Redbreast sunfish, its habitats, description, fishing methods.
Redbreast Sunfish are found in faster waters of rivers and streams but may occaisionlly venture into lakes near the mouth of feeder waters, in clear streams, lakes with muddy bottoms and even in estuaries. They are very small with the average adult only 6 inches long. The Redbreast Sunfish have green upper body and a yellow or bright red underside, with stripes most likely being present running the upper flank. Redbreast prefer slack water and they feed primarily on the bottom. Crickets and earthworms are the best natural bait, spinners and topwater plugs are the best artificial bait.
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.
Redbreast Sunfish - Lepomis auritus, also known as redbelly, robin, yellowbelly sunfish, bream, river bream, longear sunfish, sun perch and redbreast bream. It is native to the river systems of Eastern Canada and the United States, the streams of the Eastern US that drain into the Atlantic Ocean. Redbreast sunfish inhabit freshwaters of eastern North America from southern Canada to Northwestern Florida. Redbreast sunfish are found throughout North Carolina, except for cold mountain waters. They are also common in some lakes such as the Harris Chain and Starke Lake in Ocoee.
The dorsal fin contains 10 to 11 spines and 10 to 12 rays. The anal fin has 3 spines and 9 to 10 rays. Lateral line scales number 41 to 52. Palatine teeth are present in the roof of the mouth. The cheek has 6 to 8 rows of scales. The pectoral fin is short and does not reach the nostril when bent forward beside the head. The redbreast is one of the brightest colored sunfishes. Males have bright yellow, orange or red breast, olive upper sides, blending into blue-tinged bronze on the lower sides and blue streaks on the cheek. Females are less colorful; their breasts are yellowish or pale red. Membranes of the dorsal and anal fins have extended bright orange spots. Soft dorsal and anal fins, as well as pelvic and pectoral fins margins are yellow. The back and head are olive green. Bright, bluish green stripes originate near the mouth and extend backward diagonally toward the base of the elongate, black ear flap. Females are less colorful, having a light orange to yellowish breast and yellow belly. The most unique characteristic of this species is a long, narrow black extension of the gill cover, the ear which often reaches a length of one inch or more; it is narrow and usually not wider than the eye. The lower margin of the flap is usually pale. The redbreast is one of our larger sunfish, occasionally attaining weights of one pound or more. Young grow to more than 2 inches at age one and live for 5 to 6 years.
Redbreasts inhabit sand-bottom areas as well as rocky areas of coastal-plain
lakes, ponds and reservoirs. They frequently concentrate around boulders, limestone outcroppings, logs, aquatic vegetation, or in undercut tree roots.
Adults feed on insects, snails, crayfish, and small fish. Redbreasts inhabit sand-bottom areas as well as rocky areas of coastal-plain streams, rivers, and lakes. They frequently concentrate around boulders, limestone outcroppings, logs, aquatic vegetation, or in undercut tree roots. The redbreast's diet is probably the most varied of any of the sunfishes. Major food organisms are bottom-dwelling insect larvae, snails, clams, shrimp, crayfish, and small fish. Young redbreasts feed on small aquatic larvae; adults eat large larvae, fishes, and mollusks.
Spawning occurs from May through August when water temperatures range from 68 to 82 degrees. Males build the nests and guard the eggs and larvae for a short period after hatching. The number of eggs laid in a season is from 1,000 to 10,000, depending of the age and size of the female. Nests are constructed near curving water and around aquatic plants or underwater objects. In typical sunfish fashion, the redbreast spawns in beds or colonies on sand or gravel where the water is 1 to 3 feet deep usually nearby underwater stumps or snags. After hatching, the young may remain schooled for several weeks before scattering.
They often occupy beds that have been abandoned by other sunfishes. This time of year brings sunfish towards shallow waters (less than 5 feet deep) as they search for places to spawn. This includes the backs of major creeks, downstream end of sandbars, small coves and points off the main lake. Sunfish are attracted to natural shoreline cover (fallen trees, stumps, weed beds, rocks and vegetation) and man-made cover likeboat docks, piers. Males and females circling about the nesting site punctuated by short encounters when the female lies on her side while eggs are extruded and fertilized; two or more females may spawn within the nest of a single male. Hybridization is common between species of sunfish.
Bait-casting, jigging, still fishing are all popular methods. The most common method is a pole fishing using a small piece of worm or a cricket floating under a small float.
Redbreast sunfish frequently concentrate around boulders, logs, aquatic vegetation or tree roots. They take any type of small natural bait, spinners, spoons, plugs, artificial flies and popping bugs. Use a lightweight 4 lbs test line, a thin, small float and small hooks. Redbreast a good fighters and will bite on flies and small spinners, as well as worms, crickets, grasshoppers and small minnows. Fishing from a drifting or slowly motorized boat is the best way to catch redbreasts. They can be caught at night, using a wide variety of lures like poppers and flies and baits like bait fish minnows or killifish, nightcrawlers and worms.
Telescopic fishing pole carbon is the best. Ultra light spinning rod works good. Whether you use spinning, spin-casting, pole fishing, or some other method of redbreast fishing, always use the very light line even for the largest sunfish. Lighter line less visible in the water and provides more sensitivity to detect subtle strikes.