Do you love big bluegill?
Where do Shell-cracker like to hang out. I have 4 acre pond with varied structure and bottoms but don't catch many Redears, albeit I fish mainly for bluegills with crickets. Do shell-crackers school? Deep or shallow?
Shellcrackers eat mainly mollusks, such as snails and freshwater mussels. From what I understand, they also tend to hang around the bottom, but I'm not totally sure. Try fishing around weeds, as that's where snails will be. Also, if you know of any mussel beds, fish on or near bottom in the mussel beds. You can even try chumming; place some freshwater mussels into a cheesecloth bag, along with a few rocks, lightly crush the shells a bit, tie a line to the bag, and drop it to bottom. Fish near this bag.
Definitely deep. They love snails, red worms, and night crawlers. They also hang out underneath brush like most other sunfish (but deeper).
My best RES (9", which is not all that big but was big for me) was caught on a whole nightcrawler on a size 4 hook that I'd put out in hopes of catching a catfish while I was fishing the weeds for BG. I had a heavy weight and 14 pound mono on a heavy spincast reel, cast as far as I could and put in in a sand spike with a bell on the rod tip. After an hour or two the bell started ringing like crazy and I thought, "Cool, a catfish!" I was surprised to see when I got it to shore that it was actually a 9" RES with a size 4 hook all the way down its throat, along with the entire nightcrawler. Not sure how deep the water was out there, but judging by how long it took the line to reach bottom, I'm guesstimating 15-20 feet.