Fish of the day: Sheepshead

Nathan Martin of South Mills caught this 9 pound sheepshead at Jennette’s Pier on Aug. 3, 2021. [courtesy]

Nathan Martin of South Mills caught this nice toothy nine pound sheepshead earlier this week at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, but little did he know how big his catch would become.

After pictures of the fish were posted on the Jennette’s Pier social media, media outlets started snapping it up as fast as the sheepshead chomps into its favorite meal of mussels, barnacles, oysters and plants that grow on underwater structures like the pier pilings.

“We’ve had emails from all around the world,” said pier assistant director and public relations guru Daryl Law.

Sheepshead are comparatively large and long-lived members of the porgy, or scup family. They range from South Florida north to Nova Scotia, Canada, and from the Atlantic coast of Brazil north to the Gulf of Mexico.

In North Carolina waters, sheepshead typically grow to lengths of 20 to 25 inches and will weigh between 5 and 15 pounds, according to Coastal Review.

Martin’s catch was no easy task. Despite their human-like teeth, hooking up with a sheepshead takes special rigs and anglers have to jerk it just right to get a fish on.

This story originally appeared on Read More local stories here.