Huge Tiny Panfish Breaks State Record

Huge Tiny Panfish Breaks State Record

Spotted sunfish are found in warm waters throughout the South. (Georgia DNR photo)

Georgia angler knew the 11-ounce fish might be a record, so he had it checked out.

A record is a record is a record.

A recently caught state-record fish caught in Georgia weighed less than a pound but it was still a monster for the species.

Jacob Hornaday of DeSoto, Ga., is now in the state record books for spotted sunfish, a diminutive panfish that seldom grows longer than about 5 inches nor heavier than 4 ounces.

Hornaday’s 11-ounce spotted sunfish beat the previous record of 10 ounces, according to a report by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division. The record was caught April 28 at a Sumter County private pond with a beetle spin.

Recognizing it was huge for the species, Hornaday immediately took the fish to the Cordelle Hatchery nearby to be certified.

Even better, Hornaday took the fish back to the pond and released it.

“Georgia has such great fishing opportunities, and we love to hear about this kind of exciting news,” said Matt Thomas, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. “This is our first state record of 2019, and I hope it encourages all anglers to get outdoors and go fish Georgia.”

Spotted sunfish (Lepomis punctatus) are found in warm waters throughout the South. They have a compressed body with a rounded profile, olive green back and sides, and a yellow to orange belly. The ear flap is short and dark with a pale margin.

They can be distinguished from all other sunfish by the numerous small dark to reddish spots on the sides that follow the scale rows, scattered dark spots on the cheek, and a distinct blue crescent mark on the lower margin of the eye.

Jacob Hornaday of DeSoto, Ga., is now in the state record books for spotted sunfish. (Georgia DNR photo)

Information about state-record fish, including an application and rules, can be found here or in the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook.

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