Skip to main content



The Sheepshead

The Sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus

Vertical bands stand out against a dull white, gray or yellowish background. 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.


Common from less than a pound to 4 pounds. Fairly plentiful at 5-7 pounds. Fish approaching 10 pounds, and occasionally surpassing 10, are taken each year in North Florida, especially from offshore wrecks and navigation markers in late winter and spring. World record 21 pounds, 4 ounces; Florida record 15 pounds, 2 ounces.


One of the best, thanks in great part to its shellfish diet.


Not an aggressive strike; very tough on light tackle. Pulls hard and uses flat shape to advantage.


Light spinning and baitcasting tackle are tops for sport, but rodtip should not be too soft, as the tough and toothy mouth makes it hard to set a hook. Best baits are fiddlers or other small crabs; cut pieces of blue crab; live or fresh-dead shrimp (threaded on the hook); pieces of oysters and clams. Sheepshead will readily hit slow-moving jigs tipped with these baits and, occasionally, will take the bare jig.


Still Fishing.



Convict Fish Bait-stealer 


All Florida salt waters.


Areas of rocky bottom, from far up coastal creeks and rivers, to well offshore. Loves dock and bridge pilings, artificial reefs and any other structure that wears barnacles and/or harbors crabs. Forages for crustaceans, at times, on shallow soft-bottom flats in the manner of Redfish or Bonefish.

Wintertime Sheepshead

Brad Slocum shows off a nice wintertime sheepshead.

Destin Sheepshead

Carl Moore hoists up this big ole sheepshead caught under the Destin causeway, while fishing with his son.

Big Bend Sheepshead

angler shows off a nice sheepshead caught off of a shallow water rock-pile.

Southfork Sheepshead

\"Sheepshead like this one hold up better than most species in the face of pollution of the St. Lucie River by agricultural discharges. Nora Johnson-Guy caught this scrappy fish, held by her brother Hagen, in the South Fork of the river.\" - Karl Wickstrom

Cold Weather Sheepshead

Forum member fsu11 with a nice sheepshead from a ice cold winter day in Jacksonville.

Flamingo Sheepshead

Five year old angler Eejay with a bruiser sheepshead caught in Flamingo.

Big Bend Sheepshead

Forum member anglerbros 7286 and family recently got out and tore up the sheepshead and trout in the big bend region.

River Sheeps

Florida Sportsman Forum Member FLOWGROWN_ANGLER caught this nice slot Sheepshead while fishing the river in Jacksonville.

Inshore Galore!

Florida Sportsman Forum Member Aquaholik with a great day of slaying with some keeper Pompano and Sheepshead that he caught in Clearwater.

Recognize the teeth?

Sheepshead showing its humanly smile.


Forum member troutman57 and friends caught these Sheepshead fishing knocker rigs on bottom with shrimp.

Phil's Sheepshead

Phillip Moore caught this stud 24 inch Sheepshead on November 29th.

Matthew's Sheepshead

8 year old Matthew Rickard from Sanborn, NY caught this sheepshead on an annual family February vacation to Cape Canaveral

Teagan with a nice Sheepshead

3 year old Teagan Treadway caught this Sheepshead on live shrimp off Boca Grande

Canaveral Sheepshead

Matthew Rickard with a nice sheepshead caught during low tide on a vacation to Canaveral.

Fiddlin' with Sheepshead

Ethan Lasher, 11, caught this sheepshead using a fiddler crab under the North Bridge in New Smyrna Beach, Fl.

Brown's Creek Sheepshead

Don Christopher's surprise catch around an oyster bar with imitation shrimp jig.

Sheepshead Chompers

Cody Huntley's sheepshead caught off of Tom Adams Bridge in Englewood, Fl.

Dock Feed Sheepshead

Big dock sheepshead are always a great fish to catch

Fernandina Sheepshead

FS Member Steve Rossman caught this toothy sheepshead near Fernandina.

Neptune Beach Sheepshead

FS Member reelhooker caught these sheepshead off Neptune Beach.

Fernandina Beach Sheepshead

FS Member steelerfish caught this sheepshead near Fernandina Beach.


Southside Sheepshaed

FS Member arunram posted these sheepshead from near Southside.

Crystal River Sheepshead

FS Member shuttering posted this Crystal River sheepshead.

Sheepshead Smally

Sheepshead of all sizes bite near bridge and dock structure.

Crystal River Sheepie

Member shuterkng posted this Sheepshead from near Crystal River.

Andrew's Sheepshead

Andrew Drobisch of Land O' Lakes, Fl with his sheepshead caught just west of Pensacola Pass

Men and their Sheepshead


Not many fish taste better than a sheepshead.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Let's break down how to modify one of the easiest and strongest line-to-leader connections when using heavy fluorocarbon or monofilament leader.

How to Modify Double Uni Connection for Heavy Leader

Jeff Weakley, editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, breaks down how to tie a non-slip loop knot, an easy and useful fishing knot that every fisherman who uses artificial lures needs to know.

How to Tie a Loop Knot: Best Fishing Knot for Lures and Jigs

Jeff Weakley, editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, breaks down the easiest way to tie one of the most versatile, strong and reliable fishing knots that every fisherman needs to know, the uni knot.

How to Tie a Uni Knot: Easy, Strong & Reliable Fishing Knot

The scented and flavored Gulp! baits are always a good choice in saltwater, and the Grub style baits in particular are a universal choice. Learn how to choose and rig different sizes for different kinds of fishing, from the flats to the coastal reefs. Plus, a Key West fishing expert weighs in on special uses for offshore fishing.

Berkley Gulp! Curly Tail Grub. Berkley Gulp! Grub is a Surprise Hit In Salt Water

In salt water, everything eats shrimp. The Berkley Gulp! Shrimp is an excellent choice for any situation where you want to appeal to a marine fish's interest in shrimp. Here's expert advice on rigging these unique baits, plus proven tips on casting and retrieving them. Storage is another great attribute; these shrimp baits are ready to go when you are!

Berkley Gulp! Shrimp: A Bait That's Better than Live Shrimp!

Join professional surf fishing guide Capt. Paul Sperco for a conversation about reels that hold up in extreme saltwater conditions. Sperco also offers great tips on rigging different kinds of spinning combos for catching pompano, whiting, snook and other popular fish. All of it is done from shore! Easy, fun fishing anyone can enjoy.

Penn Sealed Saltwater Reels: Durable Reels for Surf, Pier and Other Saltwater Fishing

We join Key West, Florida, fishing Captain Pepe Gonzalez to discuss one the most important advances in saltwater fishing tackle in the last 25 years: The advent of fluorocarbon leader material. Fluorocarbon definitely improves your chances of getting bites from wary-eyed ocean fish such as snappers, tunas, tarpon and sailfish.

Berkley Fluorocarbon line: Captains Say Use Fluorocarbon Leader to Catch More Fish

Florida Sportsman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

Preview This Month's Issue

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Florida Sportsman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Florida Sportsman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Florida Sportsman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now