The redear sunfish is a large, chunky sunfish species found in the south. They consume large quantities of snails, which has given rise to their alternate name "shellcracker". Their ability to readily utilizae snails as forage gives redears an extra boost to their growth rate - this is one of the larger panfish-style sunfishes, reaching 5 or more pounds in weight. Redears have been widely stocked in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs as they are a very popular food fish. They've also been given the nickname "Government Bream" since they are often the panfish species of choice for stocking by local fish and wildlife departments. Because of this, the "government bream" names came about - people asked the fish and wildlife departments for fish to stock their ponds with, and were given this species. Given human nature, they assumed these were specially-bred "government" fish and the name stuck.
Other Names: shellcracker, Georgia bream, cherry gill, sunny, sun perch, chinquapin, gvernment bream, government improved bream, stumpknocker, G. I. bream, yellow bream, strawberry bream, tupelo bream