Catch Sheepshead from the Jetty

Fishing Florida Jetties for Sheepshead

Sheepshead are one of the best tasting fish that can be caught from Florida’s Shores. Their meat is a light flavored flaky white meat, and it has a similar flavor to shellfish. Sheepshead are also quite a challenge to catch making them a fun target from any of Florida’s Jetties.

The Jetty

In Florida most inlets are lined on both sides by large piles rocks known as Jetties. These Jetties were put into place as navigational aids for the inlets, allowing easier moment from inshore to offshore. They also provide quite a bit of cover from small bait fish and crustaceans, and these fish and crustaceans attract predators, including Sheepshead.

Fishing from a Jetty

Jetties can be quite dangerous so the first thing to consider when fishing for Sheepshead from a jetty is safety. Some jetties have built in piers, making it very safe, while some jetties anglers just climb on the rocks and fish from there. Rocks that are either in the tidal or surf range can be VERY slippery and have sharp barnacles. Wearing non-slip shoes is essential as well as avoiding surf/tidal areas. It is also important to note that some jetties may be off limits to anglers, so check with local authorities if you are unsure.

Equipment for Jetty Fishing for Sheepshead

While Jetties have been known to attract very large numbers of Sheepshead they also offer quite a few ways for the fish to either break the line or foul the hook. Because of all the structure inherent in fishing jetties, stout equipment is needed. A 7-8′ medium-heavy rod rated for 20lb test and a matching reel will work well in this environment. 20-40lb test braid main line should be terminated with a 20-30lb fluorocarbon leader. This stout equipment will allow the angler to muscle any average fish away from a potential hang up.

Techniques for fish from a Jetty

A tried and true technique for catching Sheepshead from a jetty is to hold the bait a few inches above a submerged rock. With a #2-1/0 ultra sharp J hook pierce a fiddler crab length wise just inside its walking legs. The leader should be about 10-15″, longer if the water is very clear, with an egg sinker just above the leader heavy enough to hold it in place in the current. Drop the bait down SLOWLY until it touches a rock that is submerged about 2-6′ deep and retrieve enough line to hold the crab about 6″ off the rocks.

Sheepshead are master bait thieves (one of the reasons they are call convicts), and their bites can be subtle. Often times all the angler will feel is a slight “bump bump”, if that is felt, a rapid upward hook set is the best technique. Patients is required as many baits will be lost to Sheepshead, but they are fairly aggressive eaters and will come back for another bait in a short time span, giving the angler a better chance at filling his cooler.

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