Above average temperatures experienced during a moderate La Nina winter are not the best conditions for fishing the winter spawning sheepshead. These porgies can seemingly be found on any barnacle-encrusted structure when it is cold only to vanish on extended warming trends. Fortunately, water temperatures plummeted following last week’s blast of Canadian air that initiated a good push of fish inshore.
Shrimp are probably the most popular and obtainable of baits for sheepshead, but rarely will a fresh parchment worm be out produced. Parchment or “tubeworms” are found on the mud flats off several bay area causeways and bridge embankments. Walking the flats at low tide with a clam rake in hand is about the only way to acquire the worms fresh.
Sheepshead are notorious nibblers and felonious bait stealers. To avoid being robbed, run your fishing line through an egg sinker that is just heavy enough to reach the bottom. Attach the line to small swivel that will hold the weight above the leader. Finally attach a 2-foot, 20lb. fluorocarbon leader to a #1 circle hook. While fishing, slowly lift your rod tip. At the slightest movement or hesitation in the line and without jerking, reel down tight to set the hook.
Capt. Robert McCue can be reached at (800) 833-0489 or through his web site www.GiantTarpon.com.