts: 60 Deckhand
    i have found the owner gorilla light #2 hooks particularly useful for sheepshead. i noticed quite a few sheepies in pre spawn mode in the backwater on saturday 4/23. I tried cast netting them (they were not on oyster bars btw) with no luck, too spooky. I have heard about people gigging/bowfishing for them. Dont know how legal that is though, but if it is it may be worth looking into.
  • Reel TealReel Teal Posts: 3,963 Captain
    You can gig them

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  • InShoreGrantInShoreGrant Posts: 80 Deckhand
    I gigged a few, it's pretty tough and always a by-catch. Sometimes you will walk up on one asleep and then you can get them but due to the fact your gigging from up above and not the side makes it hard to keep them if you are able to get close enough to actually reach them.

    I would say you have a lot better chance of collecting them with rod and reel.
  • flagoldflagold AbbevillePosts: 1,293 Officer
    I was out late yesterday afternoon catching trout and mangrove snappers and the snails in the vid are all through the grass right now. You might want to try them out.

    Edited to add: toss them where they can see it. If they see it, they usually grab them immediately (especially if there's more than one sheepshead).
    Final Voyage Of Mischief:
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  • duckmanJRduckmanJR Posts: 21,264 AG
    You can Gig, bow fish, or spear them.... sometimes easier than hook & line.
    There are many roads to travel
    Many things to do.
    Knots to be unraveled
    'fore the darkness falls on you
  • BonecrackerBonecracker Posts: 111 Deckhand
    Anyone care to comment on the method of chumming sheepshead??
    2006 2200V PATHFINDER / VMAX HPDI 200HP :USA
    2012 MAVERICK 18-HPX / YAMAHA F115
  • DrKDrK Posts: 257 Deckhand
    Chumming is more for pilings. For oyster bars I'd use a live shrimp for sheeps on a fishfinder rig or freelined at the edges
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