Sheepshead are still biting good from the skyway bridge all the way down Longboat Key. Artificial reefs seem to be holding bigger fish than docks. Live shrimp combined with a knocker rig consisting of a 1/2 oz egg sinker and a 1/0 circle hook are getting the job done.
John Quill of Maryland has the biggest sheepie of the season so far, all 7 pounds and 22 inches of him. John and his longtime friend Tom Boyer joined me for an afternoon trip which resulted in numerous sheepshead, mangrove snapper, and a few stray gags.
The trip with John Bryant, his son Matt, and buddy Tyler Richie was another rally on sheepies. We returned to the dock with at least 20 fish in the 1 to 3 pound range. These guys were on a sheepshead mission with a fish fry in mind. They got it too.
While fishing with Scott Balmanno and his son Braden, we added a little variety to the mix with redfish and snook. We were joined by Randy Fields and his son Mac. With water temps in the low 60′s we started out dock fishing for reds. Two hours later we had caught 15 reds and had 4 keepers on ice in the coffin. The biggest fish was 24 inches. So we moved on to find some sheepshead and we sure found them. We had a good rally around docks although most were on the small side. We managed to add 10 sheepies to our box and decided to see if we could get a snook to bite. When we arrived at the spot I could see a lot of snook from my vantage point in the tower. When I got down, I could also see that the water temp was only 63.5 degrees. We started out by chumming with live shiners. Only one fish rose from the bottom to eat a bait. Real encouraging, huh? Well, we managed to catch eight snook, the biggest coming in at 27 inches. Belly hooking the baits to get them to swim toward the bottom seemed to work. We also sight casted to a couple of fish which worked too.
Jigging deeper grassflats with Berkley gulp shrimp combined with a 1/4 oz jighead is producing decent numbers of big trout up to 22 inches. While targeting trout we’re catching spanish macks and ladyfish which adds a little variety between trout bites.