Getting “cabin fever” and wanting to get on the water? Ships Chandler has a fishing tournament just for you.
The second annual Destin Sheepshead Shootout, hosted by Ships Chandler, is ready to roll on March 5.
Entry fee for the one-day tournament is $25 per angler with the fisherman with the biggest fish taking the jackpot. This is a 100 percent payout tournament.
“The sheepshead fishing has been great,” said Peter Wright Jr. of Ships Chandler.
The idea behind the sheepshead tournament is to “have something for the offseason and get ready for the spring,” Wright said.
Last year about 70 anglers fished the one-day event with L.W. Burroughs bringing in the winning fish, a 7.09-pounder.
“We’re hoping to double it this year,” Wright said.
“And with the low entry fee, we feel like anybody can enter and catch one and have a chance to win.”
Although catching a sheepshead can be a little tricky.
“Sheepshead are a little finicky … kind of like a triggerfish,” Wright said.
“If you feel ‘em bite, it’s too late.”
In recent days, anglers have had good luck at catching them locally around the bridges and and jetties using oysters, live shrimp or fiddler crabs for bait.
However, for this tournament anglers can fish anywhere that is accessible by boat, kayak, standup paddleboard, or even from land. The angler can even fish out of Pensacola or Panama City, but the fish has to be caught the same day and be at the scales at Ships Chandler in the heart of Destin between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on March 5. The anglers can bring their fish by boat or by vehicle.
Fishing starts at 7 a.m. CST and any angler that has a line in the water prior to 7 o’clock on the day of the tournament will be disqualified from the tournament with no refund of the tournament entry fee. Anchoring, chumming, etc. does not qualify as fishing.
Only one fish per angler may be weighed, according to the rules. And fish will be judged on whole weight, not gutted.
“A 6 to 8 pounder will win it,” Wright said.
If you are ready to get out of the house and get on the water for some fishing fun, drop by Ships Chander at 646 Harbor Blvd. and pay the $25 entry fee before 5 p.m. on March 4.