Will sheepshead take a fly? Absolutely. Now I’m not telling you it’s easy. But a properly presented crab fly on the bottom can do the trick. I’ve only done it once, but my friend Dave in Florida has done it several times. And the above photo is all the proof you need.
Sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, are a common in Southwest Florida, especially in the cooler months. Typically they are found in the brackish inland canals, but they also roam the reefs and sandbars in more open water. There sheepshead are often seen in schools. Spotting them is snap, as their dark bars are a dead giveaway.
In this case Dave was casting to a school of redfish. A nearby sheepshead saw the fly, however, and zipped over to grab it. Bingo hookup. Way cool. And believe me they fight well, and taste great. Now you may hear people say that sheepshead have a prize in their head. Yes, you heard me right. Folks call them “stones”because they are white pearl-like objects that some people even use as jewelry. The stones are actually otoliths, and found in many fish. They are a source of sensory input helping fish navigate complex surroundings.