Potential world-record sheepshead speared out of Nags Head

Quentin Turko of Kitty Hawk, N.C. shot this big sheepshead while spearfishing out of Nags Head.

Fish is more than a pound heavier than current world record

Quentin Turko of Kitty Hawk, N.C. was spearfishing out of Nags Head this past weekend when he speared a 16.8-pound sheepshead. The fish is bigger than the current world record of that species for spearfishing.

Turko has begun the necessary paperwork with the International Underwater Spearfishing Association. If approved, his fish will unseat the current world record, a 15-pound sheepshead that was speared by Kyle Barnell of Charleston, S.C. in 2011.

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries awards certificates to rod-and-reel anglers who catch a sheepshead weighing over 8 pounds. However, North Carolina does not recognize fish killed by spear in any of its record books or citation programs. But Turko will be plenty happy once his fish is recognized as the new world record.

After spearing the fish Sunday, Turko took it to TW’s Bait & Tackle to have it officially weighed.

Sheepshead are known as tricky bait thieves. Anglers often catch them inshore around bridge and dock pilings, around sunken trees and other debris, and around oyster mounds. These fish are also caught offshore and nearshore around live bottom, rock jetties, reefs, and wrecks. They are one of the most difficult fish to catch by rod and reel.

South Carolina’s current state record sheepshead (rod-and-reel) is a 16-pound, 6-ounce fish caught out of Mt. Pleasant in 2008 by J. Widener of Hanahan, S.C. North Carolina’s state record rod-and-reel sheepshead is a 19.25-pounder caught out of Oregon Inlet by Chris Robbins.

The International Game Fish Association’s all-tackle rod-and-reel sheepshead world record was caught out of New Orleans, La. in 1982. That fish weighed 21.25 pounds.

Click here for information about bowfishing in shallow water.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1313 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.