Like other species in the Choctawhatchee bay surrounding Destin, Florida the sheepsheads move from the bays to the gulf to spawn. From late February to late March is the prime time of sheepsheads' migration pattern and is the peak time anglers target them in the Destin, Florida surrounding areas. As they prepare to move out to the gulf to spawn, they feed a lot causing them to be easy targets, unlike the rest of the year.
Sheepsheads are one of the trickiest fish to hook, as they have a light bite are very smart. When targeting sheepshead you want to use as light of gear as possible. The most common way to rig up is using a carolina rig with a light fluorocarbon leader, small hook, and the lightest weight you can use depending on how strong the current is. Sheepshead feed on a variety of crustaceans and shellfish making live shrimp, live fiddler crabs, and oysters common bait choices.
As for fishing tactics for sheepshead fishing, it is fairly basic. You want to have your weight on the bottom close to the structure you are fishing and wait patiently for the bite. When waiting for the bite hold your pole as still as possible and watch for the slightest bump of the rod tip. Sheepshead have one of the softest bites and the slightest bump can possibly one of the biggest sheepsheads you have ever caught. Always remember if you have a bait down for awhile be sure to reel up and check your bait as many times they will rob you without leaving any evidence of being there.
When targeting sheepsheads, they can typically be located around bridge pilings, jetties, oyster beds, and docks pilings throughout the choctawhatchee bay. As they make their move to the gulf as they spawn they can also be caught along the beaches while surf fishing.
Although sheepsheads are known as one of the toughest fish to clean with their large rib bones and tough scales and are often overlooked when it comes to table fare, they are actually one of the best tasting fish caught in the bay. They have a great taste to their meat due to the primary diet being crustaceans. Being a white flaky fish there is no wrong way of cooking it, blackened, grilled, or fried are all great choices.
If visiting the Destin, Florida area during the winter months or early spring sheepsheads are often one of the main targeted species on Destin Inshore Bay charters with Destin Inshore Guides. If you are visiting Destin on vacation and don't have any experience or gear, hiring a guide for the day is the best route. On all of our charters everything is provided except for food and drinks, making it an easy fishing adventure with an experienced captain, giving you the best chance of catching fish while of vacation. Email or call us today to reserve your next family fishing adventure in Destin, Florida.