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 Bass12-lbs., 6.5-ozs.Jack Breshears03/08/76
Spotted Bass5-lbs., 6.08-ozs.Raulie Bleech03/18/07
Redeye Bass3-lbs., 7-ozs.Steve Williams04/17/04
Striped Bass59-lbs., 8-ozs.Terry McConnell02/03/02
Hybrid Bass20-lbs., 1-oz.Buster Green-----
White Bass4-lbs., 5-ozs.H.T. Davis02/06/67
White Crappie4-lb., 4-ozs.Charles McCullough04/27/68
Black Crappie3-lbs., 1.76-ozs.Jimmy Burns03/02/22
Walleye9-lbs.T.O. Sherriff1974
Blue Catfish30-lbs., 8-ozs.Melvin Wall06/26/03
Flathead Catfish66-lbs.Darrin Sealey04/04/10
Shellcracker1-lb., 4.16-ozs.DJ Hill05/13/23
Chain Pickerel2-lbs., 5-ozs.Jay Franklin03/16/23

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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