The sheepshead, Archosargus
probatocephalus, is a
fish that grows to 30 in (760 mm), but commonly reaches 5 to 8 in.
It is deep and compressed in body shape, with 5 to 6 dark bars on
the side of the body over a gray background. It has sharp dorsal
spines. Its diet consists of oysters, clams, and other bivalves, and
barnacles, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans. It has a hard
mouth, with several rows of stubby teeth, which help crush prey.
Although the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, in New York City,
was named after the fish, it is almost entirely a southern species:
its range extends from the Mid-Atlantic to Texas. As sheepshead feed
on bivalves & crustaceans, successful baits include shrimp, sand
fleas (molecrabs), clams, and mussels. Sheepshead have a knack for
stealing bait, so a small hook is necessary. Locating sheepshead in
a boat is not difficult: fishermen look for rocky bottoms or places
with obstructions, and they try around jetties and the pilings of
bridges & piers. The average weight of a sheepshead is 3 to 4
pounds, but some individuals reach the range of 10 to 15 pounds.
Information courtesy of