Monday, June 11, 2012

First Sheepie of the Year

As soon as I set the hook, I knew.  It was heavy and I cranked as fast as I could knowing the jaw-clenching drag run was coming... and it most definitely did.  All the line I gained in the beginning was back under water and as hard as I tried to keep it away from the piling, it was still strong enough to get where it wanted.  I felt my line rubbing but luckily I was ready with the one arm paddle action.  I made two hard sweeps and got in position to give a good yank on the rod.  I turned his head and started gaining line... only for it to go on another awe inspiring run.  This time it didn't get back to the pilings, but I was still nervous about how much damage my line sustained the last time.  When I got it near the surface, my suspicions were confirmed in the form of a shredded leader.  And of course, in true sheepshead fashion, it got it's head pointed back down and as the tail started kicking I loosened up the drag just in time.  Two more heart stopping runs ensued and I could have sworn I was going to lose that fish.  But somehow I ended up landing my first sheepshead of 2012.

First Citation of the year, too.

Bubba is a tough fighter, but when you play rough, sometimes you lose a tooth.

You'll notice the color difference in the first two pictures.  The longer they stay out of water, the more faded the colors will get.  Please make sure, especially in the warmer months, to get them back in the water quickly and revive them thoroughly before releasing them.  It's pretty amazing to watch their colors come right back and vibrant.

I also caught a 25" black drum that fought well, but after the last fight, definitely seemed a bit on the wussy side.  There are few fish in our neck of the woods that will get your adrenaline rushing like a big ol' sheepshead.

Tidbits of what I used:  Bait, mole crabs (although other crustaceans will work as well, including fiddler crabs).  Rig, 2/0 Owner cutting point hook on dropper loop (1/0-3/0 will work).  3-4 oz sinker (sometimes more depending on current), 40lb leader, 30lb braid (most people use heavier braid and leader and it's recommended).  Stout yet sensitive rod and quality reel with smooth drag is crucial.  Noodley rods will not get a good hook set and you will not have enough power to turn the fish during the fight.  A drag that stutters will also end in disappointment.  

Side note:  Thanks goes out to Kevin, Lee and Jay for confirming our hunch earlier in the week.  Unfortunately, as luck would have it, Jay dropped two.  I'm sure they will be out for retribution soon.

1 comment:

  1. Good Stuff Rob. Congrats on your first papers this year. I knew I should have paddled out with Billy that morning.


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