The sheepshead fish are easy to catch during winter months, spawning from January to March. They are cold hardy and hard to clean due to their thick skin and sharp spines. To catch them, use nearshore rocks, live shrimp, and a fast action rod with braided line.
Winter Sheepshead Fishing Techniques - Captain William Toney
One fish I look forward to each winter is the sheepshead. Sheepshead fish seem to be easier to catch during the winter months. They are cold hardy and spawn January through March. They are great eating but one of the harder fish to clean do to their thick skin and sharp spines. The Homosassa River is where the state record was caught in Pucketts Hole. The fish weigh just over 15 lbs and was caught on live shrimp.
The fishing technique I use to target sheepshead this time of year is to take a run out to some nearshore rocks. High profile rocks are generally better than flat rocks but markers, ledges and docks can also be productive back inshore. Most of the time I drift past the rock and see if there are any sheepshead hanging around. If I see more than 4 or 5 then I'll set up about 30 to 40 feet from the rock up tide. Using a 1/8th jig head with a 3" shrimp with the tail pinched off and threaded on the hook I cast it right up besides the rock. The bite is more of a couple of pecks with a slow but weighted pull, when you feel this set the hook.
I like to use a fast action rod with a 3000 series reel and 10 lb braided line. For a leader I use 20lb floro carbon. After a cold week it may push a few redfish, trout and drum into the rivers. Live shrimp is the best bait and the deep holes near the rocky points or channels are the best spots. High incoming tide will be early morning this weekend.
Captain William Toney
Homosassa Inshore FishingCaptain William Toney In The Spread, Instructor