John's Journal...

The South's Best Shellcracker Holes

Mississippi – Tippah County Lake

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I like to catch plenty of fish that fight hard, test my tackle and my anglingClick to enlarge skills and taste delicious when I eat them. These characteristics describe the shellcracker (redear sunfish) with its nicknames of stumpknocker and yellow bream. The South homes some of the biggest shellcrackers, so named due to the grinding teeth in their throats that crush snails, shells and mollusks, in the nation.

According to Larry Pugh, district biologist for Mississippi’s Wildlife, Fisheries and Park, Tippah County Lake near Ripley is the best shellcracker lake in the State of Mississippi. “In 1991, Ripley produced the state record redear that weighed 3.33 pounds, and even though it’s only 167 acres, it consistently produces more big redears than any other lake in the state,” Pugh says. Tippah County Lake is one of the south’s best redears lakes because it’s a year-round lake, and it’s fertilized regularly. Big redears are caught consistently all year long. In October 2006, a 2.5-pound redear was taken by fiClick to enlargeshing underwater drop-offs and ledges in the lake. Click to enlarge

“I’m convinced that we had a new state record redear caught out of Tippah County Lake two years ago, but the angler who caught the fish didn’t have it officially weighed,” Pugh explains. “However, I’ve got a picture of it, and there’s no doubt in my mind that this redear would have weighed well over 3 pounds.” If you’re looking for big shellcrackers year round, head for Tippah County Lake near Ripley, Mississippi.

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Tomorrow: Caney Lake


Check back each day this week for more about "The South's Best Shellcracker Holes"

Day 1: Shellcrackers at Santee Cooper
Day 2: Lake Tarpon and Lake Guntersville Shellcrackers
Day 3: Mississippi – Tippah County Lake
Day 4: Louisiana – Caney Lake
Day 5: Georgia – Lake Seminole and World-Record Shellcrackers Caught



Entry 401, Day 3