STAR Sheepshead Strategies for June

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The STAR tournament is known by many families along the coast for amazing scholarship opportunities.

One of the scholarship categories that also has an adult division is sheepshead.

This month the most productive places to target sheepshead are around jetties. These man-made structures act as magnets for a variety of marine life, including crustaceans like crabs and barnacles—favorites of sheepshead. To maximize your chances of success, anchor your boat near the jetty and cast your line close to the rocks, where sheepshead lurk in search of their next meal. Use a Carolina rig to fish deep near the outer edges of the jetty with a live shrimp.


Photo: John Felsher

If you’re on a walk-on jetty like the one at Port Isabel, be sure and fish with braided line because you will need something strong enough to muscle them out from the rocks. It’s one thing to get them away from the rocks fishing the outside with a boat, but another from the jetties themselves. In clear water, consider using a fluorocarbon shock leader as they can be line shy at times.

This is a great way to target big sheepshead early in the month.

As summer wears on, using a popping cork with a live shrimp is a great method as well, especially if you employ chumming by throwing out mashed up shrimp.

Ship channels are another hotspot for sheepshead activity.  Position your boat near the edge of the channel, where the current is strongest, and drop your bait down to the bottom. Sheepshead often congregate around submerged structures like pilings and debris, so be prepared to feel a subtle tap as they nibble at your bait. When you feel the bite, set the hook firmly and reel in steadily to avoid snagging on any underwater obstacles.

Bay reefs also offer excellent opportunities for sheepshead fishing.  Look for reefs located in shallow to mid-depth waters, preferably near areas with strong tidal movement. Anchor your boat current from the reef and cast a live shrimp on a Carolina rig. Allow your bait to sink to the bottom, where sheepshead are likely to be foraging. Be patient and attentive to subtle bites, as sheepshead are notorious for their gentle bites. Anglers need to actually watch their lines, as sometimes it is impossible to feel the bite—even on the most sensitive rod.


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