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Any redear-specific strategies that have brought success for you?  I live near a state owned pond from which the Missouri Department of Conservation consistently sample (electro-fish) 9"+ redear.  In several trips over the past two years I have only iced two redears among countless gills and crappie.  Any thoughts?

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Crayfish, Clams, snails. They like hard stuff and there usually alot deeper than bluegill.

 

Except during the spawn, redear will usually be on the bottom. One of the reasons they are called shellcrackers is because of the number of mussels, clams and snails that they eat, things which are all bottom dwellers. Try deeper water than you would normally fish for bluegills.
We fish for bream in May at Santee Cooper mostly with crickets. We always have some baby nightcrawlers with us and fish on or near the bottom for shellcrackers. Since they eat snail and clams I would have thought a crunchy cricket woule catch them, but almost every Shellcracker we catch is on a worm.
sounds like deep and on the bottom are common trends...clams, mussels and snails, I assume, do not do a lot of erratic moving.  Are you guys dead sticking when you are after these fish (with bait) or is a little movement as beneficial as it is with other panfish?

Josh,

We are fishing flooded cypress swamps with avg depth of 5 ft. We keep moving dropping the bait and waiting a minute and moving on unless we hit a bed.

SeaRay

Redear are much more elusive and harder to catch than a bluegill, but that doesn't mean they can't be had. I fish strictly on bottom for them, occasionally we catch one with a suspended cork. Throw out a line with just a hook and sinker(straight line), and let it sit on bottom and wait for the line to move.

 

Target them with lively worms or pieces of nightcrawler,  I've caught most of mine on good red worms. I can gauge it almost immediately whether I'm fighting a bluegill or a redear, the redear literally pull much harder. A big bluegill can certainly pull too, but a 10 inch redear will light you up.

 

I target large flats for ears, DON'T waste your time on steep dropoffs. They like very gradual dropoffs(flats) and a good muddy bottom. They do tend to bed in deeper water than bluegill but I've seen them on the same beds as bluegill too. They can be finicky, biting in spurts and then they'll quit. We typically move around quite a bit because of this.

Yes, I have found them sharing the same beds as bluegill also. When I catch a redear off the beds I know immediately it is a redear because they fight on top, splashing around, while a bluegill tends to stay down.
Another thing ive noticed with Redears is they get spooked very easily.. In some of the smaller ponds i fish you wont catch a single one if you have a cork on the line, if you take the cork off theyll starting biting immediately. Ive caught all mine on crickets and worms. I fish with crickets alot more than worms though just easier with less mess and whatever bites on a worm bites on a cricket usually..
Has anyone tried using canned clam meat as a bait?

Thanx for all the info guys, I'll let you know how it goes.

If you are fishing around docks the redears will be suspended sometimes. I think they go up and down the pilings picking the snails off. I noticed this when we were in 10 feet of water and I was catching them about 8-9 feet down but my daughter was getting them at about 3 feet right along side of me. Best bait for me is worms too.
That is great advice Michael because one of the reasons they are called shellcrackers is because they eats snails.

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