A day of fishing is good, but you know what makes it even better? A day you catch a new state record! Christian Blake Jones of Swainsboro, GA was out targeting crappie when he reeled in this new state record hickory shad. 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), according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“It is beyond exciting to hear about a new state record, and it emphasizes the fantastic fishing opportunities found in Georgia,” says Scott Robinson, Assistant Chief of Fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division. “Who will catch the next one? It might be you—but you have to get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia!”
Hickory shad (Alosa mediocris) are gray or green above with a silvery side, large prominent scales, a horizontal row of dark spots behind the gill cover, and a deeply forked tail. They are most similar to American shad and blueback herring, which have a lower jaw that is equal or only slightly projecting beyond the upper jaw. Gizzard and threadfin shad both have an elongated ray in the dorsal fin.
Both Hickory and American shad are anadromous species that spend most of their life in the Atlantic Ocean, and then return to their natal rivers to spawn once they reach sexual maturity. In Georgia, the shad spawning run usually begins in January in the southern rivers and fish can be found until May below the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam near Augusta. American and hickory shad are commercially harvested in the Altamaha and Savannah rivers. However, these fish can also be targeted by anglers utilizing recreational fishing gear in any of Georgia’s coastal rivers and are primarily caught on artificial lures, such as curl tail grubs. The Ogeechee River near the US Highway 80 Bridge and near the New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam on the Savannah River are two of the more popular areas to target shad with recreational tackle. Are you a recreational hook and line angler that targets shad? WRD would love to know! Reach out to our office at 912-285-6094 and share your experiences.
Georgia anglers support fisheries conservation! Did you know that your license purchase allows Georgia WRD to continue to do important research, maintain and operate public fishing areas and more? Purchase a Georgia license at www.gooutdoorsgeorgia.com.
For fishing tips, be sure to check out the weekly Fishing Blog post at https://georgiawildlife.blog/category/fishing/.
Information about state-record fish, including an application and rules, can be found at https://georgiawildlife.com/fishing/recordprogram/rules or in the current Sport Fishing Regulations Guidebook.