Sunfish are probably the most universally popular fish fished in the world. They are some of the easiest to catch for youngsters or a great challenge for experienced anglers to catch the big ones. And to top it all off there isn’t much that beats the sweet taste of sunfish.
Sunfish can be referred to as crappies, black bass, blue gill and pumpkinseeds. Sunfish are usually crossbred with other fish to make them worth catching. Without this true sunfish are usually of no interest to anglers because they are just too small.
In the spring is when sunfish begin spawning. It’s usually in water temperatures between upper 60s to low 70s. Nests are usually built very close together forming a breeding colony. The males usually build on a sand or gravel bottom in depths from 6 inches to 3 feet. The female will deposit more than 200 000 eggs and then she will abandon the nest. The male will guard the eggs and then later the fry. He is very aggressive, attacking anything that comes near the nest including fisherman’s bait.
Sunfish can spawn many times through out the summer and this usually takes place during a full moon. Larval, adult insects, crustaceans, mollusks and sometimes small fish build the diet of the sunfish. Sunfish rely heavily on their sight and smell to find their meals.
Sunfish over populate their habitats because they produce so many young. While fishing pressure is usually high the fish remain small because of the high competition for food.
The world record blue gill was caught in Ketona Lake, Alabama, in 1950. The fish weighed 4 pounds 12 ounces.
The world record Redear was caught in Diversion Canal, South Carolina in 1998. The fish weighed 5 pounds 7 ounces.
The world record Pumpkinseed was caught in Oswego Pond, New York in 1985. The fish weighed 1 pound 6 ounces.
Overall the sunfish is just an all round fun fish to catch. You can be sure that if you know where they are you won’t have a problem catching them. They can turn a slow fishing day into a very successful and fun day.
Just remember that a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.