Year-End Fishing Highlights & Tips from Pole Dancer Charters: Sheepshead, Black Drum & More!
It’s been a great year with ups and downs landing some awesome fish and then of course there’s the big ones that got away. Hoping to finish out the year with some great fishing! Sheepshead bite has been hot and should be great for the next couple months. I like targeting them at the jetties and some of the nearshore spots the best and I prefer sand fleas or small live shrimp over fiddler crabs just because once the fiddlers shell cracks they fall off the hook pretty easy. Docks and bridges can be good too. Black drum have been around the bridges pretty thick in Daytona and New Smyrna. Half of a blue crab is a good bait but also live shrimp. Several times I’ve also got them to eat a dead smelly shrimp after trying with live without luck. There’s been some at the jetties and should get even better this month. Bull reds and tarpon have been around the inlet and then in the river south of the inlet towards New Smyrna. I’ve been doing great using bigger pigfish and pinfish drifting with them on the bottom. This time of year you have to catch these baits since they don’t have them at the bait shops. I’ll try out different areas in the river just using a small piece of shrimp on a little hook or sabiki rig. If you can get your hands on these baits, docks towards the inlet and bridges hold some really big snook! Season closes December 15 through January 31 so keep that in mind. I like to fish them on the bottom in these areas and at the jetties as well.
A couple you don’t hear about as much are sand trout and weakfish that are plentiful over the next couple months. Not my favorite for table fare but they’re a blast for kids with big schools of them making for a bunch of action keeping them busy. They hang out in deeper holes throughout the river and I catch them using live shrimp throughout the water column and they’re fun on artificial too. I like using a faster sinking soft plastic with a 1/2 oz jig head or even other heavier artificials that you can fish deeper in the water column. If they don’t bite one day where I know they’ve been hanging, i’ll try next time with the opposite tide and usually get them. The funny thing is one week it might be better on incoming tide but the next outgoing.
Hoping for some decent weather the rest of the year and tight lines. Happy holidays and happy New Year from Pole Dancer Fishin’ Charters!