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January 29, 2004


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has certified a new state record sheepshead that was taken from Manahawkin Bay. Paul Lowe, a resident of Manahawkin, caught the 17 pound, 3 ounce, sheepshead on September 17. It weighed 3 pounds, 2 ounces more than the previous record taken from Great Egg Inlet in 1995.

Lowe was bottom fishing with clams when he caught the record sheepshead on 17-pound test line near the Causeway Bridge. The fish measured 27˝ inches in length with a 24˝-inch girth.

The sheepshead is a large porgy that can reach a maximum weight of about 20 pounds. The coloration is mainly gray with five or six broad dark bars along each side. It is found in shallow coastal waters and estuaries from New York to Florida and may even enter fresh water on occasion. The sheepshead uses its broad, peg-like teeth to crush mollusks and crabs, and to scrape barnacles and other encrusting organisms from rocks and pilings. It is a relatively long-lived species and grows quickly during the first three years of life. The sheepshead is an excellent, highly valued food fish that is caught by trawlers and also on hook and line.

The Record Fish Program honors the largest species of fish caught in the state. It revolves around a specific list of eligible freshwater and saltwater species, and is based on weight alone; there are no line classes. Scale certification documentation, specifically the Certificate of Inspection/Test Report and Registration Certificate issued by the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures as well as a weighmaster’s signature are necessary. Other rules apply.

For more information or to request an application, call 609-633-7768. Visit the Division’s website at for a complete list of state record fish.

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