Ever have song lyrics stuck in your head? How about made-up, nonsensical song lyrics? “I like sheepshead and I cannot lie.” (Editor’s note: Sir Mix-A-Lot would probably not approve.) What a horrible refrain to have replaying in one’s mind. But there it sits, torturing me this morning as it repeats over and over and over again.
Sheepshead are looked upon with disdain by some anglers and are revered by others, but even the most ardent fans of these zebra-striped members of the porgy family can’t claim that sheepshead are beautiful fish. They’re big-headed and buck-toothed, and the faces of large specimens are often scraped-up and scarred from a lifetime spent chasing crabs and shrimp among rocks, roots and pilings encrusted with sharp-edged barnacles and oysters. Many of the biggest sheepshead are gap-toothed, presumably having broken off some of their chompers on particularly tough-shelled prey. I suspect taxidermists are seldom asked to memorialize sheepshead by creating wall-mounted replicas of these homely fish.
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