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Winter Neap Tides are Sheepie Time

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On: Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 10:04AM | By: Captain Ron Kowalyk

Well, guys, winter is upon us and the cold water and neap tides present a different set of problems for anglers suffering from cabin fever.

There is, however, a cure for wintertime fishing blues: Sheepshead and Black Drum. These critters are on the chew when other species have subtropical lockjaw. You'll find Snook and even Redfish hunkered down a torpor when the water temps drop in the low 60s.

The winter neap tides, low low tides, and low high tides preclude much travel on the flats and near the mangrove islands. You're gonna want to formulate a plan "B", and that plan should include a trip to the many docks in the deeper channels and passes off the Gulf.

Gear up your medium or medium light spinning outfit with a simple drop sinker and 1/0 or number 1 bait keeper hook rig. Sheepies have smallish mouths, incisor (from Latin incidere, "to cut") teeth, plus some crushing pads near their tongue, designed to nibble barnacles and to crush clams andcrustaceans.

There are a variety of simply easy to come by baits that'll fill the bill of fare for Sheepies. Perhaps the easiest, and my favorite, are frozen shrimp, livies are even better, and smalls or what we call "crickets" are a good match to the hooks and mouths of these bait stealers.

If you're a beach bum with a pair of Wellington boots or Pine Island Reeboks, you're about halfway geared up for digging up the "best bait of all", in some Sheepie aficionados' opinion, fiddler crabs. Just add a spade shovel, a bucket, and a pair of quick hands to corral the skittering fiddler crabs on the low tide flats just in front of the mangroves.

For quick snatch-and-grab outgoings shrimp, clams strips, and frozen mole crabs can all be purchased at most local bait shops.

You don't need to haul out the skiff if you've got access to friendly local docks, county fishing piers and bridges on canals, and at the passes.

Another easy living angling adventure to break those wintertime neap tide, cold water blues.

See you on the water, or maybe at a bridge!


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