Sheepshead Fishing Outer Banks Nags Head, NC

What are sheepshead

The sheepshead fish is a deep-bodied, marine fish with sharp dorsal spines. The fish usually grows 10-20 inches long. In some cases they can grow to 35 inches. One of the most striking characteristics of the sheepshead fish is the teeth they have, which are amazingly similar to those in human mouths. Sheepshead have two rows of molars on the lower jaw and three rows on the upper jaw. This allows sheepshead to use those teeth to crush and grind the shelled creatures that they prefer to feed on. The back of the sheepshead is raised behind its head, which slopes and is deep in profile. Sheepshead have a short snout with an almost horizontal mouth. Its scales are finely serrated, and it has sharp spines on the back. So be careful if handling this fish. It is usually yellow or gray in color and marked with 5-7 vertical black lines.

time of year to catch sheepshead In Nags Head

In Nags Head, North Carolina the most productive months for catching sheepshead are between December and April. During these months, the water temperatures drop to a level in which they become the most active. This is typically after the winter offshore spawn.

how to catch sheepshead in Nags Head, NC

Rather than casting and reeling in, sheepshead fisherman typically fish directly above their position. The fish has a very quick bite which is difficult to detect. Sheepshead are often confused with spadefish and black drum. Adult sheepshead prefer habitats with some structure and are also frequently spotted near oyster reefs, breakwaters, muddy shallows, wrecks, and piers. Although they are not truly migratory, most tend to move to offshore spawning grounds when the water temperature drops in late autumn and early winter. One very useful tactic for Sheepshead is a Carolina rig with an egg sinker, a barrel swivel, a 12 to 18-inch leader of fluorocarbon, and a 3/0 hook with a live fiddler crab. Fiddler crabs are arguably the best bait for Sheepshead. Another helpful tip if the bite is slow is to chum the waters by breaking up the barnacles on the or around the structure you’re targeting.

Legal Size & Bag limit of Sheepshead in North carolina

COASTAL WATERS ARE (Internal and 0-3 miles out)

In the state of North Carolina, currently, the minimum size of a Sheepshead to be harvested is 10″ full length and the bag limit per person, per day is ten.

Local regulations can be found by Clicking Here as well.


Sheepshead, are are a great tasting inshore fish to catch in Nags Head, North Carolina! You’ll find them in good numbers around rocks and hard structure.


If you want the inshore trip of a lifetime and the chance to fill the cooler, book today!

Book Your Outer Banks Sheepshead Trip Today!

Sheepshead Fishing Nags Head

Sheepshead Fishing Outer Banks Nags Head, NC Book Trip What are sheepshead The sheepshead fish is a deep-bodied, marine fish with sharp dorsal spines. The

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