Photo Credit: The Online Fisherman
When you’re inshore fishing with us in Venice, LA, one of the most common catches you’ll come across is sheepshead. It doesn’t matter when you come out, because these guys can be found year-round. Here’s a little more information on this popular and feisty inshore catch…
Appearance: Sheepshead, aka “convict fish”, is a marine fish that can grow up to 30 inches in size, but most commonly reaches 10 to 20 inches. The average weight is 3 to 4 pounds, but sheepsheads have been caught in the 10 to 15-pound range (the world record is over 17 lbs). Its shape is deep and compressed with five or six dark bars on the side of the body over a gray background. It has sharp dorsal and anal spines, prominent teeth including incisors, molars, and rounded grinders (The frontal row of stubby teeth resemble human teeth!), and is without barbels on the lower jaw.
Habitat: Sheepshead is commonly found in coastal waters along the eastern Atlantic near structures such as oyster bars, seawalls, and tidal creeks. They move nearshore during late winter and early spring for spawning.
Behavior & Diet: Thanks to their hard mouth and sharp teeth, sheepshead have no problems feeding on oysters, clams, barnacles, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans. These teeth actually help to crush the shells of their prey! They are fractional spawners, meaning they only lay a portion of their eggs at a time, and do so in inshore waters around March and April.
Fishing Tips & Facts: Sheepshead have a knack for stealing bait, so a small hook is necessary. The best baits are live shrimp, sand fleas, and fiddler crabs. When you’re trying to locate sheepshead, look for rocky bottoms or places with obstructions, i.e. jetties, pilings of bridges and piers. When cleaning, beware of the sharp gill covers; they’ll get you!
Ready for some Sheepshead action? No problem! Give us a call at (504) 909-TUNA to book your next inshore chartered fishing excursion in Venice, LA.