Stephen Fields of Charleston Fishing Company might prefer to be on a grass flat casting to redfish, but when the inshore waters in the Carolinas reach their hottest levels this month, one of his most-reliable targets for clients are sheepshead.

Aside from their notorious bait-stealing abilities, sheepshead are more than plentiful in most any location that has sufficient water and fishing-holding structure. Fields said 3 to 4 feet at low tide is adequate, even preferable, if the surrounding areas are relatively shallow. 

Spooking sheepshead in such close proximity is rarely an issue, but Fields still prefers to stay off the structure as much as possible, previously anchoring up at a respectable distance, now using the twin Power Poles on his bay boat to position it so he can present baits vertically.

“Some dock owners get upset if you’re tying up to their private docks, but there are plenty of public places — piers, wharves and random pilings — where a person in an old, beat-up skiff can get in under some of the dock structure and work vertical structure,” Fields said.

In more-urbanized areas where anglers have ample structure to choose from, developing an eye for the best areas will save a lot of time eliminating unproductive water. Fields said other than deep holes, the older, more-dilapidated pier structures are typically the best sheepshead-holding locations.

“It’s not rocket science,” Fields said. “The older wood supports more oyster shell and barnacles, which in turn host more small crustaceans like shrimp and crabs. So the older stuff makes a better environment for sheepshead.”

Tackle for sheepies gets a