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Georgia Record Sunfish Also Ties World-Record Mark

The redbreast sunfish is the fourth reported state fishing record since Christmas.

Georgia Record Sunfish Also Ties World-Record Mark

Lester Roberts’ 1-pound, 12-ounce redbreast sunfish caught in Georgia also is a pending world-record tie for the species. (Photo courtesy of Georgia DNR)

Fishing records in Georgia have been falling at a pretty good clip this year, with the latest catch also challenging a world record.

Lester Roberts of Blackshear, Ga., turned in the most recent state record, a 1-pound, 12-ounce redbreast sunfish caught May 7 on the Satilla River near Folkston, the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division reported.

The record broke the previous state standard (1 pounds, 11 ounces, 1998) by an ounce, and also is a pending world-record tie, the agency said.

The current world record recognized by the International Game Fish Association is also 1-12, caught on the Suwannee River in 1984 by Alvin Buchanan, who also owns the 8-pound-line-class world record for the species.

It was the fourth state record since Christmas in Georgia. "Congratulations to Lester Roberts! Georgia waters are producing some great fish right now and news of these records being broken really should give all anglers an extra sense of excitement to get out there and give it a shot,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division in a news release.

Also called yellowbelly sunfish, sun perch, redbreast bream, as well as other nicknames, redbreast sunfish are native from Canada to central Florida, south along the Atlantic slope and east of the Appalachian Mountains. Redbreasts, typically weighing a pound or less, are common in Georgia. They prefer streams and rivers, though they’re also found in some lakes.

"They prefer sand, gravel or rocky bottoms, and concentrate in the current breaks around submerged trees, boulders, and limestone outcroppings in rivers. They can sometimes be found near aquatic vegetation. Unlike other sunfish, redbreast can be caught at night using a wide variety of lures and baits, such as beetle spins and small spinners," the Georgia WRD said.

Redbreast sunfish are native to the Satilla, where invasive flathead catfish have made them a favored forage fish. That has prompted a Georgia program that since 2006 has worked to reduce the number of flatheads in the river.

"If left unmanaged, flathead catfish will decimate the sunfish population and greatly affect the fishability of the river for anglers," the agency said.

Information about Georgia-record fish, including an application and rules, can be found here.

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