Two of the most commonly caught fish by anglers in the coastal regions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina are the black drum and sheepshead. Both fish species are great fighters and can be cooked for a meal. Confusion can set when trying to differentiate the two from each other. What is the difference between a black drum and a sheepshead?

What Bodies Of Water Are These Types Of Fish Found

Both the black drum and the sheepshead are saltwater fish. The sheepshead and black drum also call coastal waters home. Expect to find these two fish species around marshy areas and along dock pilings. One difference between these is sheepshead ventures offshore onto artificial reefs.

Are Sheepshead And Black Drum The Same

No, they are not the same but differentiating the two types of fish can be a challenge. The sheepshead fish and black drum have a very similar appearance.

Black Drum Identification

Small black drums have vertical black stripes. The remainder of the fish is white for juveniles, but they darken to black as they age. Look around the mouth for barbells under the chin and a jaw that lacks teeth. Most anglers catch black drum fish between one and ten pounds, but they can exceed seventy-five.

Sheepshead Identification

These are also known as convict fish for a reason. Look for seven vertical black lines on both sides of the fish. Aside from the black stripes, the coloration is typically gray or yellow. Watch out when handling convict fish. The dorsal fins are sharp. Lastly, the mouth is lined with sheep-sized teeth. Anglers catch most sheepshead between one and seven pounds, but they can reach 20.

Is Black Drum Good Eating

Yes, a black drum is good to eat. These fish should not be kept when they exceed eight pounds because the fillet quality declines drastically. The flesh is closely compared to that of a red drum. The fillets of small fish will be white and firm, so they are suitable to cook in various ways. Large black drum flesh is coarse and dark.

Are Sheepshead Good Eating

Yes, sheepshead is good eating. Thanks to its diet of strictly shellfish, the fillets take on a sweet flavor. When filleted, the meat will be firm and white. After the fish is cooked, expect small flakes. Again, sheepshead is highly versatile when it comes to cooking methods.

What Methods Are Used To Catch Black Drum And Sheepshead

Fortunately, the black drum and sheepshead can be caught in similar ways. It will not be uncommon to have a mixed bag of the two species.

What Size Rod And Reels Are Necessary

Light to medium weight fishing rods and reels spooled with 25-pound braid are sufficient. Tip the end of the braid with a thirty-pound fluorocarbon leader.

What Bait And Rigs Work To Catch Black Drum and Sheepshead

To catch both species, think crabs. Sections of big blue crabs or whole fiddler crabs on a hook under a popping cork will draw convict fish and black drums’ attention. The sheepshead’s large teeth can gnaw through the fishing line, so be ready as soon the fish strikes.

Should You Go Fishing For Black Drum And Sheeps in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia

Yes, you should go fishing for black drum and sheepshead in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. Both types of fish put up an excellent fight and make even better table fare. Make sure to be able to identify the two species if you plan to keep them. Follow the state’s saltwater fishing regulations to avoid receiving a citation from law enforcement.