Homosassa Inshore Fishing Report with Captain Toney: Catching Sheepshead
With the chilly Gulf waters, some of my favorite fish turn on the bite. Sheepshead can be caught year-round on the Big Bend in our rivers, creeks and keys, but this is the time to focus on the nearshore and offshore rocks.
The cold water triggers the sheepshead that it time to spawn so they will gather around the structure to do so, but while that’s going on they will bite – not peck but bite! My favorite bait is shrimp and that is the easiest to find at most bait houses. I have caught them on fiddler crabs, cracked blue crab and one on a gold spoon so they do bite on other bait, but shrimp is the best. Using a 1/8th oz. jig is about as much weight as you need to get the bait to the bottom is its 12 feet or less, if it’s deeper with current, a knocker rig with a 3/8ths or 1/2 ounce sliding weight is better.
For a hook I’ve always liked the Eagle Claw bait holder because the barbs on the shank of the hook keep the shrimp in place so the sheepshead can’t suck the bait off the hook without the hook being in it.
The size limit is 12 inches. Over the years I’ve cleaned a few just over legal sheepshead but there is not much meat on them. A 14″ fish yields more meat. The bag limit is 8 fish per angler, but I try to keep it at 5 fish per angler on my charters because that plenty of meat and cleaning them is a chore. They are very good eating and have helped me out on many winter shore lunches.
High incoming tide will be in the afternoon this weekend.
Homosassa Weekly Fishing Report from Captain William Toney
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