Editor’s Note: Captain DeJuan Tedder of the charter boat, “No Excuses,” based at Fort Morgan, Alabama, has guided anglers off Alabama’s Gulf Coast and in Mobile Bay for 5 years. In February, Tedder expects to catch plenty of sheepshead and redfish.

In February, I’ll be catching numbers of sheepshead and slot-sized redfish. Most people visit Alabama’s Gulf Coast in February to catch monster-sized sheepshead, weighing 5- to 12-pounds each. We’ll not only find sheepshead around rigs in February but also around any type of structure with barnacles, including docks, riprap, rocks and State reefs. The weather determines where we’ll fish in February. In good weather, we’ll fish around the rigs 2- to 3-miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. However, if the water’s too rough, we’ll pull back into Mobile Bay to fish around the rigs, the riprap and other structure. Live shrimp is critical for catching sheepshead. I’ll either use live shrimp or fresh, dead shrimp that I’ll purchase from Gulf Shores Marina or Fresh Market Seafood.

I’ll use a No. 6 Khale hook on 12-pound-test line with a 3/8- or a 1/2-ounce slip sinker up the main line. Below the main line, I’ll tie on a barrel swivel. On the other end of the barrel swivel, I’ll tie on 2 feet of 20-pound-test monofilament line and attach the hook and the bait. I’ll cast my bait as close to the structure as possible without getting in the structure. To catch sheepshead, fish near rocks, wrecks, pilings or rigs. You want to catch the sheepshead cruising on the outer edges of structure. If you fish down in the structure, the big sheepshead will run around a piling, a post or another barnacle-encrusted structure and cut the line.

Sheepshead bite quickly. Usually by the time your lead reaches the bottom, you’ve either hooked-up a sheepshead or lost your bait. Because sheepshead have bony mouths, when you feel the sheepshead take the bait, quickly set the hook really hard. Once I get the sheepshead away from the structure, I’ll use less pressure on the drag to fight them in open water. For people who aren’t accustomed to fishing for sheepshead, landing the fish can be difficult. Sheepshead have sharp spines on their dorsal fins that can punch through plywood. So, I always use a dip net to land the sheepshead and a de-hooker to remove the hook. Don’t stick your finger in the mouth of a sheepshead. Their sharp teeth and powerful jaws, will bite you.

We’ll catch and keep two or three redfish weighing 5- to 12-pounds each, within the slot size we’re allowed to keep, which is 16 to 26 inches, as well as a few pompano, while fishing for sheepshead. In February, we’ll catch 15 to 20 sheepshead, weighing 5- to 8-pounds each. Alabama’s regulations allow us to keep three slot-sized redfish, or two 16- to 20-inch redfish and one over-sized redfish. The sheepshead generally will stay inshore from now until the middle or the end of April. When the sheepshead leave Mobile Bay, speckled trout, flounder and more redfish will come into the bay. Then we’ll begin to catch king mackerel offshore.

To fish with Captain DeJuan Tedder, call him at 251-978-9711, or visit www.gulfadventures.net.