CIVR Blog: Catalina's Second Common Fish


Catalina Island’s second most common fish

Visitors to Catalina Island never fail to notice the garibaldi. These bright orange fish grab visitors’ attention, commanding  even those who just wander off the Catalina ferry notice their distinctive color. There’s another pescadoran denizon of the deep with distractive colors and even more distinctive behaviors. The male California sheephead has an unmistakable black and red color pattern and a jaw profile that would make a bulldog jealous. Female sheephead are not nearly as distinctive in coloration, but don’t feel bad for the more common looking lady-fish. Sheephead are all born female and transform into males based on environmental and social pressures.

Sheephead are active during the day and can reach sizes of up to three feet long and 30 pounds. For those reasons, they are often seen by Catalina Island vacationers, whether those visitors are snorkeling, scuba diving or touring Lovers Cove in a semi-submersible.

Sheephead are popular with anglers and are frequently caught on rod and reel or by spear-fishing. Size and bag limits apply and as with most fishing on Catalina Island, a California fishing license in necessary.

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