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Augie #527776 11/19/20 02:24 PM
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Cool, because I was impressed with that fish. Very remarkable specimen indeed. Is this one you feed trained this year?

Last edited by jpsdad; 11/19/20 02:25 PM.

Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


jpsdad #527779 11/19/20 03:51 PM
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I'd like to think that fish was from the first batch of RES that I stocked as fingerlings late June of '19, so pellet trained July/Aug of '19, then released back into the pond.

Spring of '20 I started trapping and caging RES in late spring. Those would have been 2019 recruits. Every RES I trapped went into the cage.
Every 4 weeks or so I pulled the cage, caught out the fish that had obviously taken well to pellets and released them back into the pond.
The smaller fish stayed in the cage for more training.

I did that from mid-May until mid-September. When I pulled the cage for the last time I sent the runts to the bait pond and the pellet eaters went back into the cow pond.

I suppose that it's possible this fish could have come from the first batch that was pellet trained this year, but I'm thinking probably not.
Either way, it is a nice fish, and it's not the biggest one I've seen. It is the biggest one that I've caught.

I'm looking forward to what next year brings. I have a feeling I'll be seeing RES that are 12"+ by the end of the summer.

Augie #527781 11/19/20 03:56 PM
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Augie - you have this RES pellet training thing figured out. Be real proud of that porker sized RES. I would like to see you write an article for PBoss magazine about your adventures of training and growing your style of pellet trained and raised RES; Lusk will help you get that done. Just contact him. It will be a good winter project for you two. I am going to forward this thread to him.


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Augie #527790 11/19/20 08:47 PM
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12" is certainly possible next year. They'll exceed 2lbs probably.

What did you catch that RES on?

How do you normally fish for them and how IYO do they bite relative to BG?

I see a lot of advantages to them. Up to now almost all I have caught have been on bait very close to bottom in cold weather. The coldest day of winter about 3 years ago didn't keep them from biting. Trying to get through the BG to them is a challenge in warm weather. I did happen to catch one a popper on an overcast day and it was a dandy. As long as the one in your photo ... though I am sure much older and definitely thinner but still robust. Was a very pleasant surprise when I finally was able to see what it was. I just sat there admiring it before letting it swim away. Do you ever fly fish for them?

Sorry about all the questions but I am giving some serious thought to RES and no BG when I finally dive into pond ownership.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


Augie #527804 11/20/20 10:18 AM
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Definitely interested in writing a story about this. Augie, pm me if interested.

Cody Note - Look for a Pond Boss magazine very good article about Augie's RES adventures in an upcoming PB issue.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 11/21/20 11:03 AM.

Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...
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jpsdad #527811 11/20/20 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jpsdad
What did you catch that RES on?

How do you normally fish for them and how IYO do they bite relative to BG?

I caught this one on a small dart head jig with a black soft plastic stick thing about 3/4" long. I've caught quite a few on a bead-head trout fly.
Earthworms/nightcrawlers work pretty good too.

I just drop the jig into the water off the edge of the dock, let it hit bottom, pick it up and wiggle it around real slow.
They usually smack it with a purpose. They will swallow a live worm really fast so I don't use those much in my pond.
In other waters, if I'm catching to keep, a worm under a slip float is hard to beat.
BG seem to be a bit more aggressive than RES. If they're schooled up together you'll usually have to catch a bunch of BG to catch a few RES.
That could be simply because BG tend to vastly outnumber RES in waters where they coexist.

I haven't tried the fly rod on them yet, but I do intend to give that a shot in the future.

Augie #536896 06/24/21 07:39 AM
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Two days shy of two years since this fish was stocked.

Species Length Weight Standard W Relative W
RES 10.00 0.96 0.72 132.92%

I think I'm on the right track.

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Augie #536899 06/24/21 09:32 AM
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Nice work !!! They should be able to grow as well as BG (similar size ability).
















Augie #536915 06/24/21 02:35 PM
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Great work Augie! That is the same growth that we are seeing on BG that have been raised on Optimal, except the BG are a hair shorter but weigh the same because they are taller.


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Augie #536941 06/25/21 06:08 AM
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Wow that is a beautiful fish!

Augie #537404 07/06/21 11:15 AM
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Anecdotal information follows...

I've been trapping and caging a few baby RES this summer. The weather in May was cold and nasty, which delayed startup this time.
Weather in June was absolutely stupid. Went from hot and dry to monsoon. 17.5" measured rainfall here over 11 days. Anyway...

The RES I've been trapping are running 2.5"-3.5" size on average, so assumption is they are from last summer's hatch. Knowing how
difficult it is getting them started on pellets I decided to try something new with the first batch this summer. I learned last summer that new
additions would get the hang of eating pellets quicker if there were already a few pellet eaters in the cage.

So... when I caged the first half a dozen RES this time I threw one 3" BG in the cage with them. I mixed up a batch of shredded
BG/nightcrawler/Optimal #3 and started them on that. I also have been making a point of tossing the small round Jr. pellets into the cage
when I feed the pond. I do that before I feed the shred fish mixture. This batch of RES has acclimated to pellets quicker than any I've
trained previously. Three weeks in there is a good number of them that will take dry Jr. pellets at any time of the day. Cloudy or sunny
doesn't much matter. When I toss pellets into the cage they attack them with vigor. Are all of the RES in the cage eating dry Jr. pellets?
Definitely not. They haven't all been in there for the same length of time, so I continue to feed a portion of shred mix at least every 2nd day.

I think I've got two factors working that help to explain this behavior. One, once caged with that aggressive little BG, the RES observed the
BG feeding on pellets and the old monkey see, monkey do game was on. Two, these RES have been swimming in a pond that now holds
several generations of pellet trained fish, and gets pellets at least twice a day. I believe that half, if not more, of the RES in the cage had
learned to eat pellets in the pond prior to being trapped and caged. I make a mental note of the condition of each fish that goes into the cage.
Roughly half of the RES that I trap look like a typical young sunfish - not fat, not skinny, just young. The other half have fat little bellies and
are noticeably thicker across their backs than your garden variety YoY sunfish.

In another week or two I'll pull the cage and bucket the fish for inspection. The fish that have buddha bellies will be released into the pond.
The rest of them will go back into the cage for further training. This cycle will repeat several times before cool weather arrives and they all
are released into the pond for the winter.

Augie #537406 07/06/21 12:09 PM
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I ran a seine net Saturday evening, lots of YOY RES right around 3/4", got 50 plus on one pass. My RES were on beds late May/early June.



Augie #537407 07/06/21 12:24 PM
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awesome read... My pond is just getting going and this gives me something to grow towards.

Shorty #537408 07/06/21 12:56 PM
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Very nice. I expect to see YOY showing up in the traps by the end of July. I caught a few of those last year and caged them up for training,
but it didn't go too well. They can't compete with the bigger fish in the cage. The 3"-4" fish pick on the little guys unmercifully. I'd say less
than half of the YOY that I caged survived the experience. This time I'll build another 2'x2' round cage and put the small fry in that.

Augie #537988 07/21/21 02:26 PM
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Another bit of anecdotal information regarding the current crop of caged RES...

A week ago I dispatched a nuisance racoon. After I finished butchering the varmint I pulled the liver and pancreas out of the offal
and chopped it up into itty-bitty pieces with a filet knife. Mixed it up with ~1 cup Optimal Starter #3.

You would think the stuff is caviar. I toss the small round pellets from Optimal Jr. -dry- into the cage until they stop taking them. I've
found that they will eat much more of it if I toss one or two at a time rather than 20 or 30. After they've eaten their fill of those I drop
in bits of the coon liver, which worked to very nicely hydrate the Starter #3 pellets, one piece at time. They fight over it. Observed
rejection of the pellets is virtually zero.

The first of this batch to be caged have been in there for about a month now. Earlier today I pulled the cage to get a visual on how
they are doing. The best of them look like little footballs. Some of them look like they haven't eaten in weeks. This is consistent
with my previous observations.

I think it's time that I built another cage so that I can separate the aggressive feeders from those that are on the timid side. I want
to find out if the wallflowers will bloom after the bullies are moved out.

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Augie #537992 07/21/21 03:03 PM
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A great experiment !
















Augie #538001 07/21/21 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Augie
The first of this batch to be caged have been in there for about a month now. Earlier today I pulled the cage to get a visual on how
they are doing. The best of them look like little footballs. Some of them look like they haven't eaten in weeks. This is consistent
with my previous observations.

I think it's time that I built another cage so that I can separate the aggressive feeders from those that are on the timid side. I want
to find out if the wallflowers will bloom after the bullies are moved out.

RES have this weird dominancy hierarchy, that dynamic will definitely change when you separate them out.



Shorty #538027 07/22/21 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Shorty
RES have this weird dominancy hierarchy, that dynamic will definitely change when you separate them out.

All of the common sunfish (including the basses) have this behavior trait. BG have the most strange species history traits of all the sunfish. If interested see the book on BG and/or look at the Bryan D Neff. articles.

Last edited by ewest; 07/22/21 10:20 AM.















Shorty #539689 09/10/21 01:57 PM
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Shorty, your prediction was 100% accurate.

I moved the largest six RES to a different cage. It took three or four days for the fish in both cages to get over the ruckus.

Once they came out of their funk, fish that had been middling feeders prior to removal of the most aggressive six, immediately
filled the power vacuum that was created.

The exercise is just about finished for this year. We're taking a couple weeks vacation starting next week and won't be around
to feed, so they will all be set free on Tuesday.

Side note - yesterday evening I spent some time tossing the Wehebe to catch some BG to use for catfish bait this weekend.

1st toss I came out with quite a nice RES. Phone was in the truck, so no pic, but I got no reason to make it up.

Species Length Weight Standard W Relative W
RES 10.50 1.18 0.84 140.48%

The RES that I've done weights and measures on this summer have ranged from 125%-180% relative weight.

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Augie #539714 09/11/21 11:09 AM
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Sounds like we need a new fish acronym for Augie's pond.

BFRES

(Big Fat Red Ear Sunfish)

Augie #540260 10/03/21 10:01 AM
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BFRES I think so. grin

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

[Linked Image from hosting.photobucket.com]

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Augie #540266 10/03/21 10:22 AM
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Of course that fish was a "hook swallower", it looks like he/she swallowed everything that fit into the mouth gape!

Hopefully there are plenty of similar siblings still in your pond.

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This one is knocking on 12" and is back in the pond. The RES that swallowed the hook was ~8.5".

I expect that this fish is from the first batch that were stocked and pellet trained summer of '19.
There could be 20-25 close to this size in the pond, and as many as 50 in the 7.5"-9" size that were pellet trained summer of '20.

Getting these fish to this size early in the life of the pond wasn't terribly difficult. The challenge to come will be figuring out how
many, and of what size, to harvest. I'm already removing all <9" BG, and I'd like to think that the HSB are assisting with that task.

This old thread discusses carrying capacity, and while there's some debate over the numbers, 500lb/ac seems to be a reasonable
target for pond that is fed and aerated.

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=201295&page=1

At 1/3ac, the target for my pond would be 167lbs. For the sake of discussion, let's say my 20 HSB are averaging 3lbs, 24 SMB at 1lb,
25 RES at 1.5lb, 50 RES at 0.5lb, 30 YP at 2lb, and 50 YP at 1lb.

That's 256.5lb, or 769.5lb/ac, and it doesn't consider the utterly unguessable number of BG, smaller RES, smaller YP, GSH, GAM, etc.,
but it wouldn't seem unreasonable to me for those fish to add another 100lbs to the total.

So it would seem that I may be pushing my luck on standing weight, and need to carefully consider harvest quotas for next season.
Maybe something like this...
5 HSB
25 YP 8"-12"
10 RES >10"
every BG captured that's <9"
That would amount to ~55lbs of HSB/YP/RES, and assuming the number of BG captured is similar to what I caught this season,
probably another 50lbs-ish there.

If I'm off base with my thinking I'd appreciate it if someone would straighten me out.

Augie #540324 10/04/21 11:39 AM
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I think your thinking is correct, and it might be a little light. Remember fish grow the best when they have room to grow. If pushing the limits, I would make sure you have testing equipment to monitor ammonia/nitrite in the pond plus O2 levels when hot weather arrives. Test O2 levels before sunup when water temps are in the 80's and higher..


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
Augie #540329 10/04/21 03:54 PM
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Augie,

What esshup said. I agree with both of you. I would only add that winter (though maybe not so much at your location) can enforce the limits of carrying capacity. Carrying capacity isn't always limited by food. IOW there may be plenty of food to bring the standing weight above the carrying capacity for winter. Under such conditions, there will be winter mortality (which can go entirely unnoticed) that pares the standing weight to the most limiting condition. If you suspect this may be so in your pond ... I would encourage you to do this. Consider harvesting the goal weight from now until the winter begins to ice for extended periods. If the condition prevails that winter is most limiting, if you delay harvest until spring ... you would be paring an already pruned population of fish. Just something to give some thought to.


Common sense is not so common - Voltaire

It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so - Will Rogers


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