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Sheepshead

Illustrator
Duane Raver, Jr.
Season
Open Year-Round
Size Limit
No Size Limit
Daily Limit / Person
No Limit
Delaware Range
Atlantic Ocean, Lower Delaware Bay and Inland Bays
Abundance in Delaware Waters
Uncommon - this species is more common south of Delaware.
General Habitat and Food Preferences
Sheepshead utilize nearshore coastal waters, bays, and estuaries. They can be found around artificial reefs, rough bottoms, wrecks, piers, pilings, rocks, and jetties.

They feed on mussels, clams, oysters, barnacles, crabs, shrimps, fishes and algae.
General Description
Sheepshead are marked by 4 or 6 vertical dark bars (stripes) on their sides.

They have prominent teeth with incisors, molars and rounded grinders that enable them to crush shellfish and sea urchins.
Did You Know?
Because of their vertical stripes, the Sheepshead is also known as the "Convict".

Sheepshead teeth have an uncanny resemblance to those of humans.
Common Fishing Lures and Baits
Sheepshead do not take to artificial lures well.

Fiddler crabs, green crabs, barnacles, clams, pieces of peeler crabs, and shrimp are often used on bottom rigs.
Typical Sizes Caught
In general, Sheepshead are caught by anglers in the range of 14 to 18 inches in length (between 1 and 5 pounds).
Citation Minimum Lengths/Weights
Length: 22 inches (for Live Release Award only)
or
Weight: 8 pounds
Delaware State Record
17 pounds 1.6 ounces
Dave Walker
2014