Georgia Angler Sets State’s First Rock Bass Record

by Vern Evans

On Saturday, Rossville, Georgia angler Jeffrey Forester went kayak fishing on South Chickamauga Creek, a small stream in the northwestern corner of the state. On his second cast of the day, Forester hooked what he thought was a black bass. The fish turned out to be a big rock bass — big enough that he thought it was worthy of attention from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The DNR agreed, and on Thursday the agency certified Forester’s fish as Georgia’s first-ever state-record rock bass.

“I decided to take the kayak out that day and when I got to the creek, I just knew it was going to be a good fishing day,” Forester told the DNR in a press release. “With the second cast of the day, I hung into what felt like a decent black bass, but as I got closer, I could see it was a monster rock bass and thought to myself, do not let this one get off the line, it is definitely record-sized, and lucky enough for me – it sure was!”

Forester brought his catch to the DNR office in Armuchee, where fisheries supervisor Jim Hakala recorded an official weight of exactly 1 pound. That is the minimum size for a new Georgia record, Hakala tells Outdoor Life. But up until this past weekend, nobody had submitted a rock bass of that size for record consideration.

“He was really excited about catching what will be the new state record rock bass,” Hakala says. “He’ll get a state award certificate showing that his record rock bass is an exceptional Georgia catch.”

Hakala says rock bass are rare in Georgia. They only inhabit waters in the Tennessee River basin, which covers a relatively small corner of northwest Georgia. For that reason, Hakala explains, rock bass are generally overlooked by many Peach State anglers.

“They’re pretty, fun to catch, and good to eat, but we just don’t have many anglers who go after them because of their limited range and comparatively small size,” Hakala says. “Forester was targeting them that day for a possible state record – which he got. He was very happy about his catch and he said he may have a replica mount made of the fish as a trophy.”

Forester is an avid angler who told the DNR he’s caught hundreds of rock bass over the years. He even received a pair of “Angler Awards” from the agency for a couple of those catches. (The program recognizes anglers who catch fish of an exceptional size even if they don’t break a record.) But Forester says his new state record tops them all.

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“Until this catch, I think I have literally caught maybe 600-plus rock bass, and only two of those hit the length limit for an angler award, much less a state record!” Forester said.

Read the full article here

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