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Herding World Record Sheepshead

As an angler based out of the northeastern United States, I was always intrigued by sheepshead. After all, they certainly weren’t a species I caught in the waters off New Jersey growing up. Perhaps it was the convict-like stripes that attracted me, or the bucktoothed smile that won me over, but whatever it was, sheepshead entered my bloodstream and once they got in, they have forever held a spot.

Sheepshead were generally considered a “southern” species, mainly ranging from Virginia south to northern Brazil. But in a strange turn of events around 15 years ago, something unusual started happening in New Jersey’s backwaters. Sheepshead began being caught as bycatch from anglers targeting tautog. It wasn’t hot and heavy action, but word got out quickly that the “exotic” sheepshead were starting to show up. Fast forward to the present, and Jersey, along with Virginia, is putting up some notable IGFA Line Class World Records when it comes to sheepshead.

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