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Joseph McWhorter of Lanett, Ala., is the holder of a new state record shoal bass. His catch, caught on Dec. 23 on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, weighed 8 pounds and 5 ounces.

COLUMBUS — Unlike those anglers who tend to stretch the truth a bit concerning their latest catch, Joseph McWhorter of Lanett, Ala., has no reason to tell a tall fish tale.

His latest catch does the talking for him.

McWhorter is now the proud holder of a new state record shoal bass. His catch, caught on Dec. 23 on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus, weighed 8 pounds and 5 ounces, and replaces the 1977 record of 8 pounds, 3 ounces, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.

“What a way to end 2021, with a new state record shoal bass,” Scott Robinson, the chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division, said in a news release. “Catches like these really showcase the amazing fishing opportunities found in Georgia. Who will catch the next one? It might be you — but you have to get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia.”

Shoal bass (Micropterus cataractae), designated as the official state riverine sportfish species, are native to the Chattahoochee and Flint River basins, and have been introduced in the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers. They have an upper jaw that does not extend beyond the eyes, unlike the largemouth bass, and the dorsal fin is continuous and not deeply notched. They are most like the redeye bass, but do not have any red coloration in the fins or pale margins on the tail.

Unlike smallmouth bass, shoal bass usually have a large dark spot at the base of the tail. The average adult is between 12—24 inches long. Shoal bass are usually found around current breaks near flowing water. This can be in the middle of a big shoal, in a deep-water bend of a river with large boulders, or on the bank behind a tree in the water.

Georgia anglers who purchase state fishing licenses support fisheries conservation, allowing Georgia WRD to continue to conduct important research, maintain and operate public fishing areas and more? Interested persons can purchase a Georgia license at

For fishing tips and information, anglers can check out the Angler Resources page at

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

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