by CAPT. DOUG HEMMER
Large threadfins and scaled sardines are two baits redfish and snook seldom turn down. This time of year they can be found in the deeper parts of the intercoastal waterway. Look for areas where the pelicans are doing high dives into the channel. The higher they dive, the bigger the baits are.
Another thing to notice is how fast the pelicans eat the baits. When they keep their heads down to filter out the water, the baits will be small. You'll be looking for pelicans that throw their heads back and eat right after hitting the water.
Move over to where the pelican just dove and let your cast net sink to the bottom before retrieving it. To keep these large baits alive, you'll need to have a livewell that has a through-hull pump.
Sheepshead are moving south from the Gandy area and hanging under the docks north of the Skyway Bridge. They will continue to travel toward the beach areas for spawning.
The best way to locate them is to idle past the docks until you find one that's holding good numbers of sheepshead. Return to that dock and chum the area with fresh cut shrimp. Then cast a small chunk of shrimp up current of the school and let it drift back to the fish. Don't set the hook until you see your line starting to move.
Most of these fish will be on the large side. A 20lb line with a 30lb leader will help keep the sheepshead from cutting you off on the pilings. They may be hard to clean, but they are one of the best tasting fish that swim in our waters.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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