Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck
1 - 8 pounds
14" - 20"
The Sheepshead is a beautiful fish with a deeply compressed grey body. They have five to seven dark bars on the sides of its body, giving it the nickname of convict fish. They also have sharp dorsal spines, but what they are really famous for are their human-like teeth.
Sheepshead are common at 1-8 pounds and 14-20 inches. However, if you are lucky, you could come across one at 20 pounds, 35-inches. They live a relatively long life, about 20 years.
Sheepshead form spawning groups of up to 10,000 fish. They migrate to structures at channel passes and offshore reefs, jetties, and oil platforms. They primarily spawn in the early spring from February through April.
You will find these fish around structures of any kind, docks, bridges, petroleum rigs, and reefs. Any barnacle-covered pilings make for great places to catch some big Sheepshead fish. Although they usually stay near cover, occasionally, they will also come closer to shore to feed on sand fleas (a type of crab).
Sheepshead are found along the entire east coast of the United States and around Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. The highest concentrations are found in south Florida to the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the large number of artificial structures and pier pilings in northwest Florida, you will also find large concentrations. They can also be found as far north as Nova Scotia.
If your fishing from a boat, pull up to the structure without dropping an anchor, if possible, as it will startle the fish. They seldom go after baits too far from the