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A 5.75 lb suncracker caught in Lake Havasau Ariz. Pending world record. I didn't know they could get that big.

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Aparently, it owes its size to an invasive species of mussels...



A shellcracker on steroids, indeed. Hector Brito caught a pending world record redear sunfish weighing 5.78 pounds at Arizona's Lake Havasu on Sunday. The Arizona Game and Fish Department reports that panfish in the lake are benefitting from invasive quagga mussels as a supplementary food source. The record awaits IGFA certification.

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I catch a lot of Red Eared Sunfish here in Florida ... but nothing that big. The local name across the South is "Shellcracker" because they are known to feed on snails. I can attest to this, as I do keep some for the table, and checking stomach contents always shows small snail shells.

I've heard the same thing about all species of Sunfish in the Great Lakes, where the Zebra and Quagga Mussels provide a year round feast.

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I catch a lot shell crackers here too, in fact I have a blast with em I bought a 3 wt just to chase them on a local pond, I've never seen one anywhere close to that size and I don't think my 3 wt is up to it but I sure would like to find out!!!

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I catch a lot of Red Eared Sunfish here in Florida ... but nothing that big. The local name across the South is "Shellcracker" because they are known to feed on snails. I can attest to this, as I do keep some for the table, and checking stomach contents always shows small snail shells.

I've heard the same thing about all species of Sunfish in the Great Lakes, where the Zebra and Quagga Mussels provide a year round feast.

 

there are some big shellcrackers in Florida too... there was one over 4 lbs taken from the lake in Marianna when I lived in that area a few years back. These must be in the same situation as the largemouths in Kalifornia, perfect conditions year-round and abundant food.

 

I haven't seen or heard of the Great Lakes panfish boom-- would be nice if it was true. I don't think redears can tolerate the cold. I grew up near Lake Erie, and every single invasive species was absolutely going to be the END of the Great Lakes ecosystem.... first Zebra Mussels, then Spiny Water Fleas, then Gobies... End Of The World each time.

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Jeez, I don't think I have caught many bass that size. Biggest panfish might have gone 8 oz. and that is being generous. Is there a nuclear plant or old weapons facility in the watershed?

 

Steve

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Joel,

 

I did two classes for the US Coast Guard on the Great Lakes ... Buffalo, NY and Milwaukee, WI. Some of my students at both of them were anglers of some experience and basically said the same thing.

Walleye, Smallmouth and Bluegill were all doing fantastic. Largemouth and catfish not so well.

 

Not an Official Statement, by any means, but they both had pictures of their fish and I liked what I saw.

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