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Benchmark Record Established For Hartwell Shellcracker

GON Staff | May 9, 2022

The Savannah River chain of reservoirs have long been known for producing good fishing for redear sunfish, commonly known as shellcrackers. So it is fitting that a lake record has finally been established on Lake Hartwell.

Meka Ashe, of Franklin, N.C., was fishing on Lake Hartwell May 2 when she caught a big redear. She contacted a game warden, who recommended she call GON, and that got the ball rolling for Meka to get the fish weighed on a certified scale. The fish was kept on ice until the following day, when Meka took it to an Ingles grocery store and got a certified weight of 1.22 pounds (1-lb., 3.52-ozs.)

Meka Ashe with her 1-lb., 3.52-oz. shellcracker that established a new Lake Hartwell record.

Meka was fishing with her fiancé when she caught the new record on a live worm.

“We were on a camping trip for a few days and were just out on the boat fishing. My fiancé caught a little one, and he said, ‘This is what they are normally like.'”

Seeing the average-sized shellcracker compared to her big fish, Meka realized she had caught something special.

Benchmarks were begun in 2020 to set minimum weights for a record fish. Once records are established, it doesn’t take long for exceptional fish to overtake those records, and over time the records become credible. The benchmark system used for Georgia lake and river records are the minimum weights established in WRD’s Georgia Angler Award Youth Program.

Lake Hartwell Record Fish

Largemouth Bass 12-lbs., 6.5-ozs. Jack Breshears 03/08/76
Spotted Bass 5-lbs., 6.08-ozs. Raulie Bleech 03/18/07
Redeye Bass 3-lbs., 7-ozs. Steve Williams 04/17/04
Striped Bass 59-lbs., 8-ozs. Terry McConnell 02/03/02
Hybrid Bass 20-lbs., 1-oz. Buster Green -----
White Bass 4-lbs., 5-ozs. H.T. Davis 02/06/67
White Crappie 4-lb., 4-ozs. Charles McCullough 04/27/68
Black Crappie 3-lbs., 1.76-ozs. Jimmy Burns 03/02/22
Walleye 9-lbs. T.O. Sherriff 1974
Blue Catfish 30-lbs., 8-ozs. Melvin Wall 06/26/03
Flathead Catfish 66-lbs. Darrin Sealey 04/04/10
Shellcracker 1-lb., 3.52-ozs. Meka Ashe 05/02/22

See all of GON’s official Georgia Lake & River Records here.

Requirements For Record Fish

• Fish must be caught legally by rod and reel in a manner consistent with state game and fish regulations.

• Catch must be weighed on accurate Georgia DOA certified scales with at least two witnesses present, who must be willing to provide their names and phone numbers so they can be contacted to verify the weighing of the fish.

• Witnesses to the weighing must be at least 18 years old, and they must not be members of the angler’s immediate family nor have a close personal relationship with the angler.

• Catch must be positively identified by qualified DNR personnel.

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