July 23, 2024

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Georgia Record Fish Guide: Complete Guide

Reading Time: 10 minutes

From quiet mountain streams to exciting saltwater marshes, and beyond, Georgia promises a fishing adventure to remember. You can cast a line without the crowds or get in on the thrill of the Atlantic Ocean in bustling seafront towns. And Georgia’s fish records stand as a testament to the excellent catches possible in these impressive waters.

The welcome is as warm as the climate – as you’d expect in the south. And every cast here has the potential for a record-breaking catch.

This guide will delve into the top Georgia fish records, highlighting legendary catches and the anglers behind them. Whether you’re an experienced professional or a novice angler, these stories hope to inspire you and guide you toward your own record-setting journey. Get ready to explore the best fishing in the Peach State!

Biggest Fish Caught in Georgia by Species

Navigating Georgia’s Atlantic currents, Black Drum and King Mackerel are just the beginning of the story here. Redfish and Tarpon test the skills of even the most seasoned anglers, while Cobia and Red Snapper offer incredible fights along deepwater reefs.

Freshwater enthusiasts will find Walleye in Georgia’s lakes, adding variety to the fishing experience. And for those aiming to break a record, the opportunities to catch a colossal Striped Bass or a deep-sea Black Seabass ensure that Georgia is a good spot to make history.

To learn the details of each record-setting catch, click the links below. We’ve arranged them alphabetically to showcase the angling accomplishments across the state.

Black Drum

  • Georgia state record: 92 lbs in Cumberland Sound in 2010
A young man smiles with his eyes closed as he holds a sizeable Black Drum aboard a fishing charter in Georgia
Photo courtesy of Full Send Fishing LLC

At the mouth of the St. Marys River, the Cumberland Sound hosts plenty of impressive species. Black Drum is one such formidable opponent for anglers seeking a significant catch. Known for their powerful fights and distinctive drumming sounds, these fish are particularly abundant around the jetties where the river meets the ocean.

John Henry Thomas, Jr. set the Georgia state record for Black Drum on April 3, 2010, with a catch that weighed in at 92 pounds and measured 54 inches. Using dead shrimp as bait from his private boat, Thomas’s fishing expertise was proven at the aforementioned jetties. His record catch, verified at Wayne Broxton’s weigh station, stands as a challenge to all who fish these waters.

With the record lasting over a decade already, we think it’s time someone broke it! Are you ready to tackle the challenge? Cumberland Sound’s jetties could be where your fishing tale takes a turn into history. Gear up, head out, and maybe you’ll be the next angler to feature on this list.

Black Seabass

  • Georgia state record: 5 lbs, 12 oz at Navy Tower R2 in 1998
A man in sunglasses stands on a center console fishing boat on a cloudy day, holding a jet black Black Seabass
Photo courtesy of Full Send Fishing LLC

Navy Tower R2 is a popular deep sea fishing spot in Georgia. It was also the stage for Willie J. Oakman‘s remarkable catch on March 26, 1998. Oakman was fishing aboard a charter operated by Captain Steve Amick when he reeled in a Black Seabass that tipped the scales at an impressive 5 pounds and 12 ounces. The fish was weighed and verified at Galles Seafood in Augusta, securing its place in Georgia’s fish records.

Known for their fight and delicious taste, Black Seabass are a favorite target for both recreational and seasoned anglers. They thrive around structured environments like reefs and wrecks, and typically range in size from 1 to 3 pounds. That makes Oakman’s catch particularly impressive!

With the right technique, you’re sure to land a Black Seabass in these waters. But hooking a trophy fish? You’ll need a little bit of luck, too! Why not charter a course for adventure and see if you can break the current record?

Blue Catfish

  • Georgia state record: 110 lbs, 6 oz in the Chattahoochee River in 2020
An angler in a beanie and sunglasses standing on a boat on a lake and holding a big Blue Catfish with the waters and shoreline forests visible behind him
Photo courtesy of Nautical Adventures

On a crisp October day in 2020, Tim Trone from Havana, FL, etched his name into Georgia’s fishing history with a record-breaking catch on the Chattahoochee River. Casting his line in the upper reaches of Lake Eufaula, Trone reeled in a Blue Catfish that tipped the scales at an awe-inspiring 110 pounds and 6 ounces.

This Blue Catfish wasn’t just massive in weight, it also measured a whopping 58 inches with a 42″ girth. This catch shattered the previous state record by over 17 pounds, setting a new benchmark for anglers targeting the mighty Blue Catfish in Georgia.

Catfish usually hang out in the fast-flowing sections of large rivers in Georgia. With their silvery blue coloration, humped back, and whiskered barbels, these giants react well to baits like cut bream – Trone’s choice on that record-setting day. While the average Blue Cat usually weighs between 1 and 20 pounds, the exceptional size of Trone’s catch highlights the extraordinary potential lurking beneath the river’s surface.


  • Georgia state record: 88 lbs, 12 oz on Tybee Island in 1985
A man in sunglasses and a baseball cap sits on the side of a fishing charter on a cloudy day while holding a large Cobia
Photo courtesy of Doubledown-Charters

On May 12, 1985, a remarkable fishing feat occurred off the coast of Tybee Island, as Jeffrey A. Clark set a longstanding state record. He skillfully landed a Cobia weighing 88 pounds and 12 ounces at Artificial Reef A, 7 miles southeast of the island. Aboard his boat, the “Osprey,” he used a live eel as bait to attract the strong and fast fish.

You can recognize Cobia by their sleek bodies and broad heads. They’re a prized catch among sport fishermen due to their fighting ability and the quality of their meat. Target them near structures like reefs, as this is where Cobia hunt smaller fish.

The average catches typically range from 25 to 50 pounds, so Clark’s catch is an extraordinary example of what dedicated anglers might encounter in Georgia. Hit up the reefs offshore from the Georgian coast and who knows how big your catch will be!

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

  • Georgia state record: 75 lbs, 12 oz in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary in 2004
An elderly man in a baseball cap smiles as he holds a potential record King Mackerel fish aboard a Georgia fishing charter
Photo courtesy of Big Fish Charters

Back in 2004, Joe H. Bell hit the jackpot at Gray’s Reef, landing a Kingfish that tipped the scales at 75 pounds and 12 ounces. It was a typical sunny day aboard “Playin’ to Win,” where using a live greeny as bait turned out to be the right choice. This fish was caught during the peak of the King Mackerel migration, when these fish are most active and abundant around the reef.

Known for their sharp teeth and lightning-fast speed, King Mackerel are a thrilling challenge for any angler. They’re usually found in the 20-40-pound range in coastal waters, which makes Bell’s catch all the more impressive. Successful anglers often opt for trolling, relying on live bait or shiny lures to mimic the small fish Mackerel prey on.

If you’re aiming for a big catch, consider timing your trip to match the Kingfish migration. But don’t forget some sturdy gear! Gray’s Reef offers some of the best opportunities for sport fishing, so why not plan a visit? You might just catch a king-sized Mackerel to give Bell a run for his money!


  • Georgia state record: 47 lbs, 7 oz at Artificial Reef KC in 1986
A man in a baseball cap smiles as he struggles to hold his potential record-breaking Redfish fish aboard a fishing charter in Georgia
Photo courtesy of Island Catch Charters

Richard Price made a name for himself in the Georgia fishing community in November 1986 by landing a record-setting Redfish at Artificial Reef KC. Onboard Capt. Judy Helmey’s “Miss Judy II,” Price caught a Redfish weighing 47 pounds, 7 ounces using cut bait. This remarkable catch has stood as the Georgia Redfish record for decades now.

Reds are revered for their stamina and the fight they put up once hooked. They typically live around reefs and estuaries, and range significantly smaller than Price’s catch (averaging between 5 and 15 pounds). Anglers targeting these robust fish often rely on cut bait or live bait to attract their quarry, especially around structure where Redfish feed.

Holding onto a record for almost four decades is no small feat, and it challenges every angler who visits Georgia’s coastal waters to aim for a new milestone. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a casual fisher, consider setting sail from where Price left his mark!

Red Snapper

  • Georgia state record: 37 lbs, 8 oz on Savannah Snapper Banks in 1988
A man in a baseball cap and sunglasses poses with a large Red Snapper aboard a fishing charter on calm waters out of Georgia
Photo courtesy of Rainbreak Charters

Red Snapper needs no introduction to deep-sea fishing enthusiasts – and they all know about Georgia’s reputation for hosting this prized fish. Renowned for their striking red scales, impressive fights, and delectable taste, Snapper are so sought-after that anglers from all over the world flock to Georgia for a shot at landing one.

They usually patrol the depths around reefs and shipwrecks, challenging anglers with their robust nature. Red Snapper in this region usually weigh between 5 and 15 pounds, making any larger catch quite an achievement. Bill Shearing Jr.’s catch at over double that is, therefore, quite something!

A Savannah, GA, local, Shearing etched his name into the state’s fishing lore on September 25, 1988. Navigating the Savannah Snapper Banks aboard his Sporting Ventures boat, Shearing was bottom fishing with a minnow when he landed the record Red Snapper. The 37 lb, 8 oz Snapper was verified at Wilmington Island Seafood on certified scales and is still the largest Red Snapper caught in the state.

Striped Bass

  • Georgia state record: 63 lbs in 1967 and 2009
Two men on a fishing boat - one standing and the other one sitting - holding three large Striped Bass between them on a lake on a day with sunny intervals
Photo courtesy of Extreme Stripers Guide Service

Georgia’s Striped Bass records tell a tale of two remarkable catches, each tipping the scales at exactly 63 pounds. Any fish this big is worthy of a mention but these record Striped Bass are even more impressive, considering they usually average between 10 and 30 pounds. Georgia can, therefore, really boast of being home to some incredible Striper fishing opportunities!

The first record was set by Kelly A. Ward on May 30, 1967, along the flows of the Oconee River. This historic catch set a benchmark for anglers in the region, showing the potential lurking in Georgia’s rivers.

Fast forward to April 3, 2009, and history repeated itself with Terry McConnell‘s catch on Richard B. Russell Lake. Interestingly, McConnell’s fish initially weighed in at 63 pounds and a quarter. However, due to scale limitations that didn’t measure in one-ounce increments, it was officially recorded at 63 pounds, tying Ward’s longstanding record. This shows there are bigger species out there ready to help you break the Georgia fish record!


  • Georgia state record: 161 lbs at Marker R218 in 1995
A woman kneeling on the front of a bay boat while holding a Tarpon with a Star Rods Plasma fishing rod next to her on a day with sunny intervals in inshore waters
Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Gatrell

Tarpon are giants in every body of water they show up in, but the inshore playgrounds of Georgia offer some remarkable fishing. Famed for their incredible strength and spectacular jumps, these fish usually weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. However, every now and then, a real monster comes along. And that’s exactly what happened when Christopher Charles Edwards went fishing on July 30, 1995!

A native of Griffin, GA, Edwards reeled in a Tarpon that tipped the scales at an astounding 161 pounds. This behemoth measured 76.5 inches and was caught at Marker R218 with live mullet as bait. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources in Brunswick confirmed the record on certified scales, and this catch still stands as the state record 30 years later.

This catch was so significant that the Georgia DNR set a new rule – you can’t take a Tarpon unless it’s bigger than the current record! This shows just how monumental Edwards’s catch was and emphasizes the efforts to protect these incredible fish. You’ll want to aim big when you come to Georgia. Who knows? You might just make history yourself!


  • Georgia state record: 14 lbs, 2 oz at Lake Rabun in 2016
A man in a blue shirt smiles as he poses with a Walleye aboard a freshwater fishing charter in Georgia on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Fish Slayer Fishing – Lake Blue Ridge

Walleye are a prized catch in Georgia’s freshwater lakes, known for their golden-brown bodies, white bellies, and distinctive marble-like eyes. They live in the cold, deep waters of lakes and rivers near boulders, points, and humps, and make for great winter fishing. While the average catch is usually in the 1-2-pound range, they can grow much larger. But nobody would expect a fish as big as the Georgia fish record…

On February 19, 2016, Wes Carlton from Gainesville set the new Georgia record with a massive 14 lb, 2 oz fish at Lake Rabun. Using live blueback herring on three downlines, along with a flatline and a jig with a crappie minnow, Carlton hooked this impressive Walleye after it bit four times. This catch smashed the previous record of 11 pounds, 6 ounces, marking a significant achievement in Georgia’s fishing history.

The GDNR celebrated this new record, highlighting the successful efforts to promote and preserve Georgia’s rich fishing opportunities. With Carlton’s catch setting a new bar, the challenge is on for anyone looking to beat this record.

Georgia State Record Fish: An Overview

If that was all too overwhelming and you’ve already forgotten the exact record you want to break, fear not! Here’s a quick breakdown of Georgia’s fish records to simplify the details. This table highlights each species, their record weights, and the specific locations where these notable catches were made:

Species Pounds Ounces Location Year
Black Drum 92 0 Cumberland Sound 2010
Black Seabass 5 12 Navy Tower R2 1998
Blue Catfish 110 6 Chattahoochee River 2020
Cobia 88 12 Artificial Reef A 1987
King Mackerel 75 12 Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary 2004
Redfish 47 7 Artificial Reef KC 1986
Red Snapper 37 8 Savannah Snapper Banks 1988
Striped Bass 63 0 Oconee River & Richard B. Russell Lake 1967 & 2009
Tarpon 161 0 Buttermilk Sound 1995
Walleye 14 2 Lake Rabun 2016

Georgia Record Fish: A Neverending Story

Four men pose on a dock in Georgia after a successful fishing trip, as they pose with three Red Snappers and a Redfish
Photo courtesy of Southern Saltwater Adventures

We’ve just scratched the surface of Georgia’s fish records, so this list is far from complete. The excitement of fishing lies in the possibility that each cast might set a new record. Georgia’s waters are rich with opportunities, constantly offering the chance for anglers to make their mark. With new records waiting to be established, it’s over to you to rewrite history!

To find out more about the best records in other states, check out our complete guide to fish records.

What did you think of our guide to Georgia’s state record fish? Which of these catches are the most impressive? Got your own Georgia fishing tales to share? We’d love to hear them! Click the comment button below and share your stories with us.

Please note that all of the images used in the article are used to reflect the species caught and in no way claim to be of the record catch.

The post Georgia Record Fish: The Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Lisa
Title: Georgia Record Fish: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/georgia-record-fish/
Published Date: Wed, 03 Jul 2024 15:01:43 +0000

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