Sheepshead: Archosargus probatocephalus


  • Basic silvery color with 5 or 6 distinct vertical black bars on the sides; bars are not always the same on both sides
  • Prominent teeth, including incisors, molars and rounded grinders
  • No barbels on the lower jaw
  • Strong and sharp spines on the dorsal and anal fins


Sheepshead are an inshore species and are commonly found around oyster bars, seawalls and in tidal creeks.  They move nearshore during late winter and early spring for spawning. 


Sheepshead are fractional spawners (they only lay a portion of their eggs at a time) in inshore waters, typically in March and April. They are omnivorous feeding mostly on crustaceans and small fish.

Additional Information

State Record: 15 lb 2 oz, caught near Homosassa

Fishing Tips and Facts: Use live shrimp, sand fleas or fiddler crabs on a small hook fished on the bottom.  When cleaning, beware of the sharp gill covers.

Sheepshead are an important commercial species.

Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
Gulf sturgeon are considered anadromous, from the Greek, meaning fishes that travel back and forth between fresh and salt water.

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