Record-Breaking Fish Normally Found in Atlantic Ocean Caught in Georgia River

A record-breaking fish normally found in the Atlantic Ocean has been caught in a river in Georgia.

Georgia's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced on Tuesday that the Ogeechee River was again the source of the largest ever hickory shad caught in the state's history.

Timmy Woods, from Kite, was the angler that caught the record-breaking fish. A picture of Woods grinning as he held his catch was posted by the Wildlife Resources Division - Georgia DNR to Facebook, which said the fish weighed two pounds and 10 ounces. The previous record stood at two pounds three ounces.

Hickory shad are anadromous fish that can live in the oceans and freshwater. The fish spend most of their time in the Atlantic Ocean. However they swim into Georgia's river system between January and May to reach the rivers they were born into 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. "The great news is that there are amazing angling opportunities all over the state and plenty of fish to catch, but who will hold the next record? Don't let someone else do it—it is time to get outdoors and Go Fish Georgia!"

Annual fishing licenses in Georgia are sold by the state government and cost $15 each. The Georgia DNR said money from anglers goes towards research and fisheries conservation efforts in the state.

Hickory and American Shad are farmed commercially in Georgia's Savannah and Altamaha Rivers, but can also be caught in the wild by anglers across the state's coastal river systems. Shads belong to the herring family and feed on smaller fish, squid, crabs and other crustaceans and are described as "spirited fighters on light tackle" by the International Game Fish Association, despite their small size.

The previous record-breaking hickory shad in Georgia was caught by angler Christian Blake Jones in February 2021. His catch shattered a record that had stood since 1995—a hickory shad weighing one pound, 15 ounces.

Woods's catch was four ounces under the world record for the largest hickory shad ever caught. The IGFA said that record belongs to Dave Chermaski, who caught one weighing two pounds and 14 ounces on the Econlockhatchee River in Florida in 2008.

A number of world-record-beating fish have been caught in Georgia. The largest largemouth bass ever recorded was caught in Montgomery Lake in the state by George Perry in 1932. It weighed 22 pounds, four ounces.

Timmy Woods with record-breaking fish
Timmy Woods with record-breaking hickory shad caught in Georgia. The catch was the second record-breaking fish of the species caught in the Ogeechee River in just over a year. Georgia DNR