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Chumming for sheepshead

Chumming For Sheepshead: Ways To Improve Sheepshead Fishing

3 Ways To Successfully Attract More Sheepshead

Sheepshead Eating

(Photo Credit: BigFishTimes)

Sheepsheads are one of the best winter and early spring fish to catch. One thing that makes sheepshead unique is their human-like teeth they possess. It is these teeth that allow them to eat barnacles, mussels, clams, shrimp, fiddler crabs and other crustaceans. On top of having real teach they also have a bony mouth that often makes it more difficult to catch them. Since there is a level of difficulty in catching a sheepshead we thought of another way of increasing your chances. The more sheepsheads that are around, the more sheepshead you will catch if you are using the right bait and lures. To do this, you must chum for sheepshead or provide some attractant to bring them around. Here are our top 3 ways for chumming for sheepshead or using attractants. Whatever method you choose as an angler, it will only help your sheepshead hit ratio increase.

Chumming For Sheepshead: Barnacle Scraping

Barnacle Scraping: Sheepshead Chum

Scaping barnacle to help chum water for sheepshead

(Photo Credit:

One thing that many anglers forget to do while fishing for sheepshead is chumming. A successful chum can be paramount to a good sheepshead fishing trip. There are a few different ways to chum for sheepshead that works well. The most popular way for chumming for sheepshead is scraping barnacles off piers, pylons and sea walls. Sheepshead diet consists of mollusks, crabs, shrimp, and barnacles. Sheepshead live on a heavy diet of barnacles. Often you will find them around piers and pylons feeding. By scraping barnacles in the water, it will release a lot of scents and attract more sheepshead. If the current is running, it is possible to create a chum line that reaches a greater distance for bringing more fish to you. The best way to scrape the barnacles off is with a shovel. Many seawalls and pylons will be posted if scraping of barnacles is not allowed. One thing when chumming for sheepshead like this you have to consider that at first, you will scare the fish off. The noise of a shovel scraping the barnacles off the side will send vibrations through the water. The fish will come back and usually; more will show up. This is an old technique that has always worked and helped catch more fish on a sheepshead fishing trip.

Chumming For Sheepshead: Mussels and Clams

chum bag

Mussels and clams chum bag for sheepshead (Photo

Another successful way to chum for sheepshead is by visiting your local oyster house or fish market. Often when a fish market cleans mussels and clams, they will throw away all the shells and the guts that is not edible. This makes for an excellent chum for sheepshead. Obtain a chum bag and through all the guts and shells into the bag. Hang the bag on the side of the boat and allow for the scent to disperse into the water. If you are fishing around pylons, jetties, piers and sea walls, this extra scent will be great for attracting more sheepshead. The beauty of this is the fact that the fish market is going to through all this out and will practically give it away to you. Every year we go scalloping on the west coast of Florida. We save all the shells and guts in ziplock bags and freeze them for winter time attractants for sheepshead.

Chumming For Sheepshead: Sheepshead Fishing With Attractants


Jar perfect for making homemade attractant jar (Photo Credit:

Another successful way of chumming for sheepshead is by using an attractant to bring them around. You can find many attractants on the market nowadays because they work. This method should not break the bank nor should you have to buy an expensive attractant trap to do this. Often you can use what you have at home, and this works just as good or better than anything you could buy at the store. The best attractants for sheepshead are the shrimp and crustacean oils. One of our favorite attractants to use is Procure. The procure shrimp and crab formula seems to bring the sheepshead around. The best method for getting the attractant into the water and make it last for several days is the following.

Find a jar about the size of a peanut butter jar for it to work best. In the lid take a drill and cut small holes all over the lid. In our experience, you will get about 8 (1/4") holes into one lid. This will allow for movement of attractant our of the jar and into the surrounding water. Place a large sinker (about 4 oz) into the bottom of the jar. Find a sponge that takes up about 50% of the jar. Soak your sponge in the shrimp and crab procure oil for 24 hours. Load the sponge into the jar and screw on the lid. Drill two 3/8" holes on each side of jar under the lid to slide a crab trap rope through it. This will allow you to secure it properly and not let you lose the jar so it can be re-used time and time again. Lower the jar into the water on the side of a pier, pylon or seawall. The procure attractant will disperse into the surrounding water giving you a bait cloud for about three days. This will not only attract sheepshead, but it will bring around a lot of the inshore fishing species like trout, flounder, and redfish.

Make your own chum

(Photo Credit:

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to leave us a comment below or email us at Maybe you have a different method for attracting and chumming for sheepshead, we want to hear it! We would also love to see all of your sheepshead catches so make sure you send us all your great catches to be featured on our social media pages. Check out our other blogs that can improve how good of a sheepshead angler you are and help you catch more fiddler crabs. Don't forget to check out our sheepshead jigs for your next fishing trip. We look forward to hearing about your chumming for sheepshead and what method works best for you. 


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