Capt. Matt Lamb of Chasin’ Tails Outdoors in Atlantic Beach said the bright side to all the rain at the end of June and beginning of July has been a growing sheepshead bite. He’s been selling lots of fiddler crabs and sea urchins and weighing in a lot of sheepshead, including a lot of citation-sized fish.

“I think this latest surge in sheepshead landings is at least partially due to all the wind and rain of the past two weeks,” Lamb said. “When you are sheepshead fishing under a bridge, you have some shelter from the rain and a wind block.  This is something fishermen have been able to do on days other fishing was difficult, and it has paid off for many of them.”

Lamb (252-240-3474) said fishermen are catching most of their sheepshead around the pilings of the Morehead City high-rise bridges, along the train trestle between Morehead City and Radio Island and along the wall at the state port.  He cautioned fishermen that tying up to the state port in any fashion is not allowed.

“The best baits for sheepshead are fiddler crabs and sea urchins,” Lamb said. “Sheepshead like both of them and rarely refuse either. Most fishermen will catch more sheepshead using sea urchins, as they must crush them to get the meat out and this is easier to feel. They can suck the crab out of its shell and be gone before many fishermen realize it.”

Lamb said sheepshead feed on barnacles growing on the pilings, plus the crabs and sea urchins that try to hide in them. You need to fish vertically, right beside the pilings; braided line is the ticket because it is more sensitive and more resistant to nicks from the barnacles.