May 11, 2008
Originally PUBLISHED April 04, 2005
The old man sat on the rocks of the seawall, just high enough so the breaking waves wouldn't wet him. He wore white boots and had a five-gallon plastic bucket by his side. He had a gray beard and his skin was the color of burnt toast.
I had just finished my 5-mile beach run and was doing a little rock-hopping, just to exercise my legs. The old man never looked up at me, so I decided to be sociable. "Catching anything?" I asked.
"Do you really give a shit?" he replied in a voice like a bullfrog.
Bastard. He wasn't going to intimidate me. I sat down on a rock next to him. He had a 15' cane pole out in the water. I watched the float bob up and down on the waves. "Don't look like much is happening today," I observed.
"Look in the bucket," he replied. I did and he had THREE nice sheephead in there.
"Whoa! That ain't bad!" I exclaimed.
"Yeah, that sheephead, he's a slick fish. They hide down in them rocks and they don't BITE. They like to suck and nibble at the bait and they can clean that hook without ever moving that float. Unless you've got the right bait."
About that time his float took a plunge and he snatched another big sheephead out of the water. On a fucking cane pole. I was amazed.
I knew that most people used fiddler crabs for bait when fishing for sheephead, but I also knew that this guy had to be using something else. Sheephead aren't that easy to catch.
He finally showed me what he was using and I have passed this tip on to other fishermen and they all agree that it's the best bait for sheephead that they ever saw. Any idea what it is?
I'll give you a hint--- it involves a raw oyster.
Ed. note: For any frustrated sheephead fisherman/woman out there, Rob supplied the answer in the comments section-to quote "...the bait the guy used was a raw oyster tied in cheesecloth. The sheephead could get a taste of the oyster but couldn't suck it off the hook. The fish would get pissed and just bite the whole thing in a fit of frustration.
Try it. It works"