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How To "Figure Out" Alabama Saltwater Fishing

Oct 6, 2007
In Alabama, fishing comes in many forms. There are those who pursue what are considered "normal" saltwater fish and those that steer away from the norm. The typical angler will aim for normal Alabama ocean fishing game, such as flounder and king mackerel. These are considered the "usual" catch along the coast of Alabama. Saltwater fishing carries much farther, though, when you follow the fishermen you find along the sidelines. Usually equipped with a minimal amount of gear and either out on the water in a small boat or camped out on the bridge supports with no boat, these anglers are aiming for the low key sheepshead.

Many typical anglers taking part in fishing either don't recognize what these anglers are doing and can't imagine why they would risk scraping their boats against the bridge supports at the edges of the water or simply think of sheepshead fishing as a low-class sport. This is not true; it is simply a very specialized type of fishing that requires a lot of patience and knowledge of some of the tricks that make the unique challenge of fishing for these elusive creatures a more rewarding venture.

In Alabama, fishing for sheepshead can become something of an addiction, with many anglers foregoing the idea of ever making a trip out to find the typical fish in the bays and saltwater ways. Others can't fathom having the patience to drag sheepshead out of piles of barnacles and oyster shells, and many can't stand the thought of wakes from passing boats banging the sides of their own boat against concrete or wood, risking a scratch.

The most important aspect of fishing for sheepshead is to have the right bait. Pieces of fish and stinkbait won't work; sheepshead eat mollusks and crustaceans, so anglers using shrimp and squid to catch other saltwater breeds may have some luck with bites from sheepshead. However, anglers aiming for this species know that fiddler crabs are the best bait for their goal. These tiny crabs are easy to catch and keep. Aim for these creatures at the water's edge in creeks and ditches during low tide, throwing a net over a gang of fiddler crabs to retrieve them. They can be kept simply in a livewell, sand-filled bucket, or a plastic container with a tight lid inside an ice chest. Handle them gently, however, since they will pinch.

Any other kind of crab can be good for fishing sheepshead as well, as there are several small species that will attract a bite. Other great bait for sheepshead includes clams that have been raked or can be bought. Try the larger clams used for chowder first - bang two shells together to break. From a single clam, you can create three separate baits, cutting the foot in half for two and using the rest of the organs as a third.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is commited to providing the best saltwater fishing information possible. Get more information on Alabama saltwater fishing here: http://www.asksaltwaterfishing.com
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