Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus)

Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus)

Sheepshead, convict fish, Archosargus probatocephalus,
Sheepshead Archosargus probatocephalus

Also known as …  convict fish

Description ..

Grayish in color this is a deep bodied fish.  The sides and back are prominently gray and the belly is only slightly lighter in color.   They have 5 or 6 black or very dark brown bars that run down the sides which fade out with age.  The pectoral fins are long and pointed.  Their teeth fill the mouth with formidable incisor and molar teeth, which almost look human in appearance.  This is one say to distinguish them from young black drum (puppy drum) a fish they are often mistaken with.  They also have one dorsal fin that runs the length of their back.  They lack the chin barbels of puppy drum.  They are caught on the same baits as black drum and in the same areas which makes for even more confusion at times.
Many are also caught while fishing for tautog on structure.  They average in size to  8 pounds.   Sheepshead are an inshore species and are commonly found around oyster bars, seawalls and in tidal creeks.  They move inshore for spawning.  

Sheepshead, state record delaware
Sheepshead Delaware State Record Dave Walker

They can be caught on green crabs, sand fleas, bloodworms, clam, cut bait, and squid.  Top and bottom rigs work just as well as single hook rigs. They can be caught at Masseys Landing, Indian River Inlet jetties, Roosevelt inlet jetties, the Delaware bay inner and outer walls, as well as reef sites and wrecks.

Delaware Creel limit …  None  

sheepshead, delaware, sussex county, indian river inlet, sand fleas, jetty fishing, jetty jockey, rock rat,
Sheepshead caught by Cody Schware at night at Indian River Inlet












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