Updated: Mar 27
As a Fishing Charter Captain I often see an overlooked fish while fishing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Louisiana Marsh. These fish are Sheepshead. Sheepshead or as locals call them Back Bay Snapper and Convicts due to the vertical bars on their sides, are plentiful during our winter and spring months. Sheepshead are similar to in looks to a Black Drum. They reach sizes of up to 36” but, average around 18”. They have a mouth full of teeth that almost look human and a strong jaw. Their gill cover and fins are very sharp and hard so use caution when handling them.
We fish Sheepshead locally in both nearshore reefs, piers, and bridges. We also fish locations in the Louisiana Marsh where they are known to frequent. Using a 1/0 or 2/0 Kahle Hook, 20/30 pound leader and 1/2 to 1 ounce sinkers we fish on the bottom next to these structures. Baiting the hooks we use several baits including fiddler crabs, live shrimp and “fresh” dead shrimp mostly. I can not express fresh dead shrimp enough, prior frozen shrimp even from a seafood store can lessen your chances significantly.
Sheepsheads do not have an aggressive bite, so constant tension on your line is important. Otherwise, they will steal you blind in bait without ever knowing they were there. Once on the hook you will know they are there. These fish put up a fight and thats just what the charter clients are after. Mississippi realized the popularity and importance of Sheepshead and placed a minimum size of 14” and limit of 15 per person. Louisiana still hasn’t imposed limits on them.
Once back at the dock your Charter Captain will take your group photos and clean the fish to your desire. They can either be filleted or left on the half shell for grilling. The recipes are almost endless. Often our clients will take their fresh catch to Shaggy’s Restaurant https://shaggys.com/locations/pass-christian-harbor/ in the Pass Christian Harbor where we dock and have them cooked to their desire right away. Where else can you get seafood that fresh!
At Head Shaker Charters we offer inshore fishing charters that meat our customer needs. Summer is right around the corner and so is the completion of speckled trout transit to the outer Louisiana Marsh. There are several ways to book your charter with us including online at www.headshakercharters.net , telephone 228-304-1751 and email at email@example.com Good luck fishing and until next time be safe!