Skip to Main Content

State Record Sheepshead Caught

Dan Thomas displaying his record 13-pound, 5-ounce sheephead.

Dan Thomas of Delmar caught a new Maryland record 13 pound, five ounce sheepshead fish on September 16 in Hoopers Straight, north of Bloodsworth Island. He hooked the record catch while competing in the Westside Outcaster’s Open, a tournament to benefit the Bivalve Volunteer Fire Company.

“When I reeled the fish in, we thought it was a juvenile black drum. But when I saw the teeth, I knew it had to be a sheepshead,” said Thomas. “My buddy got on his phone to check the record while we checked it on our scale. It looked like it could be a new record.”

The sheepshead was officially weighed on a Maryland Department of Agriculture-certified scale at 1Fish2Fish, a seafood carryout in Salisbury, and confirmed by a Maryland Department of Natural Resource (DNR) biologist.

The previous Chesapeake Bay division record was a 13-pound fish caught by Margaret Taylor in Tangier Sound in 2006. The Maryland Atlantic division record is a 17-pound, eight-ounce fish caught in 2004 from the Ocean City Inlet.

Sheepshead are found in waters from the Mid-Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. They feed on crustaceans and bivalves. Shrimp, mole crabs and clams are popular baits for catching these fish where they are found over oyster bars and rocky bottoms.

Thomas will receive a State record plaque from DNR and will be recognized as a Maryland record achiever at next year’s Maryland Fishing Challenge Awards Ceremony at the Maryland Seafood Festival in Annapolis.   

Stay up-to-date with DNR Fisheries on Facebook and Twitter, and through Maryland Fisheries Services email subscription.