How To Catch Sheephead On The Pier. Or You Can Catch Sheephead at the Jetties.
If you're in the Charleston Harbor area you can almost always catch sheephead around the Charleston Harbor Jetties. You can also find the fish at the jetties at the harbors of Murrells Inlet and Winyah Bay. And the best bait to use for winter sheephead at the jetties is fiddler crabs. You want to hook the crab through its bottom and straight out through the top of its shell. You can try the fiddler crab under a float and on the bottom. Sheephead will be at these jetties but you'll have to find them.
If you have a small boat the jetties will be a great place to go fishing for sheephead but be sure you know what the water conditions are going to be and that you have enough knowledge to be out fishing on the jetties. You don't want your boat washing up on the jetties.
You can use a float and fish the surface or near the surface or you can fish further down and fish the rocks. If you keep trying you will find the sheephead. They are there and once you find the depth they are at you can usually hook several.
Sheephead are notorious bait stealer's and they will be up to their tricks in winter the same as summer so feel for the fish and once you feel the sheephead going for your bait set the hook and hopefully your rod will bend from the weight of a big sheephead.
If your fishing fiddler crabs on the bottom you only want to use enough weight to get your fiddler crab down to the bottom. Its important not to use more weight than you need.
I often use two hook bottom rigs to fish around jetties especially in the cooler winter months. I bought my two hook rigs in Florida and they offer the bait in two different directions about 8 inches apart and I put a fiddler crab on both hooks and fish them under a float over rocks at the jetties and I usually do well with this setup on sheephead.
Keeping Fiddler Crabs
You may not be able to find Fiddler Crabs in the winter so what I do is catch a huge supply in the warmer months and keep them in my heated garage for fishing with during the cold winter months when its hard to find the wild Fiddler Crabs.So you may want to catch and keep a good supply for the cold winter months.
Your fiddler crabs will do the best if you can keep them at 70 - 85 degrees but don't put a heat lamp over your fiddler crabs or you'll cook them alive.
I keep them in aquariums with marsh sand as a substrate and I bury small bottles in the marsh sand to make places for the fiddler crabs to hide. I feed them on raw fish and hermit crab food and this way I usually have fiddler crabs to fish with all winter.
Keep their food in dishes and keep their homes clean and they will live just fine until your ready to take them fishing. You'll want to keep wire tops on your aquariums or the fiddler crabs will get out and go on their own adventures.
If you feed them fish or shrimp make sure its raw and cut it up fine and offer it in a small bowl that they can get into and out of easy. Fiddler Crabs aren't really aggressive and I have rarely been bitten.
Its real important that you provide lots of hiding places like bottles covered up with marsh sand so that your future sheephead bait will have plenty of places to hide.
Provide each aquarium with a water dish that they can get into and out of easily. Don't put them in the water dish. Let them get in and get out when they want to and they will do well.
Please post your comments below. Have you ever had any experiences with fiddler crabs? Have you ever fished for sheephead with fiddler crabs? Tell us all about it in the comment section below.
How To Catch Sheephead On The Pier
One of my favorite places in the world to fish for sheephead is at the fishing pier at Vilano Beach Florida that they made out of the end of the old A1A Bridge on the Vilano Beach side of the inter coastal waterway. I used to fish all the time from the old bridge when it was still in operation. And once they reopened it as a fishing pier I have had wonderful luck there fishing for sheephead.
I fish two ways for sheephead. I either fish straight down by a pier pole or I fish on the bottom. I have a 12 foot pole I have mounted a metal scraper onto the end of it and if I go to a place where I can use it I take the pole with the scraper on it and I use it to knock barnacles and etc off of the pier poles just under the water. It chums the water and attracts more sheephead and other types of fish. When I do this I use pieces of oyster or clam to fish with and I usually catch lots of sheephead.
If I'm fishing on the bottom I use a two hook bottom rig but if I'm fishing around pier poles up in the water I use a single long shank hook and I am a big fan of clear round fishing floats. I use the long shank hooks so I can take the hooks out of their mouths easier.
Once the fiddler crabs start moving around well in the spring if I'm fishing from the North Carolina Outer Banks down to the St Augustine area in Florida I gather my own supply of fiddler crabs and as soon as the ocean waters start warming up I start cleaning up on the sheephead with the fiddler crabs. I do a lot better fishing for the sheephead in the spring as soon as the water starts warming up and I like to fish when the water is a little stirred up but not so cloudy that the fish can't see my bait.
If you get lucky enough to get to go fishing at the old bridge fishing pier in Vilano Beach Florida the best time of the year is mid April through the end of June. The water is warm enough at this time of year that you should be able to have great luck fishing for sheephead. Later in the summer the water gets to warm in the day time but you can still do good at night.
If you can catch or buy live shrimp the spring is a great time to use live shrimp to fish for the sheephead in the Vilano Beach area. Fish your live shrimp on a single long shank hook about three foot under the water under a large round fishing float and reel your bait over near a pier pole and you should have great luck with a live shrimp. You may have to adjust how deep your fishing your live shrimp but you should find plenty of hungry sheephead ready to take your bait.
In the early spring just after the water warms up you can do well fishing on the bottom with a 2 hook bottom rig baited with cut up oysters. I use a number 2 or number 1 hook and I use long shank hooks so I can get the hook out of the sheepheads mouth easier. I keep a pair of needle nose pliers in my pocket to help get the hooks out also.
I stopped using colored fishing floats a few years back and I now always use clear plastic fishing floats. Believe it or not but you will do better with the clear floats than you will ever do with colored fishing floats. It took me years to figure out when you throw that big red and white fishing float you scare the fish away. But if you use clear fishing floats you don't scare the fish and you'll catch more fish including sheephead.
And once you catch those sheephead filet them and then use the recipe below to fry some of the best fried sheephead you'll ever eat.
Beer Battered Sheephead
1. Two Cups Self Rising Flour.
2. One Cup Self Rising Cornmeal.
3. One Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt.
4. One Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper.
Mix all your dry ingredients up together well.
For Your Beer Batter Mix You Need.
1. One Cup Beer.
2. One Cup Buttermilk.
3. Two Large Eggs.
Put your beer batter mix in the blender and bend together well.
Dip your pieces of sheephead filet into the beer batter first and then dip it into the dry mixture.
Now you'll want to deep fry each piece of sheephead filet until it is golden brown on both sides. You may want to turn the fish over while it is in the deep fryer so it gets done on both sides and all the way through.
I hope those tips will help you to catch plenty of sheephead and be sure and try the recipe for the beer battered sheephead because it is so delicious.
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