Havasu’s World Class Redear Sunfish

Havasu’s World Class Redear Sunfish

Mike Phua’s Day to Remember

California Pro Bass Angler Mike Phua, on the front deck, waits for a Havasu tournament take-off.

California Pro Bass Angler Mike Phua, on the front deck, waits for a Havasu tournament take-off.

It was early spring, and the bass were spawning; sight fishing was in order. Professional Angler Mike Phua found himself practicing for a Lake Havasu WON BASS Pro-Am tournament. Phua had his trolling motor on high as he scanned the bank for bedding bass.

That’s when he came upon a submerged tree loaded with monster fish. Engaging the Power Poles Phua anchored his bass boat about twenty-five feet from the target. Unsure of what species he was viewing Phua picked up a rod rigged with a SPRO Phat Fly in the bluegill pattern.

The SPRO Phat Fly bluegill pattern, a multi-species hair jig, available in multiple colors and two sizes – 1/8th and 1/16th ounce. 1/8th ounce, 2.25” length with a #1 size hook. 1/16th ounce, 2” length with a #2 size hook.

The SPRO Phat Fly bluegill pattern, a multi-species hair jig, available in multiple colors and two sizes – 1/8th and 1/16th ounce. 1/8th ounce, 2.25” length with a #1 size hook. 1/16th ounce, 2” length with a #2 size hook.

A long pitch to the tree and Phua watched one of the fish follow his bait down to the bottom suspending nose down over his lure. “A single shake and the predator instantly thumped my bait.” Shocked, Phua started reeling, and the fish was on! Phua was hoping it was a big largemouth bass, but he soon realized that this fish wasn’t fighting like a bass.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Redear Sunfish/Lepomis microlophus Illustration by Timothy Knepp

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Redear Sunfish/Lepomis microlophus Illustration by Timothy Knepp

The quarry came to the boat quickly, and once Phua saw the fish up close, he couldn’t believe his eyes. “Holy Cow, that’s a giant Redear!” Once in the boat, the behemoth was quickly weighed, five-pounds twelve-ounces, wow! At the time of the catch, this Redear Sunfish was a possible World Record.

Faced with a difficult decision, Phua decided against taking his catch in immediately for an official weight. “I still had work to accomplish preparing for the upcoming tournament.” It was also Spring Break which meant the parking lot at the launch ramp was full. If he lost his ability to park again, it would result in a twenty-mile drive to the next nearest available launch ramp.

Over 25-million people live within a 5-hour drive of Lake Havasu City making the lake a popular spring break destination.

Over 25-million people live within a 5-hour drive of Lake Havasu City making the lake a popular spring break destination.

Phua finished his practice and then headed in. For over eight hours the giant Redear stayed in the boat’s live well before Phua took it to a certified scale. After an extended period since the catch, the Sunfish officially weighed five-pounds nine-ounces.

Mike Phua holding his World-Class Redear Catch!

Mike Phua holding his World-Class Redear Catch!

“The amazing part about this situation was after I landed the Redear, I eased my boat up to that tree. There I observed about ten Redear in the same weight class swim away; a few were even bigger than my catch! One appeared to be much heavier than six-pounds!” The current world-record Redear Sunfish, a Havasu catch, is 5.78 pounds.

 “Definitely a day to remember,” – says Phua. By the way, Mike Phua finished in sixth place in the tournament.

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