Georgia Angler Catches Record-Breaking Saltwater Fish, in a River

by Matthew Memrick
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A Georgia man fishing in a freshwater river recently caught a record-breaking fish normally found in the Atlantic Ocean. The hickory shad weighed two pounds, 10 ounces.

Say what? Let me explain. The fish can live in both water sources. Oh, ok.

Kite resident Timmy Woods landed the state’s largest-ever hickory shad on the Ogeechee River on Tuesday. Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the feat, and Newsweek reported on the catch.

The 294-mile long Ogeechee River starts near Crawfordville and flows into the Atlantic Ocean near Savannah

Woods Sets Record By Mere Ounces

It’s always good to keep that fishing record book nearby, right? Or take note of your catch and record it.

Woods posed for a picture in his little boat with his record-breaking fish. Well, the Kite resident caught a two-pound, 10-ounce shad. For the record, Kite is about a 1.5-hour drive south of Augusta.

Anyway, wildlife officials said the past shad record came in at two pounds, eight ounces. Last month, Christian Blake Jones caught the previous record-breaker. Before that record, a man caught a hickory shad weighing one pound, 15 ounces back in 1995. 

How close was Woods to the world record? About four ounces. The formidable International Game Fish Association said that the record belongs to Dave Chermaski. The Florida man caught one weighing two pounds and 14 ounces on the Econlockhatchee River in 2008.

More On The Hickory Shad

While most Hickory shad live in the Atlantic Ocean, they love both water habitats. That means, between January and May, they swim upstream into Georgia’s river system to spawn.

“The Ogeechee River is the place to be if you are targeting record hickory shad,” Scott Robinson, chief of fisheries for the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division, said in a statement. 

Robinson went on to pitch Georgia’s vast fishing opportunities and asked what brave angler would be the next to beat Woods’s record. He implored people to “get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia!”  

Besides, Georgia fishing is pretty cheap. One annual license will set you back at just $15. The money goes toward research and fisheries conservation efforts in the state.

Robinson, Georgia might be the place to be for record-breaking fish. The largemouth bass world record was a 22-pound, four-ounce beauty from 1932. George Perry caught it in Montgomery Lake, a body of water about 2.5 hours west of Savannah. Perry’s a legend, too.

Hickory and American Shad are farmed commercially in Georgia’s Savannah and Altamaha Rivers. But they can be found throughout the state’s coastal river systems. 

Shad are from the herring family. They munch on smaller fish, squid, crabs, and other crustaceans. Despite their small size, the International Game Fish Association describes them as “spirited fighters on light tackle” despite their small size.

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