Game Fishing > Sunfish Family, Centrarchidae > Red-breast Sunfish

Red-breast Sunfish

Red-breast SunfishThis handsome sunfish was the first of its family to receive the recognition of a naturalist, being described by Linnoeus in 1758. He named it auritus, or "eared," from its conspicuous ear­flap. His specimen was credited to Philadelphia, and was, presumably, from some neighboring water.

It is a fish of the Atlantic slope, with a range extending from Maine to Florida, and is also found in Louisiana. It is very abundant in the South Atlantic states.

Its form is similar to the long-eared sunfish, but with a more prominent snout and a depression in front of the eye. Its ear-flap is as long but not so broad; its color olive or bluish above; sides bluish with reddish spots; breast and belly orange or red; blue stripes on the front of the head. The southern form has a dusky blotch on the last rays of the dorsal fin, which is lacking in those of northern waters.

Its habits are similar to those of the other sun­fishes proper, as to food, spawning, etc. It grows to a length of from eight to ten inches. It is a favorite food- and game-fish in the South, where it is known as red-breast bream and red-bellied perch. The same remarks as to angling mentioned under the head of warmouth perch will apply to this fish as well.

My angling career really began with the capture of "silversides" with a paste of bread crumbs, but was inaugurated with taking this "sunny" and the "punkin-seed" on the artificial fly. An old English gamekeeper, in the employ of our family as gardener and hostler, taught me to tie a fly and cast it with a willow wand when but five years of age.

At the feet of that Gamaliel in corduroy I imbibed a love of angling that has constantly grown with the lapse of years. But increased knowledge of fishes and a wider experience in angling have not lessened my affection for my first love - the "sunny." This acknowledgment is due one of the humblest and least important, but also one of the prettiest species of the finny tribe.