Sheepshead are regaining their popularity, when most species are lock-jawed and hook shy. Many catches have come from offshore structures, with the Gordon being the most favored.
While these trips bring quality catches, having to contend with fuel prices can put a curve in your bow. Sheepshead are abundant and just as eager to take the hook from inshore structures as well. Bridge pilings, docks, seawalls and rock formations are holding heavyweights.
Baits are easy to locate with our recent unseasonably warm weather, but while fiddlers might be a bit tricky -- clams, oysters and mussels also work. The trick is to make thin strips of your bait, and use stout, short shank hooks and stiff rods.
If tides are strong, fish the leeside of structure. When tides are slack, look for drops and thick formations of shells in, on and around hard-based structures. Sheepshead are attracted to these croppings, so setting your bait into the mix will generate a good bit of interest.
I am far from being an expert on sheepshead, but I do know that offshore and inshore bites are different games. A proven technique is to fish directly on the structure with no float and as little weight as possible. When you feel the slightest tap, you are too late, so be sure to have plenty of bait on hand.
Give a run for sheepshead. It beats any of the alternatives, and you might just catch a few.
An estimated 50,000 hunters will take to the woods during the upcoming turkey season, generating an estimated $30 million in direct income for South Carolina's economy.
The 2012 wild turkey season begins April 1 on private lands in 34 counties that make up Game Zones 1-5, and on April 2 for all Wildlife Management Areas statewide where turkey hunting is allowed.
The season opens March 15 on private lands only in Game Zone 6: Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, Jasper and Orangeburg counties. The season closes May 1 throughout the state.
David, my old fishing and hunting partner, called and seemed a bit disturbed.
When I asked why, he said he was in town hoping for a bit of fishing but had his brother-in-law along. David told me the guy is a "one-upper" -- he does things a bit better, claims more than he knows and knows very little.
"I took him fishing and my wife told me to make sure I kept an eye on him," David said. "She later called and wanted to know where he was. I told her quite simply, 'If he knows as much about boating as he thinks he does, he is probably having a great time. If he knows as little as I think he does, he should be swimming to shore right about now.' "
Many newer reels on the market have plastic spools mounted to their frames. The spools are disposable and last long enough to change lines. They cannot be wound commercially and often will warp if an attempt is made.
The result is angry fishermen and a lack of confidence in the reel manufacturer. When you decide to spend your hard-earned money for a new reel, be sure to check the spools. It's not that difficult, as most of them are pre-spooled with line and usually matched with a rod and sold as a combination outfit.