Oklahoma Record: 2lbs. 1oz.
- 5 pounds 7 ozs... Caught in
South Carolina's Santee Cooper Diversion Canal in 1998
Description: The redear is similar in
shape to the bluegill, but lacks the dark spot at the base of the
posterior portion of the dorsal fin and has a red or orange border around
the "ear" flap. The body coloration is light olive-green to gold, with
red or orange flecks on the breast. The breast of a mature redear is
typically a rather bright yellow. The body is heavily spotted and they
have long, pointed pectoral fins. Five to 10 vertical bars are more or
less evident on the sides, depending on the size of the fish. Males and
females are similar in appearance, although the male is generally more
Other Names: Widely known as shellcracker
because of its fondness for snails. Also called bream, stumpknocker,
Subspecies: There are no recognized
subspecies. Known to hybridize with other members of the sunfish family.
Range: Found throughout Oklahoma in streams, rivers, creeks, major inpoundments, and farm ponds.
Habitat: The redear prefers large, quiet
waters and has a tendency to congregate around stumps, roots, logs and in
open water off shore. They are common in lower, more slowly flowing
reaches of rivers. Rarely are they found in swiftly moving water. They
tolerate brackish water better than other sunfish but are intolerant of
cool water. Like black bass and spotted sunfish they may be abundant in
calm areas near the mouths of rivers.
Spawning Habits: Spawning occurs during
May, June and July, when water temperatures reach 70 degrees. They prefer
water three to four feet deep, and a firm, gravel type bottom. Nesting sites
are often near aquatic vegetation such as water lilies, cattails, lizardtails, and maidencane. Breeding behavior is similar to other
sunfish, with the males doing the nest building and guarding the young. A
female may lay between 15,000 to 30,000 eggs during a spawn.
Feeding Habits: Redears are opportunistic
bottom feeders, foraging mainly during daylight hours on a variety of
invertebrates. Important food items include snails which are
crushed by grinding teeth in the throat; larval insects, fish eggs, small
fish, and crustaceans. In some areas snails may be secondary to insects
as a food preference.
Redears grow faster than any other
true sunfish. The maximum age is about eight years old. Four to six inch
redears are common throughout Oklahoma.
Strong fighters, but
more difficult to catch than most other sunfish. The redear does not
readily take artificial lures but is easily taken on natural baits. Most
fish are taken on cane poles with small hooks, corks, and split shot for
weight. Favorite baits are worms, crickets, grubs, and shrimp fished in
the spring and summer during the bedding season. Later in the season they
move to much deeper water or into heavy cover, where they are difficult
to locate. If these guys got up to 10lbs you would need 30lb. test line!
Eating Quality: Similar to that of
bluegill, with white, flaky, sweet-tasting meat. Prepared the same as