Boca Coast is the home of inshore fishing. It provides a suitable site to catch the most sought after inshore fish species. Here, you will find major species like the Sheepsheads, Tarpon, Snook, and Redfish to name a few. This guide gives you information on the best sites and seasons to fish for Sheepsheads in Boca Coast.
Sheepsheads are coastal members of the porgy species. They are thick and flat in shape. Also, they are characterized by pronounced black bars on their grayish body. They have large protruding teeth resembling those of a sheep. Other distinctive features include large and sharp spines in the dorsal and ventral fins. Catching this fish is daunting, but with the right equipment and knowledge, you will fulfill your ultimate inshore fishing goal, catching a sheepshead.
One of the prime areas for sheepsheads is at the oyster creek near the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River.
Anglers have found scores of sheepsheads on oyster bars in Matlacha pass. Most anglers target sheepsheads during their spawning season. The Matlacha Bridge is also a great place to check out.
Sanibel Island is another great place to catch sheepsheads, especially in winter and spring. Since they feed on crustaceans such as shellfish and barnacles, you will likely find them around the Sanibel fishing pier at Lighthouse Park.
Estero Bay was Florida’s first Aquatic Preserve. It was established to protect marine life. The best sites for fishing sheepsheads in Estero Bay are Mangrove Islands and oyster beds. They have sheltered covers that are residing places for this species.
The Equipment for Sheepshead
Here at C2 Inshore Charters, we specialize in fly fishing for sheepshead and other species. You’ll find we prefer to use the XXXXXX reel. This fish is mostly found within heavily jagged covers, therefore choose a reel that has enough strength to pull the fish from the cover. It should also be able to handle a 10-20 pound line.
Sheepsheads are dubbed bait-stealers because of how gentle they bite the bait. Most of the time, they can go undetected if an inappropriate fishing rod is used. The right rod should have a moderate action backbone to provide enough power to pull the fish away from the cover. The tip should be light to provide sufficient sensitivity. Also, make sure that your rod of choice matches both the reel and the line.
The recommended line for sheepsheads is a 10-20lb class. They are resistant to abrasion, offer great sensitivity and do not stretch when laden.
You need to consider strength, size, and sharpness of the hook. Sheepsheads have strong, powerful jaws as well as small hard mouths. Therefore, the right hook should be strong to avoid breaking, small enough to fit their mouth, and razor sharp to penetrate their bony mouth.
Fiddler crabs are the recommended bait for this fish type. They are readily available in the fishing sites at Boca Coast. Live crabs are most preferred, but you can also use frozen ones from grocery stores.
Other baits include sand fleas, shrimp (live or fresh), clams and oysters.
To get the most out of the bait, hook it all the way through ensuring that the sharp tip of the hook is exposed. When using a male crab, remove the claw because sheepsheads use it to pull off the bait unscathed.