COLUMBUS, Ga. – Any day of fishing is good, but you know what makes it even better? A day you catch a new state record! Joseph Matthew McWhorter of Lanett, AL is the proud holder of the new state record shoal bass. His catch, caught on Dec. 23 on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, weighed 8 lb, 5 oz, and replaces the 1977 record (8 lb, 3 oz), according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“What a way to end 2021, with a new state record shoal bass. Catches like these really showcase the amazing fishing opportunities found in Georgia,” says Scott Robinson, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. “Who will catch the next one? It might be you – but you have to get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia!”
Shoal Bass (Micropterus cataractae), designated as the official state riverine sportfish species, are native to the Chattahoochee and Flint River basins; and introduced in the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers. They have an upper jaw that does not extend beyond the eyes, unlike the largemouth bass, and the dorsal fin is continuous and not deeply notched. They are most like the redeye basses, but do not have any red coloration in the fins or pale margins on the tail. Unlike smallmouth bass they usually have a large dark spot at the base of the tail. The average adult is between 12–24 inches. Shoal bass are usually found around current breaks near flowing water. This can be in the middle of a big shoal, in a deep-water bend of the river with large boulders, or on the bank behind a tree in the water.
Georgia anglers support fisheries conservation! Did you know that your license purchase allows Georgia WRD to continue to do important research, maintain and operate public fishing areas and more? Purchase a Georgia license at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com.
For fishing tips and information, be sure to check out the Angler Resources page at https://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/angler-resources.
Information about state-record fish, including an application and rules, can be found at https://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/recordprogram/rules or in the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook.