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Sheepshead fishing off The Pier
By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 5, 2000
There are 3,000 pilings holding up The Pier in St. Petersburg, and every one has a sheepshead sitting behind it.
A member of the porgie family, sheepshead have strong mouths and teeth, with which they crush barnacles and other crustaceans. Experienced anglers will tell you that sheepshead are one of the hardest species to catch. Their bite is very light, and it is said that skilled "sheepherders" set the hook before the bite.
Many anglers gather their own bait -- tube worms, sand fleas or fiddler crabs -- then dangle the tasty treats along the barnacle-encrusted pilings. Others prefer scraping the barnacles and putting them on a hook.
But sheepshead also will take shrimp, which The Pier Baithouse sells along with other frozen baits. The bait shop is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Rental tackle is available for $10 a day. Call (727) 821-3750.
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