Redear Sunfish

Redear Sunfish: Great for Fishing and Eating

 

Redear Sunfish

I, Ianare [CC-BY-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Redear Sunfish are another plentiful pan fish in the United States. Unlike some other sunfish, they are fantastic as game fish themselves, may be stocked as so, and can reach larger weights than bluegill. Although sometimes mistaken as a bluegill, the size, distinguishing markings, and aggression of this species far outweigh that of their sunfish cousin. Due to this, anglers often prefer them, and those who are stocking their ponds often choose them over other types of sunfish. Read on to learn more about this great fish:

Identification

Sometimes people mistake the deep-bodied redear sunfish for a bluegill. However, if you know what marks to look for, you can easily avoid this mistake. Redear sunfish as not very colorful, and range in color from grey to olive green on the side. Their scales may or may not take on vertical bars along the sides. They also sport a black ear flap that is lined with white and has a red spot (in males) or an orange spot (in females) at the tip. Their mouths are generally fairly small, but large enough to eat their favorite prey, snails.
Habitats
Like many other sunfish, redear sunfish prefer parts of a shallow lake or pond where they can hide. This includes clumps of vegetation, logs, or rocks. Normally, very deep reservoirs will not have a redear sunfish population. They often make nests in the summer time, and this is the best time to go fishing for them. Even though they often do not live in deeper waters, they prefer waters that are deep enough to keep them well-supplied with the mollusks that they feed on. Because they often feed on mollusks, unlike other sunfish, they are great for stocking alongside other sunfish.

Great for Stocking Ponds

Many anglers are happy to keep these fish in their stocked ponds or lakes. They are perfect for pay lakes, and can help to keep the snail population down. Because they do not really complete with other sunfishes for food, they are great for stocking alongside bass and bluegills. Not only that, but they make great game fish themselves. They add important diversity to stocked ponds. Although they produce at a slower rate than bluegills, their population is less likely to become stunted due to larger numbers like the bluegill might sometimes do.

Fishing for Redear Sunfish

Fishing for redear sunfish is as simple as fishing for any other sunfish. In early summer they are nesting, and easiest to catch. Artificial bait may be used to catch them, but crickets or worms are usually more successful. Look for their nests around areas where they can hide fairly easily, like logs or brush. You might also be tipped-off to their location by the noise they make while guarding their nests. Let your bait and hook float almost all the way to the bottom, and move it pretty rarely, if possible. Be sure to bring a heavy pole and fishing line approved for a large test strength, as these fish can really put-up a fight. Along with their added weight, this makes fishing for redear sunfish a great time. Many anglers love to fight with and finally catch them.

Redear Sunfish Fishing

Photo of large redear sunfish by:Patrick Lewis

Preparing Redear Sunfish

Redear sunfish are great pan fish. Often, people compare their taste to that of escargot, perhaps because of their diet composed largely of mollusks. Always be sure to properly clean them by removing the head and entrails before cooking. Redear sunfish may be prepared in a variety of ways. Typically, they are dipped in batter and fried after being filleted. Or, they may be grilled, as well.

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