Page 115 - South Mississippi Living - March, 2023
P. 115

 Christine Carpenter showing off a sheepshead caught in
the Gulf of Mexico.
   story and photos by John N. Felsher
structures. To catch big sheepshead in the spring, McGill heads south of the barrier islands to fish artificial reefs. The state of Mississippi created numerous artificial reefs at varied water depths to attract fish. In some cases, the state used concrete chunks and other hurricane debris as reef building materials to bring a little good out of destruction.
“In March, we head a little farther offshore past the barrier islands to find sheepshead,” McGill states. “South of the islands, especially Ship Island, the depth starts dropping down to 30 or 40 feet deep. We look for sheepshead around deeper reefs.”
McGill typically drops live shrimp or fiddler crabs straight down close to hard structures. With their human-like teeth, sheepshead skillfully snip baits right behind the hooks. When hooked, though, sheepshead can outfight almost anything. Built for power, not speed, these scrappers head to structure and declare a brutal tug of war when hooked.
“When someone pulls up an 8- to 10-pound sheepshead from 40 feet of water, that person had a fight,” McGill quips. “Sometimes, our customers have a little difficulty hooking sheepshead until they get the feel for them. We tell our customers who haven’t fished much in salt water that it might feel like a little fish nibbling the bait, but once they put the hook into it, the fight is on!”
Anglers might catch these pugnacious powerhouses anywhere along the Mississippi Coast. Bridges, docks and other hard structures in Back Bay and Bay St. Louis hold good sheepshead concentrations. Although difficult to clean, sheepshead make excellent tablefare.
March 2023 | 115
For artificial reef locations, see

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