Longear sunfish, its habitats, characteristics, fishing methods.
Longear Sunfish are deep, slab-sided, very small (4 to 5 inches in length, weight up to 1 lb) and very colorful freshwater fish. They are mostly found in slack water of clear streams, but you can also find them in lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and estuaries. The longear sunfish has a black ear flap with some red and yellow. They will feed on small aquatic insects, crustaceans, and other tiny foods.
A combination of understanding the fish and the techniques used to catch them will help you to hook more fish to the end of your line. Better knowing and understanding of the fish that you are trying to catch will make you a more successful angler, whether you are fishing for trout on a river or surfing on the beach or trolling on the open water.
Longear Sunfish - Lepomis megalotis, also known as Cherry Bream, Sun perch, pumpkinseed, creek perch, red-belly bream, red perch, blackear and red bream. They limited to fresh waters of East-Central North America; West of Appalachian Mountains. Spread inhabitants occur from Southern Quebec to Gulf of Mexico in Alabama and Western Florida; extends to North Central Mexico and New Mexico, wide ranging all through the Central United States West through Texas and North from Oklahoma to Southern Ontario.
Longear sunfish are small, thin, deep, slab-sided fish with a small mouth; the upper jaw failing to reach the front of the eye. Teeth are missing on the palatine bone. Their most typical characteristic is the long black earflap on the upper part of both gill covers with a narrow white border. These small sunfishes have 36 to 49 lateral line scales with 10 to 12 rays on a dorsal fin. The anal fin has 3 spines (rarely 2 or 4) and 8 to 10 rays. The short, rounded pectoral fin has 13 to 15 rays and does not reach the nostril when bent forward. The cheek has 5 to 7 rows of scales. The ear flap with a light margin is longer, mainly on breeding males. The back and sides are brown to olive green, becoming white - yellowish orange on the belly. Breeding males have many bright metallic blue spots on the back and sides, blue to charcoal-colored pelvic fins and bright orange or red sides and belly. The head is orange or red with bright blue stripes, the stripes extending onto the body in back of the head, but not onto the throat region. Deep bodied fish has length approximately 24 cm, rarely exceed 6 inches.
Longear sunfish are primarily found in small to moderate flowing streams, creeks, rivers, reservoirs, and oxbow lakes. Small longears are feeding on aquatic insects, fish eggs, and bryozoans, while large fish consume terrestrial insects. Like other sunfish they usually located where a lot of plants, avoid strong currents by inhabiting pools, inlets, and waters off the main stream channel. They are in reservoirs, small streams; generally not in downstream flat sections. They rich clear, small highlands streams with rocky bottoms and permanent flows. In upper reaches habitats averaged 61 cm deep, had slow current flow (5.2 cm/s) and a silt, mud, or sand rock layer. Species normally shows little movement in downstream average 17 km. Longear sunfish feed more extensively at the surface of the water than some other sunfishes. They eat mainly aquatic insects, mites, small crustaceans, fish eggs, mollusks, filamentous algae, and small fish. Longears have a very restricted home range and when displaced, return very quickly to their original location. The longear sunfis prefers water temperatures from 75 to 80 °F.
Spawning occurs in shallow water with gravel bottom, shallow water and little current during the late spring and early summer. Males scoop nests out of gravel bars, congregate and establish pods of nests on sand and gravel shoals and where streams enter reservoirs. Nest diameter is about twice the length of the fish. Females are enticed to lay their up to 4,000 eggs on a particular nest by a male who swims out to meet her, swimming around her, quickly rushing back and forth and showing his shining spawning colors. During the spawning, both male and female swim in circles around the nest; the female always swim nearer the center. After the eggs have been laid, males chase the females away and guard the nest strongly despite their small size, chasing away all intruders to defense the nest. Males may continue to guard the nest for a week or more after produce, until larvae hatch. The nesting cycle lasts about 2 weeks with eggs hatching in about one week.
Anglers love the longear sunfish, they feed on the surface making them very easy to get to fly fishermen, they are easy for kids to catch on worms or cut baits and they make great bait for larger predator fish.
The longear sunfish is an excellent game fish on light tackle in medium to large flowing streams.
The most common method is a pole fishing using a small piece of worm or a cricket floating under a bobber. Nightcrawlers, red wigglers, meal worms, wax worms, crickets, horseflies, and a variety of other insects work well for bream. Very small artificial lures are also popular sunfish baits. Small grubs (1 1/2" - 2"), tiny spinners, marabou jigs, and very tiny crankbaits also work very well.
Telescopic fishing pole carbon or even bamboo is great. Ultra light
Spinning Rods works excellent. Whether you use
15 foot extra light spinning,
8 foot spin-casting rod,
18 foot super light carbon pole rod, or some other method of green sunfish fishing, you can land even the largest sunfish with the very light line, 2, 4, or 6 pound test. Lighter line provides more sensitivity to detect subtle strikes, allows more line to be held on the spool, and is much less visible than heavier line.