Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sparidae
Genus: Archosargus
Species: Archosargus probatocephalus (Walbaum, 1792) - sheepshead

The teeth! First look at the teeth. If there is a fish looking like it has a set of dentures and is smiling, you might have a sheepshead. They have these apparent teeth, capable of crushing, since their primary diet consists of crustaceans, mollusks, and other hard bodied creatures.

Anglers like using sand fleas and small crustaceans as bait around piers, buoys, channel markers, and bridge piles. (FWC, 2016)

Tips for Identifying: First the BAM then the FAD.

Fusiform, deep body, and laterally compressed.

Length up to 91 centimeters (~3 feet) (Robins, 1986), normally 35 cm
Weighs up to 9.6 kilograms (~21.2 pounds) (IGFA, 1991)
Dark, vertical bars.

A forward protruding dorsal spine appears just before the dorsal fin. See image above from (Bowling, 2016).
Slightly inferior mouth. Sharper incisor teeth more anterior with molariform (flat) teeth more posterior in the jaw for crushing bivalves.
Single, spinous dorsal fin extending from just above the end of the operculum to the caudal peduncle. Forked caudal fin.
Area (Habitat):
Marine waters. Brackish waters, like river mouths and estuaries; also found around coral reefs.

Main reference for this page: (FWC, 2016)

Table of Contents - The Fishes