Scientific Name: Archosargus probatocephalus
Ideal Temp: 60-65°F (15-18°C)
Environment: Inshore, Nearshore, Surf
Technique: Bottom Fishing
Lure Type: Bottom Rig
World Record: 9.63 kg (21 lb 4 oz) New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
The sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, is a marine fish that grows to 30 in (760 mm), but commonly reaches 10 to 20 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 the shells of prey.
Sheepshead are found in waters ranging from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, and southward to Brazil. Populations of sheepshead occurring in South America and in parts of the Gulf of Mexico are regarded as two separate subspecies. Sheepshead are year-round residents from about South Carolina through the Gulf of Mexico, and most abundant to the north between
April through November. They are found in coastal waters, bays and estuaries, and are tolerant of low salinity brackish waters as well. Sheepshead are most frequently encountered near some type of structure like pilings, jetties, oyster reefs, artificial reefs and coastal live bottom.