The flesh of sheepshead is quite delicious. You are what you eat and the sheepshead’s diet consists mostly of shellfish, so they tend to have a sweet, shellfish flavor and firm, moist flesh. The white fillets can be easily seared, pan fried, or baked.
Put the fish on the drainer of the fish-kettle, pour the juice of a lemon over it, and cover with equal parts of milk andwater. Add salt and pepper and mincedparsleyto season and simmer gently until the fish is done. Drain carefully and serve the sauce separately, thickening if desired.
Best baits are fiddlers or other small crabs; cut pieces of blue crab; live or fresh-dead shrimp (threaded on the hook); pieces of oysters and clams. Sheepshead will readily hit slow-moving jigs tipped with these baits and, occasionally, will take the bare jig.
The daily bag and possession limit is 5 fish, with a minimum size limit of 12 inches total length. Thus, California sheephead is managed in concert with the federally managed groundfish group, which includes over 90 species that live on or near the bottom of the ocean (with a few exceptions).
The best time to fish for Sheepshead is during the incoming and outgoing tides – preferably both so you want to target a day when high tide is near midday. High tides cover the structure with water and the tidal flows move tasty crustaceans within reach of the hungry Sheepshead.
“Black drum juveniles do have a similar vertical dark bar pattern along their body, while sheepshead have them from the gill plate back to the tail,” Markwith said. Juvenile black drum’s mouths are facing downward, versus straight ahead for a sheepshead.
Sheepshead are a delight on the table. But all too many sportsmen throw them back, shuddering at the thought of cleaning a fish with more spines than a porcupine. Even more bothersome are its extra-heavy-duty rib bones that will quickly burn out an electric knife or defeat the sharpest conventional blade.
Food Safety experts (including us at USDA) do not recommend washing raw meat and poultry before cooking. Many bacteria are quite loosely attached and when you rinse these foods the bacteria will be spread around your kitchen.
Ideally, you’ll want to bleed and gut fresh fish immediately after catching them, and then keep them on ice until you cook them on the same or the next day. Raw fish should only be kept in the fridge for 1 or 2 days before eating it.
worms live in the gut cavity of fish. when the fish dies, the worms permeate the meat, to increase the chances of being ingested by another creature. if you dont gut the fish right away, that other creature is you.
You can usually store a fish in the refrigerator for up to two days. Large fish or large pieces of fish will keep longer than small pieces. Lean fish (panfish and walleye) store better than fatty fish (trout).