February 11, 2010 By Neil Taylor

You bet your life: There will be convicts right up against these pilings!

Targeting the very biggest sheepshead is similar to other kinds of fishing.   A larger bait can pay off with the “fish of a lifetime”.   In years past, I’ve caught the largest sheepshead by dropping a large live shrimp with the tail pinched off.   With no tail to allow them to evade attackers, the bait will have the right presentation.   With a larger shrimp, the smaller to medium sized sheepshead may have to defer to the loner brute that’s eyes light up when it sees that bait.   Bring a landing net with you: The very largest sheepshead may be too heavy to lift into the boat without the line breaking!

You’ve captured and iced down your quarry.   You’ve heard that sheepshead are a nightmare to fillet?  As with other fish, this is true with the very first experience but gets much easier once you have the “know how.”  Filleting of a sheepshead should be done with caution.   There are multiple hazards that exist in the process.  Always cut “away from the hands” when filleting any fish.   A sheepshead has thick scales and the knife tip can slip and cause injury if the other hand is in that direction.  The second hazard is the spines on top of the fish.   Be careful when handling the fish and avoid getting spiked by one of these daggers.     Two great fillets come off the fish.  Flip the skin side down and shave the meat off the skin.   The final step in preparation before “chunking” the fish for cooking: Cut a “V” section out of the center of each fillet, removing a line of tiny bones.   “Chunking” is cutting the remaining meat into bite-size pieces before cooking the meat.

My personal preference for sheepshead is-dipped in egg whites, rolled in flour and then thrown into hot olive oil on the stove top”.   Flip them over a couple of times and remove them when the coating is a golden brown.  Squeeze on a little lemon juice or just eat them as they are, you will look forward to enjoying catching, and eating, sheepshead in the years to come.

Neil Taylor
Latest posts by Neil Taylor (see all)