I haven't talked about any rigging basics here on the blog for quite a while. I hate that I sometimes stray from what I originally wanted Something's Fishy to be when I got into this whole blogging thing. Today , I want to share what I use when I target Sheepheads and Pompanos from piers. The same basic principles are also used by boaters and kayakers who target these species and Tautog or Blackfish around bridges here on the East Coast.
These fish are often caught right against pier pilings and the concrete pillars that support many of our bridges that span the bays and inlets. The Sheepheads feed on barnacles that attach themselves to these structures by crushing them with their powerful jaws and stout teeth. There are usually several Sheepheads around because of their tendency to travel in schools and feed together. Once a barnacle is cracked open and it's unfortunate resident extracted the fish will swarm the pilings picking up any stray pieces. Pompanos and other smaller fish will often feed nearby or even under the Sheepheads , picking up anything that the larger fish drop.
When rigging for these fish , I recommend a stout rod with a lot of backbone so you'll be able to steer the bigger fish away from the pilings. Tangles and lost rigs are very common when doing this type of fishing , mainly because you have to fish so close to structures that the fish can (and often do) get you wrapped around. For this reason , I always try to get by with the cheapest terminal tackle possible. I use 50 lb. mono to make my rigs and 2/0 heavy wire hooks for Sheepheads because of their crazy teeth. <=== Seriously , check out the link. I've heard they are capable of breaking light wire hooks and I don't doubt it.
The rig I use is very simple , consisting of a swivel , a single dropper loop and a pyramid sinker. I try to watch under the pier for activity and vary the placement of my dropper loop according to the depth at which the fish are feeding. Sometimes a hook 2 feet off of the bottom will work , but I've often had to use a 5 foot rig when they are feeding higher up. Some people will also use a second swivel underneath the dropper loop and then attach a lighter piece of line between the swivel and the pyramid sinker. This is done to prevent the loss of the whole rig in the event of a tangle. My favorite baits are Sand Fleas , pieces of shrimp and fresh clams.
|Cleaning a mess of Sheepheads|
Have a great week!