Everyone remembers their first fishing trip. Sunny days or moonlit nights out on Lake Okeechobee as you cast your rod hoping to catch Shellcracker is a special time shared with children, parents, and friends. Ron's Guide Service offers half and full day, as well as nighttime trips with the most experienced guides in Florida who know the lake like a dog knows fleas! Our fishing trips were one of the very first services we offered and are proud to have anglers from all over the world come fish with us for over 25 years.
6:00 AM 2:00 PM 9:00 PM
"When is the best time to come?" Is the foremost question Ron's Guide Service is asked by every angler planning a Shellcracker fishing trip on Lake Okeechobee. Ron's Guide Service has been providing fishing services since 1985 and we would honestly have to say that there really isn't a bad time to go fishing on Lake Okeechobee. Shellcracker spawn (March through August), when the fish are bedding, are considered to be better months. The best time to fish is the ten day span before, during, and after the full moon, and during the peak spawn times in March and April.
Nighttime Shellcracker Fishing
Shellcracker are also active at night time during the ten day span before, during, and after the full moon. We offer nighttime Shellcracker fishing during spawn season. With the soundtrack of the nighttime creatures singing in the background, and the moon glistening on the lake, nighttime fishing can be a surreal and exciting experience.
Shellcracker can be found in bodies of water statewide. We offer Shellcracker fishing trips at the following locations:
Alligator Alley/Sawgrass Recreation Park
Stick Marsh/Farm 13
A lake is a big place, it can also be a very empty one if you have a guide who doesn't know where on the lake to take you. Many of our new clients are shocked when we take them to the same lake where they caught nothing with a previous guide service and they wind up catching an abundance of fish with us! We know the lake y'all!
About the Shellcracker
The shellcracker is a deep-bodied sunfish with a relatively small mouth. Color ranges from dark olive green above to almost white on the belly. The sides are usually yellow to green. The spinous dorsal fin, which is anterior to the soft dorsal fin, is normally equipped with 10 spines, although 9 or 11 spines are sometimes observed, and it is broadly connected to the soft dorsal fin. The anal fin has three spines. The species' most distinct characteristic is the red edge on the opercle ("ear") flap of the male (orange on the female). The opercle flap is never greatly elongated as it is in species such as the redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) or the longear sunfish (L. megalotis).
SIZE: Shellcracker grow larger than bluegill, with fish over 1 pound common. State Record: 4.86 lbs. Big Catch: 12 inches or 2.25 lbs.
FOOD VALUE: Excellent
GAME QUALITIES: Aggressive and hard fighters, especially on lighter tackle.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Unlike some other sunfish species, redears rarely approach the surface to take flies or other artificial top baits. They may, however, be readily captured using natural bait such as earthworms and grubs dropped to the bottom.
OTHER NAMES: Shellcracker, Georgia Bream, Cherry Gill, Sunny, Sun Perch
HABITAT: Like other sunfish, they prefer warm, protected bodies of water with little or no current. Redear sunfish relate to the bottom structure of the lake or river they inhabit and thrive in water with an abundance of cover from aquatic vegetation or submerged trees.
Information provided by
We use a variety of vessels depending on party size, fishing style, and preference. For families with kids we recommend our pontoon boat. Experienced anglers will prefer bass boats which hold a maximum of three passengers per boat.
Shellcracker makes for excellent table food. It can be prepared in virtually any way, but the best method is breaded and pan fried.
Your captain has full knowledge of Federal and Local bag limit laws. The current Shellcracker bag limit is 50.
Fishing With Live Bait
Fishing with small worms, grubs, and snails provides for the most successful Shellcracker fishing.
Live bait is available for purchase at the fishing meeting location.
Fishing With Artificial Lures
Artificial lures are included in your fishing trip and can be combined with shiner fishing. If you choose to bring your own artificial lures, the most popular for Shellcracker fishing include small spinners and jigs. Fly fishing is not recommended since Shellcrackers are bottom feeders.
For your safety we only offer artificial lure fishing to parties of two.
Your captain will be able to recommend you some local taxidermists or you may choose your own.
A Florida fishing license is required and can be purchased prior to your trip. Children under 16 years of age are exempt. A non-resident three day freshwater fishing license is available for $17.00 and can be purchased by phone, online, or from any Florida hunting and fishing retail outlet store like Walmart. The fishing license is issued immediately after purchase.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
1 (888) 486-8356
There is a 24 hour Walmart in the town of Okeechobee which sells the fishing license.
2101 South Parrot Ave
Okeechobee, FL 34974
Additional Passengers and Boats
Ron's Guide Service believes it makes no difference whether two people are fishing or three which is why we do not charge for a third passenger on bass boats or a fourth passenger on pontoons. Our bass boats hold three passengers and our pontoon boat can accommodate five passengers. Larger parties will need to reserve additional boats which are available at $250.00 for a half day trip and $350.00 for a full day.
There is no age restriction when it comes to fishing. Most of our young anglers are around six years old.
Ron's Guide Service welcomes all levels of experience. Our fishing trips are perfect for first timers and advanced anglers. Our guides are experienced and patient to ensure you have a memorable fishing trip.
What to Bring
A poncho or raincoat is advisable in order to be prepared for the temperamental Florida weather. Drinking plenty of liquids such as water during your Ron's Guide Service experience is also recommended. Sunscreen is essential anytime you go out into the Florida sun. A hat and sunglasses will also help keep the sun out of your face. If you plan to rent a car or drive while in Florida, bring small bills and coins for Florida's many toll roads. Bring your camera, extra batteries, and memory cards or film. Guide service gratuities are not included so be sure to bring cash. You will also need a cooler if you plan on taking any fish.
What to Wear
When visiting Florida in the warmer months, generally between March and October, pack comfortable, lightweight clothing to help keep you cool during the day. During the cooler season, bring an assortment of short-sleeved and long-sleeved clothing items, as well as a lightweight jacket or two because temperatures often fluctuate from day to day during the winter.
With the exception of beer, no other alcohol is allowed to be consumed on or prior to your fishing trip. If you are unable to come sober, please don't come.