January 11, 2022
Georgia has a new state bass fishing record. Shoal bass, that is.
The home of the world-record largemouth bass turned in a record shoalie just before Christmas with an eight-pounder that beat a 44-year-old record.
Joseph Matthew McWhorter of Lanett, Ala., caught the 8-pound, 5-ounce record Dec. 23 on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, Ga., the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division said. The Chattahoochee, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico, borders Alabama and Georgia.
McWhorter's record beat the previous record of 8-3, caught in 1977.
Shoal bass is a riverine bass species that is native to the Chattahoochee and Flint river basin (also stocked in the Ocmulgee and Oconee). "Shoal bass are usually found around current breaks near flowing water," the WRD said. "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."
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Shoal bass (Micropterus cataractae) are most like redeye basses, but don’t have red coloration in fins or pale margins on the tail. Unlike a largemouth, a shoalie’s upper jaw does not extend beyond the eyes. The dorsal fin is continuous and not deeply notched. They typically have a large dark spot at the base of the tail, unlike a smallmouth.
The world-record shoal bass, as recognized by the International Game Fish Association, is 8 pounds, 12 ounces, caught in the Apalachicola River, Fla., in 1995.
"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,” said Scott Robinson, Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division.
For more info on Georgia state fishing records, click here.