Sheepshead fishing at the Winyah Bay rock jetties can be some of the most-exciting of all summer fishing, but the jetties can also be treacherous for both inexperienced and experienced boaters. Safety should always be first when fishing around these oceanic obstacles.
The massive jetties are one of the largest structures found along the east coast. Being slightly less than 5,000 feet apart at the ends creates the opportunity for shoaling and erratic currents, not to mention waves and currents coming in from offshore.
In order to catch sheepshead, anglers must get close enough to the rocky structure to effectively fish and feel the subtle bites, and anchoring is mandatory and necessary. Capt. Jordan Pate will anchor parallel to the jetty rocks using two makeshift anchors made from bricks or cinder blocks; he can more easily get away from the rocks if the current gets too strong, whereas most commercial anchors can get lodged in the rocks. He’ll place an anchor out at each end of the boat.
“Throw a brick up into the rocks to get close enough. You need a stern and a bow line to go parallel with the rocks,” he said.
Captain Tommy Scarborough advises anglers to hold off anchoring for a few minutes.
“Sit back and get a basic understanding of what the wind currents and boat wakes are going to do with your boat before anchoring,” he said. “I always use some kind of a breakaway anchor. Safety is always first, and the jetty is not a place to play around with.”