This is Mena’s second lake record catch at Diamond Valley – he also owns claim to the largest crappie caught at the deep, clear water reservoir in Hemet. Mena reported catching this redear sunfish on a nightcrawler.
The previous redear sunfish record has stood since February of 2012 and was held by Jeff Burke. Diamond Valley is perhaps the premier place in Southern California for jumbo redears, as even the previous lake record greatly exceeded any such records in neighboring lakes, including those in San Diego. San Vicente (currently closed for the dam raise project) holds the biggest redears in town with the lake record sitting at 3.7 pounds.
The world record redear sunfish was caught in February of last year at Lake Havasu and weighed an astonishing 5.8 pounds, and broke a 2011 record catch that weighed 5.55 pounds at the same lake.
The redear sunfish at Havasu are thriving due to the invasion of quagga mussels in the lake, which are widespread in bodies of water connected to the Colorado River now. Redears are commonly referred to as “shellcrackers” due to their ability to feed on hard shelled critters, like mussels.
Quagga mussels have not yet been confirmed at Diamond Valley, though its been long speculated that they do exist there.
Many anglers are anxiously awaiting the reopening of San Vicente specifically for the redear sunfish fishery, as the lake was known for producing dinner plate sized panfish in the past. And shortly before it closed, quagga mussels had been found (in 2007) and the big redears already present in San Vicente have likely been feeding well on those mussels the last 8 years. San Vicente could open as soon as this fall, but its much more likely it’ll remain closed until 2016 or even 2017.