Sheepshead

Sheepshead

Archosargus probatocephalus, the sheepshead, is a marine fish that grows to 76 cm, but commonly reaches 30 to 50 cm. It is deep and compressed in body shape, with five or six dark bars on the side of the body over a gray background.
Scientific Name and Aliases
Archosargus Probatocephalus
Average Life Span and Size
As they age, they move further out to structure. Use their large incisors to clip barnacles and shellfish off structures. Use their large molars to crush the shells and consume the soft parts, discarding the shell. Average lifespan is between 10 and 15 years.
Growth Rate and Time to Maturity
Maximum known lifespan of the sheepshead is at least 20 years with maturity typically reached at 2 years of age.
Habitat and Distribution
Sheepshead are found in saltwater and brackish coastal waters around jetties, wharfs, pilings, shipwrecks and other structures covered with barnacles, mussels and oysters.
Feeding Habits
The sheepshead uses its impressive dentition to crush heavily armored and shelled prey and to scrape barnacles from rocks and pilings. The diet of juveniles includes zooplankton, polychaetes, and chironomid (midges) larvae.
Best Fishing Locations and Seasons
While sheepshead are here all year they are easiest months to catch are December-April. During these colder months they congregate around the jetties, bridges, docks with deepwater access.
Fishing Techniques
​The best way to catch sheepshead is to target them around any underwater structure that has barnacles on it with a #2 sized J hook and a small piece of shrimp and a light 8 to 10 pound fluorocarbon leader.
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