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Outdoors & Recreation
Fish Tales
Get ready for the sheepshead
Article published on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
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The cooler weather and this past full moon should have the sheepshead preparing to spawn.

Masses of sheepshead will make their migration toward near shore structures all throughout Tampa Bay and reefs and rock piles just off our beaches. Look for inland bridges and pass jetties to really start to load up with huge populations over the next month.

Anglers should target the sheepies with small pieces of fresh shrimp or fiddler crabs. Itís always a good idea to do some chumming with some fresh barnacles that you can scrape from any of the pilings at low tide.

If youíve been fortunate enough to get out on the water in between fronts, consider yourself lucky. With the jet stream lingering overhead, wind conditions have been atrocious.

Now might be a good time to catch up on that boat motor, trailer and tackle servicing that will give you more time on the water when the weather is a little more cooperative. Trailer wheel bearings are vital for getting to and from the ramp safely. Clean and repack your bearings for a good peace of mind.

Annual motor maintenance would include changing in-line fuel filter and fuel water separator and changing spark plugs. These jobs are as easy as unscrewing and screwing on a new one. Other jobs like changing the lower unit fluid are pretty easy as well. Changing out your water pump is a little more difficult, so you may want to consider having a professional take care of this one.

Tackle chores include checking all your guides for nicks, as even the smallest nick can fray your line and result in a lost fish. I recommend taking all rod repairs to a tackle shop that specializes in this. Having a professional replace your guides is fairly inexpensive and will look much better than if you did it on your own.

Your reels may need fresh line. Make sure your monofilament line isnít chalky looking or your braided line isnít frayed. Lubricate all moving parts and drag washers with lightweight oil such as 3in1 oil. If youíre adventurous you can open up the gear boxes and clean and re-grease the gears. Otherwise take them in for servicing.

A word to the wise Ė though simple cleaning and service charges can be as much as $30 per reel, something to consider if itís an inexpensive reel.

Tyson Wallerstein can be reached at To get a fish photo in the paper, send the photo along with your name, when and where it was caught to or mail it to Tampa Bay Newspapers, 9911 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772.
Article published on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
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