Days GON By – April 2016

GON Staff | April 12, 2016

By GON Staff

Each month we turn back the clock to see what was being reported in the pages of GON, both 20 and 10 years ago. Here’s a look back at what appeared in GON.

20 Years Ago: April 1996

Mortality Record Set For Right Whales?: Twenty years ago Georgia biologists were trying to discover why northern right whales were showing up dead along the eastern seaboard. Six of these federallly endangered species had been discovered dead. Five of the six were found off the Georgia coast or off the coast of Jacksonville, Fla.

The biggest whale reported dead was a 47-foot-long species that was found 10 miles off Sapelo Island. It was believed to be 20 years old.

When this article was written, only  about 300 of the northern right whales even still existed, and they have been protected from whalers since 1935.

Today numbers are between 300-400, and they are considered the most endangered whales in the world.

Also in April 1996:

• Deer tags, pieces of paper hunters would physically attach to a harvested deer, were being replaced by a “Deer Harvest Information Record.”

• The Sportsman’s License was introduced at a price of $60.

10 Years Ago: April 2006

54-lb. Gar On Crappie Tackle: A Cordele man caught a longnose gar from the Flint River that would have eclipsed the world record had it been weighed on certified scales. The 5-foot, 7 1/4-inch-long fish was caught by Jerry Pheil, of Cordele.

Jerry Pheil, of Cordele, with a 54-lb. longnose gar that would be today’s world record had it been weighed on certified scales.

Jerry said that on the morning of Feb. 25, 2006, he was fishing in the Flint River just below the Blackshear dam. He was trolling for crappie with R.A.G. Fly jigs when all of a sudden he had a very large hit on an all-white jig. At first he thought he had hooked a large flathead catfish because of the way it was fighting. He fought the fish for 42 minutes, and when he finally got to see what he had, he grabbed for his heavy-duty gloves. He saw the gar would not fit into his landing net, so he grabbed the fish by its bill and pulled it into the boat. When Jerry got home, he really didn’t think he had any kind of record, so he just weighed it on his scales, which are accurate but not certified. The gar weighed 54 pounds.

The current (2016) world-record, longnose gar was caught in 1954 in Texas and weighed 50-lbs., 4-ozs.

Also in April 2006:

• DNR leadership continued to be pro-active in pushing for hunts on state parks. It was announced that Fort Yargo would host their first deer hunt in the fall.

• A deer baiting bill died at the state capitol. Efforts were being made to pass a bill that would allow scopes on muzzleloaders during primitive weapons week.

• A new Chevy Silverado Ext Cab 4X4 with a V/8 and all the bells and whistles was just $21,995.

In April 1996, longtime friend of GON Ted Gambrell with the Dugout in Marietta did a story with GON on bass fishing Lake Allatoona.


This is the 20-year old West Point Lake black crappie record. The 3-lb., 6-oz. slab was caught by Edward Cagle, of Tyrone.

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