Sheepshead are greenish-gray, with a laterally compressed body marked vertically with five or six dark bars. The mouth is medium sized, with strong incisors and molars that enable the fish to pick up and crush shellfish and urchins. Sheepshead are saltwater fish, although they are often found in brackish waters of coastal rivers.
Sheepshead range from Nova Scotia to Cedar Key, Florida along the Atlantic coast of North America. Two subspecies may occur in the western Gulf of Mexico and in the South Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro. During the spawning season, Sheepshead swim in schools and appear to prefer sandy shores. The dark, pelagic eggs are deposited near shore. They commonly reach a length of 30 inches and a weight of 15 pounds, though larger individuals are occasionally caught.
South Atlantic Federal Regulations
(For areas 3 to 200 miles off the coasts of NC, SC, GA, and East Florida)
Note: Effective April 16, 2012, sheepshead have been removed from the snapper grouper management complex and federal regulations are no longer in effect for this species. See Fishery Bulletin
State regulations may apply: