Bass angler in Georgia breaks 45-year-old record

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An Alabama man who landed a giant bass recently while fishing in Georgia has broken a state record that had stood for nearly 45 years.

Joseph Matthew McWhorter, who lives in Lanett, Ala., caught the 8-pound, 5-ounce shoal bass Dec. 23 on the Chattahoochee River near Columbus.

The catch beats the previous Georgia record, set in 1977, by two ounces.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced the news Monday, proclaiming McWhorter to be “the proud holder of the new state record shoal bass.”

Shoal bass are found in the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint River drainages in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. In Georgia, the species also has been introduced to the Ocmulgee and Oconee rivers.

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Shoal bass are designated as the official state riverine sportfish species, according to the Georgia DNR.

“The average adult is between 12–24 inches,” the agency stated on Facebook. “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 the river with large boulders, or on the bank behind a tree in the water.”

For the sake of comparison, the International Game Fish Assn. lists as the world record an 8-pound, 12-ounce shoal bass caught in the Apalachicola River in Florida in 1995.