Re: Bream? Shell Cracker?

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Posted by Kerry Grissett on May 15, 2005 at 00:57:42:

In Reply to: Re: Bream? Shell Cracker? posted by Bo on May 14, 2005 at 10:51:18:

You are correct sir! (My best Ed McMahon impression)

Bream refers to all of the sunfish family, generically. Shellcracker or "shellcrappie" as I have heard some locals call them, are a specific species of "bream". I don't know why some folks call them "shellcrappie" with the exception of pure ignorance.

Below is a cut and paste from the Iowa DNR web site:

Begin quoted material:

Redear Sunfish

Lepomis microlophus

Other names - shellcracker, chinquapin, stumpknocker, yellow
bream, G.I. bream, strawberry bream, Texas-improved bream,
tupelo bream

Redear sunfish are native from North Carolina to Florida, west
into Texas, southern Missouri and Ohio. They are a rather
recently introduced sunfish in Iowa waters. It was first propagated
and stocked into the man-made recreational lakes in the early
1960`s. It is now commonly to occasionally found in the southern
two-thirds of the state mostly in the lakes that are steep-sided.
Lately it has been recorded in the interior streams, and the origin
of these specimens is thought to be man-made lakes or ponds
that overflow during periods of high runoff. It is very rare in the
Missouri River and oxbows, as well as the Mississippi River.

The fish is a deep, slab-sided sunfish with a small mouth quite
similar in appearance to bluegill and pumpkinseed. The upper jaw
does not reach past the front of the eye when the mouth is
closed. The dorsal fin has 10 spines and is connected to the soft
dorsal fin without the presence of a notch. The pectoral fins are
pointed and long. The earflap is rounded and has a thin and
flexible margin. The dorsal fin is without spots, and the sides of
the head do not have bluish lines as in pumpkinseed. The back
and sides are golden or light olive green, usually marked by
several dark vertical bars. But these disappear in large fish. The
ear flap has a whitish border and has a prominent red or orange
spot in adults, hence the name redear. The fins are greenish
without spots.

Young redear feed exclusively upon zooplankton, but as they
approach adulthood they consume more aquatic insect larvae,
snails and cladocerans. Snails are a major food item in adults,
which they crush with pharyngeal teeth, giving rise to the
vernacular name shellcracker. In some small ponds, redear
practically eliminate snails.

Redear spawn in late May and June when the water
temperatures are 68 to 75 degrees F. The males build a nest,
usually grouped into colonies near submerged vegetation. Males
usually emit a "popping" sound when courting females. Females
have an average of about 20,000 eggs, but as with other sunfish
it is unlikely that a female deposits all of her eggs in one nest.
The eggs hatch in 6 to 10 days, and the fry remain in the nest
guarded by the male. Redear growth is more rapid than bluegill.
They reach up to 2 inches in their first year, 4 inches the second,
6 in the third and 7 inches in the fourth year. Most redear mature
in the second year of life. The Iowa record redear sunfish weighed
1 pound, 9 ounces, and was caught in Central Lake in Jones

*Mayhew, J. (editor). 1987. Iowa Fish and Fishing. Iowa
Department of Natural Resources, Des Moines, Iowa. 323 pp.

End quoted material.

Good luck and good fishin'

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