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Press Release

State Record Spotted Sunfish Gets Tied on Satilla River

WAYCROSS, Ga. (6/10/2014)

Spotted sunfish, also called “stumpknockers,” present a fun fishing challenge for anglers.  Ryan Kersey can attest to that!  Kersey, age 39, of Swainsboro, Ga., also knows that the effort was well worth it as he reeled in a tie to the current state-record spotted sunfish from the Satilla River on June 4, 2014.  

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, this 10 oz, 8-inch catch doesn’t beat, but ties, the existing state record established by Mike Markovcic in 2003.  A new record would have to be at least one ounce greater.    

“The Satilla River is going to be the best place to be during the hot Georgia summer for some fantastic bream fishing, and the catch of this new state record tie is a great example,” says John Biagi, chief of fisheries for the Wildlife Resources Division.  ”Georgia offers such fantastic places for anglers, from big rivers and reservoirs to small neighborhood lakes.  I hope this tying record will inspire others to get out there and go fish Georgia!” 

Spotted sunfish (Lepomis punctatus) are members of the bream family.  They are dark olive or brown above, with light green or olive sides and covered with small black spots and dusky orange fins.  They are typically small, rarely reaching one-half pound, and usually found in heavily vegetated, slow moving lowland streams and warm shallow ponds or small to large creeks and large rivers extending into brackish tidal regions.  Nicknamed “stumpknocker” as they orient to stumps where they find food.  They are frequently caught on natural baits, such as worms and crickets, but small spinners, flies and popping bugs also work well. 

Anglers must possess a current Georgia fishing license to fish in public waters.  Where can you get a license? Buy it online, find a list of retail license vendors at www.georgiawildlife.com/licenses-permits-passes or buy it by phone at 1-800-366-2661. 

By purchasing a license as well as fishing equipment and related items, you and your fellow anglers help fund sport fish restoration programs, thanks to the Sport Fish Restoration Act.  This Act allows funds accumulated from a federal excise tax on fishing equipment and related items to be directed to activities that benefit recreational anglers.  A portion of these funds is provided to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources based on several factors, including the number of paid sporting licenses.  Sport Fish funds make the following activities possible: managing sport fish populations, raising freshwater fish in hatcheries and stocking them in public waters, maintaining and operating public fishing areas and building boat ramps, and much more! 

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


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