Do you love big bluegill?
I think of a gillcracker as a 50 50 bluegill x redear mix. I've only caught a half dozen or so but they pretty much look like redears with bluegill markings on the gill cover and jaw
I think you are right also Jacob. I see quite a few of what I think are the crosses in Iowa, but none here in Illinois. Southeastern corner of Iowa is full of em if you can stand the HURRICANES, WIND STORMS, THUNDERSTORMS, out there!!!!!!!!!! OF course this year is a drought there and usually the lake I fished is up 4' but this year I didn't go and I'm sure water is down some.
I catch them in Southern Indiana but not frequently. This heat is pretty crazy. A day under 90 without thunderstorms would be nice.
Jen, A REDEAR has a brite red on its ear tab!!!!! Gillcracker it is not quite as pronounced!!!!!!
I will leave this to the EXPERTS!!!!!!! My opinion is they fight harder than a REDEAR or a BLUEGILL!!!!!
But that is my opinion!!!! Ok that ought to start a DEBATE!!!!
I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT about the fight in the crosses. I'll go a step further and say I think the males fight the best when on the nest!!! JMHO and who knows for sure !!!
Jen, Really need to get Walt and Tony on this one!!!! The get it down to the POWER and GENERATION!!!!!!!!!
What I refer to as a Gillcracker, and I believe what the forum generally refers to as a Gillcracker, is a offspring of a Bluegill x Redear crossing. A hybrid. As such, the ones we catch in our ponds tend to display traits from both species. For me, the general body shape is the first thing I look at. Redears will tend to be longer, while a Gillcracker will most often be "taller", displaying more of a Bluegill shape. Oftentimes a Gillcracker will display vertical striping reminiscent of a Bluegill, just not quite as pronounced as a true BG.
The opercular flap, or eartab, will be larger on a Gillcracker than on a Redear as well. There may, or may not be a touch of red/orange on its border, but a mature Redear will of course show a bold, colorful margin on the eartab.
Many times the Gillcrackers I catch will have the mottled, spotted cheeks of a Redear, instead of the blue color so indicative of a BG.
One thing I am curious about however, is the probable difference between a Gillcracker from a male BG x female Redear, and the reverse cross.... a Gillcracker from a male Redear x female BG. Perhaps Bruce, Jim, or Walt will have some information in this regard?
Words of wisdom Tony, thanks!
Most of the gillcrackers I've caught looked to be male fish - I found one photo in my fish photos on here that looks like it could have been a female but the others are all pretty clearly male. And I'm not sure whether the questionable one might not also be a male.
All of the ones that are clearly males, have the larger opercular tab that is often a distinguishing feature between male and female pure bluegill, which makes it seem pretty likely that the bluegill parent was a male. Also, these same fish that are obviously males are usually a very dark, mottled olive color that seems unique to the cross; they usually have a little orange fringing on the opercular like a shellcracker, but of course it's the bigger opercular of a male bluegill.
Don't know if any of this helps at all?
Hey Jen...don't know if any of these photos help, but I think Walt and Tony hit it pretty much on the head. I believe Bill Modica has taken numerous, large gillcrackers, and they all appear to be males. Perhaps he and Bruce can jump in. Here are two picks of what I 'believe' is a gillcracker...and another...
I hope this helps!