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.

Sheepshead Illustration by 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.
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 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 Length and Weight Live Release Award
Adult: 22 inches minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 20 inches minimum

Sport Fishing Tournament Award
Adult: 8 pounds minimum
Youth (age 15 and under): 6 pounds minimum
Delaware State Record 17 pounds 1.6 ounces
Dave Walker