Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Big redear sunfish! If you're a big bluegill fan, are you also a big shellcracker fan?

Of course you are!

Lepomis microlophus, or redear sunfish is the epitome of everything we big sunfish enthusiasts crave.

Also known as "shellcracker", the redear sunfish is an even larger growing version of the bluegill. Redears have been known to achieve sizes of over five pounds, and are known for their enthusiastic bites and fights. But don't get me wrong--big redears aren't easy to catch. Quite the contrary. Sometimes redears practically disappear from a water body for months at a time as they go deep in search of their shelled quarry. Redear sunfish love to crush and devour snails and mussels. The shellcracker has thick pharyngeal teeth which are movable plates in their throat. Basically the redear sunfish is an exoskeleton crushing machine.

Now a redear sunfish isn't going to limit himself to just things that go "crunch". A shellcracker is more than willing to crush the skull of a small fish, or blow up a big dragonfly nymph. In order to grow huge, a redear sunfish needs to be the consumate predator. If it moves, it's lunch.

Here's a picture of a monster male redear sunfish.


Can you sense the anger?

A big redear sunfish has an attitude. Sometimes it seems nearly impossible to handle a big redear without sustaining a nasty poke to your hand. If you put him in a bucket, it had better have a lid.

Refer to the following discussion on redear sunfish.

http://www.pondboss.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main...

Now do you get the picture?

Make sure to tuck your kids in at night.

Redears aren't cold water fish. They love the heat. Originally a southern species, they are now distributed further north into Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and other neighboring states. The further north you go, the less growth potential you get.

Redear sunfish are identified primarily by their red-fringed ear tab. Females ear tabs are more orangey. Their markings typically display a little more random pattern, maybe more akin to a black crappie. Their mouth is slightly downturned in relationship to it's bluegill cousins. Redears aren't afraid to think outside the box, reproductively. They will interbreed with other lepomids.

If you have a comment about redear sunfish I'd like to hear it. I will attach comments to this blog.

Just remember, if you have something bad to say about redears, you might want to say it quietly.

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Comment by Jeremy R. Mayo on August 13, 2008 at 5:30pm
Mobile delta is.... I heard one of the best place in the states to catch ye ole mighty Redear or as we call em SHELL CRAKA! Only problem is the best fishing for them is down on the causeway. Not a bad thing if you know your way around down there but for people like me.... the ones just getting started.... Your pretty much stuck in the mud and waiting on the coast gaurd to pull you off the mud bars until you have learned you way after years of running the causeway. I dont have the time nor the funds for mud boggin but I did find a couple of people that have sunk there boats up to the trim in the mud more than a few times and now know where to and where not to go. All I gotta do is convince em where they bass fish to take me and lets move 10ft closed to the bank with a cricket or seed shrimp. Dang its hard to get a bass fisherman to haul some crickets and bream busters in that boat. Contrary to belief if you can sell them your stories on the bluegill you catch (pictures help) and tell them you think.... know you can do the same with shellcraka. Your gonna learn you way.( just dont tell there tourn. and bass club buddies. Its kinda like sayin you seen them in a tootoo!) Sept. Oct. Nov. pictures soon to come. I hope them shell crakas still bite using some of pawpaws tricks I used to hear about when I was a kid or I may be standing on one of those mud bars!

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