A pending world record, Arizona style, was yanked out of Lake Havasu on Sunday. Hector Brito's redear sunfish weighed 5.80 pounds. A steroid shellcracker, it was.
If you’ve never seen a 6-pound panfish, it’s time to head to Havasu, where the redear sunfish are likely benefitting from the invasive quagga mussels as a food source.
Brito (right) caught the redear sunfish at 11:30 a.m. and brought it to Bass Tackle Master in beautiful Lake Havasu City, where John Galbraith weighed it at 5.80 pounds on an Arizona Game and Fish-certified scale. It was 17 inches long. Brito caught the plump panfish by the chalk cliffs with a dropshot rig that included a No. 8 Aberdeen gold hook and a nightcrawler.
The record awaits certification by the International Game Fish Association.
The previous record, held by Bob Lawler, was 5.55 pounds in 2011. Redear sunfish have grown to trophy size in Lake Havasu. Redear sunfish in the 2-pound range and larger are regularly caught at this 19,300-acre impoundment on the Colorado River, formed by Parker Dam. Bluegill and redear can be caught around structure such as docks, vegetation, or artificial structure using mealworms, nightcrawlers, or small crappie jigs.
Yeah, it’s a pending world record, but with the unprecedented sizes of redear that have been caught at Havasu, look for an even bigger one to be caught within the next couple of years, or even months -- redear bite better in May and June. Might as well make it your record.
“(Brito) said he thought it was a catfish,” Galbraith said. “I don’t know what the genetic potential is for redear. But this record fish was not even a spawning fish. There’s some out there that are in the mid-6 (pound range) easy.”
Galbraith said the redears have been getting exceptionally large during the past four years the lake has been infested with the invasive quagga mussels. (Be sure to clean, drain and dry your boat before leaving Havasu or any AIS-affected lake – it’s the law.)
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Home of the world famous London Bridge, Lake Havasu is a popular year round freshwater fishing destination. Located along the Arizona - California borders, Lake Havasu is 45 miles long with an average lake depth of 30 feet. Whether you're fishing from the shore or a boat, Lake Havasu offers great fishing to both type of anglers. Lake Havasu shore fisherman can take advantage of the many free public access fishing docks including: Site Six, Havasu Springs, Take-Off Point, and Mesquite Cove while boaters can take advantage of free boat launch locations. Lake Havasu offers anglers the choice of fishing for:
Striper or Striped Bass
Striped Bass can be caught on the surface with topwater lures or at the bottom with cut baits or jigs. Look for flocks of birds feeding on the surface and striper are usually under the birds feeding on shad. Otherwise, find a good point and toss out an anchovy while chumming a few also.
Hot Spots: Site Six, Havasu Springs, Winsor Basin, Main Channel
Hot Lures & Baits: Topwater Lures, Shad Imitations, Anchovies, Chicken Liver
Largemouth Bass can be caught all over the lake with topwater lures in the morning and evenings and drop-shotting plastics in the day. Look for any type of structure that might be holding fish. Fish a medium action rod with 6-8 lb. test.
Hot Spots: Main lake points, submerged brush or weed beds, boat docks
Hot Lures: Shad imitations, Soft Plastics, Crankbaits, Swimbaits, Jigs
Smallmouth Bass can be caught fishing rocky points and shorelines using white jigs, crankbaits, plastics or live shad. Lake Havasu has a good population of smallmouth bass that are very healthy. Start out fishing rocky points and shorelines with lipless crankbaits and small jigs. Later in the morning when the fish move deeper try drop-shtting or split-shotting plastics.
Hot Spots: Parker Strip, Rocky Points, Canyon Areas
Hot Lures: Jigs, Shad imitations, Lipless Crankbaits, Plastics, Crappie jigs
Catfish (Channel, Flathead)
Catfish can be caught all over the lake by dropping down cut-baits or nightcrawlers. Catfish can be caught anytime of day but fishing is more productive if done at night.
Hot Spots: Parker Dam, Bill Williams River Arm, Coves, Main Channel
Hot Baits: Anchovies, Stink Bait, and Nightcrawlers
Panfish (Crappie, Sunfish, Bluegill)
Panfish can be caught all over the lake in the shallows and around the docks. Try using a bobber with an 18 inch leader and a small hook with mealworm or piece of nightcrawler. Fishing crappie jigs close to boat docks is also very productive.
Hot Spots: Docks, Reeds, Rocky Areas, Cattails, Structure, Shallows.
Hot Baits: Mealworms, Nightcrawlers, Crappie Jigs, small trout spinning lures.