Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus)

Photo of Sheepshead


Other Names
Convict Fish
Regulated nongame species - see bag & size limits

Vivid black and white bars make the sheepshead or "convict fish" distinctive among fishes of the Texas coast. large sharp spines and a razor-edge gill cover make handling and cleaning difficult. another key feature is the jutting teeth, slightly like a human's.
Life History
Spawning occurs in February and March in the Gulf near jetties, rock piles and reefs. The young fish live in shallow, grassy areas where food and shelter are abundant.
Young live in shallow, grassy areas. Adults live near pilings and rocks where their strong incisor teeth are used to good advantage to graze barnacles and small shellfish.
How To Catch
Experienced fishermen use small fiddler and hermit crabs to catch sheepshead. Alertness is essential, for the fish is an adept bait stealer.
Where To Catch
Near hard substrate such as jetties, rock piles and reefs.
How To Eat
Although sheepshead are difficult to clean, the flesh is excellent.