July 23, 2022
A state bass record in Georgia was tied recently, further strengthening the fishing reputation in the birthplace of the world-record largemouth bass. Even for world-class shoal bass.
Clark Wheeler of Arabi, Ga., tied a state record with an 8-pound, 5-ounce shoal he caught on the Flint River near Warwick, Ga., in South Georgia, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) reported. The fish, which measured 24 1/2 inches, was caught April 16, and tied a record caught in December 2021 that had bested a 44-year-old record.
The record is shared with Joseph Matthew McWhorter of Lanett, Ala., who caught the first 8-5 shoal bass on Dec. 23 in the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, Ga. The previous record of 8-3 was caught in 1977.
"We were thrilled to hear that another shoal bass of this size was caught and proud to recognize Mr. Wheeler's catch as a state record tie. Five new state records in the past year proves just how amazing Georgia's fishing opportunities really are," WRD Chief Scott Robinson said in a news release.
While Georgia bass fishing may be best known for George Perry's world-record largemouth bass (22 pounds, 4 ounces) caught in 1932 in an oxbow lake off the Ocmulgee River, shoal bass (Micropterus cataractae) offer their own brand of big bassin’. Most notably, Wheeler’s and McWhorter's catches were world-class size, without question. The International Game Fish Association world record, caught in the Apalachicola River in Florida in 1995, weighed 8-12.
Additionally, Georgia shoal bass fishing is quite productive, in size and numbers, in the Chattahoochee and Flint, as well as the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers, where the fish has been introduced. Similar to redeye basses, shoal bass will reach lengths of 12 to 24 inches.
Quick tip: 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 WRD.
For more info on Georgia state fishing records, click here.