Georgia Fisherman Breaks 25-Year-Old Hickory Shad Record

by Chris Haney

Recently, a fisherman in Georgia broke the state record for hickory shad, which has stood for more than two decades.

Christian Blake Jones went fishing on the Ogeechee River, but did not mean to catch the record-setting hickory shad. In fact, the angler set out to catch an entirely different species of fish, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR.) Supposedly, Jones cast his line for crappies that day. However, he instead reeled in the largest hickory shad caught in Georgia in the last 25 years.

The record-breaking fish weighs 2-pounds, 3-ounces, which broke the previous 1995 record of 1-pound, 15-ounces. Scott Robinson, Assistant Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, shared his excitement over the new state record.

“It is beyond exciting to hear about a new state record. It emphasizes the fantastic fishing opportunities found in Georgia,” Robinson shared in a statement. “Who will catch the next one? It might be you — but you have to get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia!”

The DNR posted about Jones’ achievement on their official Facebook account. Additionally, the agency congratulated the fisherman and verified his new record.

“Congratulations to Christian Blake Jones of Swainsboro, GA for reeling in a new state record hickory shad,” the DNR wrote. “His catch, caught on the Ogeechee River (Emanuel County), weighed 2 lb, 3 oz, and broke a 25 year old record (1 lb, 15 oz caught in 1995).”

North Carolina Fisherman Controversially Breaks Catfish Record

Last month, North Carolina officials announced that a local fisherman had broken a 50-year-old state catfish record, but his catch has come under scrutiny ever since.

An angler named John Stone caught a 23-pound, 5-ounce channel catfish back in September. His catch broke the state channel catfish record by only one ounce. The at-large state Wildlife Commissioner reeled in the catfish from a private pond in Moore County. Recently, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission approved Stone’s application.

On Jan. 23, the NCWRC announced on Facebook that Stone’s catch had broken the previous record. However, many complained that the NCWRC shouldn’t have approved his application.

Multiple comments under the NCWRC’s Facebook post disagreed with Stone’s catch breaking the 50-year record. People complained that Stone caught the catfish in a private pond, not a public one. The resounding criticisms seemed to share the same opinion that all record fish should be caught in public locations. Some even called Stone a cheater. North Carolina acknowledges record catches from private waters as well. As long as no other rules or laws are broken, a private pond catch still stands.

In addition, the WRC also said that Stone was the third fisherman to set a state catfish record last year.

Joey Baird caught a record 121-pound, 9-ounce blue catfish on July 5, 2020 at Lake Gaston. Only two weeks later on July 20, Tyler Barnes reeled in a record 78-pound, 14-ounce flathead catfish on the Neuse River. Stone’s September catch while using cut bait earned him the record for big channel catfish, which broke E.J. Bowen’s record held since 1970. Bowen set the record while fishing with his 5-year-old son at City Lake.