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Archosargus probatocephalus

Porgy Family

Saltwater Fish Identification


Common Name(s):
Convict Fish, Seabream
Sheepshead are gray or yellowish overall and are marked vertically with 5 or 6 black bars. The mouth is full of massive, protruding teeth that give the fish its name, and distinguish it from the juvenile Black Drum, the only fish with which it is likely to be confused. Spines of the dorsal and anal fins are heavy and sharp.
Similar Fish:
Black Drum, Atlantic Spadefish
Feeding Habits:
These fish are often seen browsing the pylons of bridges and piers for a variety of crustaceans. Their large, strong teeth have enough power to crush the shells of most small invertebrates.
The species range from Nova Scotia to Cedar Key, Florida, along the Atlantic coast of North America. There are two other populations of the species that are regarded as subspecies, but they occur in the western Gulf of Mexico and in the South Atlantic to
Sheepshead are found in areas of rocky bottom, from far up coastal creeks and rivers, to well offshore. They love docks and bridge pilings, artificial reefs and any other structure that wears barnacles and/or harbors crabs.
Typical Size:
Sheepshead can attain a length of 30 inches and a weight ranging from 5 to 15 pounds. Fish as large as 20 pounds are caught occasionally.
World Record:
21 pounds, 4 ounces (IGFA)