Sheepshead | Bonita Boat Rentals
Archosargus probatocephalus
  • Closed Season: None
  • Size Limit: Minimum 11″ total length
  • Bag Limit: 8 fish per person per day

Identifying characteristics of the sheepshead include its human-like teeth and its black and silver prison stripes that earn it the nickname “convict fish.” Much like a convict, sheepshead are known to suck the bait off your hook without you even realizing it, so be sure to check your bait semi-often when you know these burglars are around.

Find sheepshead in Estero Bay once temperatures begin to drop in the fall and they make their move inshore. Their impressive teeth makes oysters and barnacles their favorite snack – meaning you can find sheepshead wherever you might find crustaceans, such as channel markers, docks, seawalls and artificial reefs. Chum them up with barnacles and break off a shrimp’s head to use as bait, hooking it through the tail to hide the hook. Cast so that your line drifts into a structure for your best chance at catching one of these delicious fish. Look out for a subtle bite and rapidly set the hook to ensure a successful catch but don’t get discouraged if they escape – the elusive sheepshead can evade even the best of anglers!